Surface Disinfection: Alcohol-Based or Water-Based?

BIOSPRAY Surface Disinfectant

If there was one thing everyone was talking about in 2020, it was surface disinfection. From the moment the novel coronavirus made its first appearance, surface sanitizing was a top of mind for almost every industry. You may be shocked to hear that more than 600,000 bacteria live on one square inch of human skin[i]. For humans, most bacteria are harmless. But species that cause diseases, called pathogens, may be harmful or even fatal.

For the average consumer, any sanitizer they could get their hands on seemed sufficient to clean and disinfect. For others with specific applications, the need for an efficient, safe, and cost-effective way to keep employees and visitors safe requires specialized solutions. This may include being safe for food contact-surfaces, quick-drying due to sensitive electronics areas, or many other reasons.

While many conversations have shifted from surface sanitation and disinfection to air purification, the reality is that surface cleaning and disinfection is still crucial. Ongoing maintenance of healthy workplaces and production environments requires surface sanitation and disinfection solutions.

Most sanitizers fall into one of two categories: water-based or alcohol-based. Alcohol-based sanitizers and disinfectants work best in specific environments. High traffic locations, sensitive electronics, healthcare or critical care environments, and anywhere quick-drying action is required. Water-based sanitizers and disinfectants work best for general

disinfection needs when surfaces can remain wet for up to 10 minutes.

Water-Based Sanitizers

If your applications are less time-sensitive, then a more affordable water-based solution might be better suited. More often than not, water-based sanitizers have longer “kill” claim times and require surfaces to remain wet for extended periods.

In addition to the protection against disease, water-based sanitizers can offer many benefits to users, including safe for use on food contact surfaces, HVAC system components, etc. These disinfectants can also be applied using portable disinfectant sprayers or chemical fogging systems. Water-based sanitizers are perfect for location when dwell times can be longer.

When to Use Water-Base Sanitizers

Water-Based sanitizers are best for general surfaces and those environments where surfaces can remain wet. Refer to the product label for specific information on application rates and approved applications.

Alcohol-Based Sanitizers

There are a variety of alcohol-based sanitizers on the market today – and thanks to COVID-19, the number of products to choose from can be overwhelming.

Alcohol-based sanitizers and disinfectants are very potent and can quickly reduce the number of active microbes or viruses on a surface. They dry quickly, offer excellent sanitation and disinfection properties, and are generally safe on sensitive electronic surfaces like scales, machinery, computers, kiosks, and more. Also, high traffic areas that may require quick drying disinfectants like door handles, security panels, and more.

They have been used to clean and disinfect surfaces everywhere, from large, public office buildings to hospitals to restaurants. Alcohol-based disinfectants are also the product of choice within the healthcare, dental, veterinary, and ambulatory environments due to their high efficacy and quick-drying characteristics.

When to Use Alcohol-Base Sanitizers

Simply put, you can use alcohol-based sanitizers in virtually every setting. Organizations like the CDC, FDA, and WHO all encourage using alcohol-based sanitizers to clean all manner of surfaces. In fact, alcohol is still the most-used type of disinfectant in today’s hospitals.

If you’re going to use alcohol to clean your office or other space, it is essential to make sure you’re using a solution appropriate for the application. Refer to the product labels for specific application environments and rates. Food production environments should be careful to use products approved for use in food-contact environments. In contrast, healthcare environments should focus on disinfection efficacy. Office, educational, and other general settings can utilize a variety of choices in alcohol-based disinfectants.

This could all feel very intimidating, but luckily we have just the solution. Check out our Sanitation & Disinfection Buying Guide to find which one will be your perfect solution.

