2020 has certainly been a challenging one! We have discovered there were many shortfalls in our cleaning and infection control programs. Cleaning and disinfecting has become more of a necessity, and I thought it would be a good idea to start off by helping educate on the differences between the 2.
Previously, a clean environment meant an aesthetically appealing area, straightened and organized, and free of debris. Nowadays, clean has a much more intense meaning. It means an area that is not only free of debris and contaminants, but also free of potentially harmful germs and viruses. But how can we be sure the new "clean" is truly clean?
Cleaning: Refers the physical removal of dirt, debris and impurities from surfaces using detergent and water. This is the fist step, however, it does not kills viruses.
Disinfecting: This process refers to using approved chemicals to kill germs or rending them incapable of reproducing, preventing them from spreading infection to another location. This process does not necessarily clean the surface.
No matter the area that is being maintained (home, office, school, medical facility, etc.), cleaning and disinfecting are an important part of any routine. It is the best way to reduce the spread of germs and viruses on surfaces. Keep in mind - You can always clean without disinfecting, however, you can not disinfect without cleaning! If a surface is not cleaned first and soils are not removed, germs can hide under the soils and reduce efficiency of the disinfectant.
Determine the areas that require disinfecting, such as high touch point areas (door handles, light switches, hand rails, phones, etc.)
Using a detergent clean all surfaces to remove soil and debris
Using an approved disinfectant, apply the product using a microfiber cloth to the surface needing to be disinfected.
Always keep in mind the dwell time of the disinfectant. Depending on the product you are using, the dwell times can range from 3 minutes to 10 minutes. Dwell time refers to the amount of time the product needs to remain on the surface in order to kill the organisms listed on the manufactures label
How do I know if the disinfectant I am using will kill the viruses I want? Good question! The best way to know is to first look at the manufactures label. It will list the viruses and germs that the product was made to kill. Secondly, you may want to check with Health Canada to determine if the product has been listed safe to use. Each product has a DIN number that can be searched on their website.
It is extremely important to store all cleaning and disinfecting products in a safe location away from children and vulnerable individuals.
Always follow the manufactures listed instruction on proper dilution and use