Thought Leaders: Debunking Disinfectant Myths

By Pete Gazlay - Total Facility Care — 

Many people have paid much more attention to the disinfectants used in their facility since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Here are four common myths we’ve seen.

Myth #1 Use the strongest disinfectant for the best results

Stronger is not necessarily better. Stronger can result in creating “super bugs” that are very difficult to treat and eradicate. The right tool for the job is best. With COVID-19 this is a very fragile envelope virus that doesn’t survive long on surfaces and is easy to disinfect. For emergency use nearly every available disinfectant was authorized. Clients commonly asked for “medical grade” disinfectants that competitors were touting as better. We walked our clients through the science and got the right disinfectant for their building.

Related to this myth is “more is better”. Disinfectants need to be diluted to the proper ratio. Most that you buy are ready to use, but commercial disinfectants are highly concentrated and must be diluted properly to work effectively. More can leave unsightly films and residues on the surface.

Myth #2 The CDC is the ultimate authority on disinfectants

Disinfectants are regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) who conducts rigorous testing before approving any disinfectant. The CDC is a recommending agency and works in conjunction with the research and findings from the FDA. You can look up your favorite disinfectant for work or home on the FDA website to see what it is approved for.

Myth #3 The Biggest Challenge is finding a disinfectant that kills the virus of concern

The label is the law, meaning every disinfectant will list on it’s label what it kills. For most applications a general disinfectant will work to broadly kill the common cold, flu and covid viruses. Tougher to kill are cDiff and MRSA that require special disinfectants and sometimes processes to eradicate. If in question look at the label or the FDA’s website.

Myth #4 Electrostatic spraying and UV devices eliminate the extra step of cleaning

Visible dirt has to be removed first for any disinfecting process to work – chemical, spray or light. Once the surface is cleaned it can then be disinfected by electrostatic spraying, UV Light or traditional disinfectants. Anyone selling you something that skips this step is selling snake oil and not the latest innovation.

It’s not a myth, but it is good to remember that even the best disinfectant works until the surface is touched or someone sneezes or coughs on it. Then it is no longer disinfected. This is why hand washing has been recommended as the top way to prevent the spread of various diseases. It’s been the recommendation long before this pandemic.

Call us today and we’ll help you sort through these and any other concerns, so you have total confidence in the cleaning and care of your facility.