 

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[i] Science Clarified. “We Are Surrounded.” Scienceclarified.com. http://www.scienceclarified.com/scitech/Bacteria-and-Viruses/We-Are-Surrounded.html

The Final Step: Sanitizing In Food Manufacturing

In the food manufacturing industry, food safety and quality is everything. Not only is it part of good manufacturing practices (GMP), but it’s the law. Food and beverage plants work with countless ingredients that can cause public health hazards, from microorganisms hiding in ingredient materials to allergens that cross-contaminate products during packaging processes. Microorganisms and other bacteria can even degrade the shelf life of some foods, creating an inferior product that can hurt your company as a whole.

So how do you prevent cross-contamination and unsafe pathogens or undeclared allergens from entering your food? The final step – sanitation. Food must be produced under sanitary conditions in order to be safe, and manufacturers must ensure sanitation is carried out consistently & effectively.

Risks in Food Manufacturing

The USDA requires all food manufacturing plants to meet a certain standard of cleanliness, which includes proper hygiene and regular sanitizing. Of course, there is a good reason for these regulations: these plants are preparing food for millions of Americans, and one mistake can make many people sick.

Some of the most common risks in the food manufacturing industry (many of which can be prevented with proper sanitation) include the following

Foodborne Illness

Earlier in 2020, the CDC reported 101 cases of salmonella across 17 states. They determined that the cause was contaminated peaches, which had been sold to grocers across the nation.

Regrettably, this story is rather common across the industry and it demonstrates the far reach that a single plant’s sanitation habits can have. Because one packing plant in California failed to properly sanitize their facility, their product became contaminated, and people got sick.

Cross-Contamination

According to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE), an estimated 32 million Americans have some sort of food allergy. These allergies range in type and severity, from a mild rash or itchiness to life-threatening anaphylaxis. Because of this, individuals with allergies must be very careful when choosing foods to buy from the local grocery store — and they need to know with certainty that the things they’re eating don’t contain the ingredient they’re allergic to.

Today’s food manufacturing facilities process thousands of products every day. Some plants process a variety of different foods, which means that it’s always possible for some cross-contamination between ingredients. However, it’s easy to avoid this risk with thorough and diligent sanitization practices and GMP’s.

Shelf Instability

Perishable foods like meats, produce, and dairy products already have a limited shelf life — but if they are contaminated by hidden microorganisms or other bacteria, they can become inedible even faster. This is a big problem for food manufacturers, as it can impact product quality and eventually degrade your brand value.

Food that goes bad on the shelf is more likely to contribute to foodborne illness — bringing us right back to our first and most common risk. Clearly, it is essential to maintain high cleaning and sanitation standards throughout any food manufacturing plant, and companies must hold sanitization as a top priority.

Cleaning vs. Sanitizing

The USDA considers proper cleaning and sanitization a prerequisite to the industry’s hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP). Without thorough and consistent cleaning and sanitation, a facility cannot provide safe products to the consumer. Both of these practices are essential — and contrary to what some believe, they are not interchangeable.

What is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? “Cleaning” refers to the process of removing soil from a surface. This is necessary to have a clean work environment, which can help slow the spread of bacteria or even viruses (which is even more important in the post-COVID work environment.

However, while cleaning removes soils, it doesn’t remove what cannot be seen with the human eye — microorganisms – nor does it kill them. This is why facilities must also practice proper sanitizing. “Sanitizing” is the final step of any cleaning process, and it helps kill off any microorganisms that are still lingering on any surface.

If a food manufacturing plant wants to prevent contamination (and they all do), it is absolutely essential to practice effective sanitizing. This means sanitizing surfaces more often and having the right tools at your disposal for an efficient and complete sanitation process.

The Solution

Sanitation should always be the final step in your plant sanitizing procedure, but that doesn’t mean you can do it halfway. In fact, food manufacturing companies need to be more fastidious about sanitizing than ever before! They need to have the right tools to eliminate microorganisms — and that means embracing alcohol-based sanitizers.

Alcohol-based sanitizing solutions have antiseptic properties that kill germs quickly and more effectively than plain water or alcohol-free solutions. Using an alcohol sanitizer in your cleaning protocol is one of the best ways to ensure a bacteria-free surface.

