The Key to Disinfecting: Contact Time

As global concern over the novel SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) continues to grow, one way to help stop the spread of this virus is to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces and high-touch/high-traffic areas such as countertops, floors, doors, handles, handrails, and more.

However, just using a disinfectant doesn’t automatically kill all pathogens. Have you ever stopped and read the label of your disinfectant? Many (most) of us are guilty of skipping right over labels completely or quickly skimming it.

The “Directions for Use” section not only tells us what the product controls but also, where, how and when to use it. To ensure that a disinfectant kills all listed microorganisms or inactivates the viruses it claims to, the product must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Additionally, it is essential to thoroughly clean and wash surfaces prior to application.

Contact time

Appropriate contact times are essential to achieving total disinfection. Contact time is the amount of time it takes for the disinfectant to sit on a surface before a certain pathogen is killed or inactivated. Disinfectants may vary in the contact time needed to kill microorganisms or inactivate viruses. Contact times for disinfectants can range from 15 seconds to 10 minutes, making it imperative you read and understand your product’s directions for use.

What determines contact time

Disinfectants and sanitizers are both terms and products regulated by the EPA with specific definitions. Manufacturers rigorously test each disinfectant against a variety of microorganisms and viruses. This testing ensures that the products destroy or irreversibly inactivate bacteria, fungi, and viruses within a stated time frame. Contact time is determined by the manufacturer and based on results of these EPA-approved testing methods.

How to ensure effective disinfection

Surfaces being disinfected should be visibly wet and well soaked to ensure the disinfectant does not dry before the end of the optimum contact time (as indicated on the label). A visibly wet surface also allows you to make sure proper coverage is achieved. Many disinfectants add a surfactant that makes the product foam. Foam not only allows you to ensure proper coverage but also helps the product “stick” to a surface for the full contact time needed.

Combating COVID-19 with Sterilex

Sterilex Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner Solution 1, when mixed with Sterilex Ultra Activator Solution, and Sterilex Ultra Step have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) on hard, non-porous surfaces. Therefore per the Emerging Viral Pathogen policy, Sterilex Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner Solution 1, when mixed with Sterilex Ultra Activator Solution, can be used against Coronavirus (COVID-19) when used in accordance with these directions for use.

Please refer to the CDC website for additional information.

About Megan Macy

*Biofilm label claims approved for specific applications only. See product label for full label claims and usage instructions.
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