Find Your Perfect Solution:

But, of course, you can’t simply pick up a bottle of alcohol sanitizer from the drug store. Cleaning Food and Beverage plants requires a more careful approach and specific products. Look for products that are EPA registered food contact sanitations sprays; these require no wiping to effectively sanitize surfaces. Not only will this guarantee that your sanitation is food safe, but it also will cut down your cleaning time, giving you a safe, dry, and sanitary surface faster than other brands. If you use a sanitization system that utilizes a food-safe, quick-drying solution, your sanitation routine can become a quick and painless process that you can easily do each day.

The food manufacturing industry has a great responsibility to provide safe food products to people all over this country. And if you work in one of these facilities, it is up to you to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and sanitation. Not only is the reputation of your brand at risk, but the health and safety of the people who eat your food — sometimes, their very lives — are in your hands.

But if you have the right tools and the right sanitizing solutions, you can ensure clean work stations and safe products every time.

 

 

Disinfection in the Classroom

Space4Learning 2020 Product Award

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the school year comes into the winter months the topic on the top of many minds is how to keep students, employees, and staff safe during the colder months.

Some kids are learning from their dining room tables, side by side with their siblings with a laptop in front of each face. 

Some kids are spending only a few days in the classroom each week, with only half the desks filled by their peers.

Even kids who are heading back to school full-time have a new, unique experience; mandatory masks, temperature checks, and social distancing are becoming part of the new normal for education. 

But even with all these new precautions, teachers, parents, and students have to wonder: is the school safe? The answer is based on a variety of factors – and school disinfection ranks awfully high on the list. Before any school can deem itself self safe, it must take time to fully clean the facility from the baseboard to the HVAC vents.

HVAC Systems and School Safety

Air quality has always been an important part of the educational experience. If the air quality in your schools it can trigger a myriad of health problems like asthma, headaches, eye irritation, and everything in between. Furthermore, studies have shown that poor indoor air can actually interfere with cognitive function – literally making it harder for students to learn during the school day! 

Of course, COVID-19 has only brought more attention to the importance of air quality – particularly when it comes to HVAC systems. Because we know the coronavirus can spread through droplets in the air, it is important to have clean, maintained filters for your indoor spaces. These filters can help trap virus-containing droplets and prevent them from spreading sickness throughout a building. This is extremely important for places like schools, which see high traffic throughout each day.

The EPA already has high standards for air quality tools in school buildings. However, schools that are reopening after months of lockdown may need to do some additional cleaning before their HVAC systems are ready for students. These systems have been sitting unused for months; as a result, they’re likely filled with dust, debris, and possibly even mold or mildew. A thorough HVAC disinfection is the best way to ensure clean air in every classroom once the students return.

Alcohol-Based Disinfectants: The Perfect Tool for School Disinfection

If you are preparing to keep your school throughout the winter months, you’ll need to make sure every surface (desks, floors, lockers, etc.) is clean as can be. And we DO mean every surface – even your HVAC vents need to be sparkling clean! How can you disinfect such a massive facility in order to keep everyone safe throughout the year?

Quick-drying alcohol-based sanitizers are the perfect solution for disinfecting your school, office, or other large space. A quick-drying, EPA-registered, alcohol-based disinfectant, like our BIOSPRAY-D2, covers over surfaces quickly, easily, and safely. These types of 1-step disinfectants containing ethanol have been proven to rapidly reduced vegetative bacterial pathogens on carriers and on hard and soft surfaces. 

The importance of using strong disinfectant sprays that are strong enough to eliminate germs on surfaces, but gentle enough to use on surfaces around children is an important part of keeping schools open and the children and staff in the classroom safe and healthy. 

The way in which disinfectant products are applied is also crucial. Traditional methods of cleaning and disinfecting, like pump spraying or manually wiping can be ineffective, leaving gaps in coverage. Manual wiping can lead to cross-contamination due to using soiled rags/towels to apply the cleaner. Manual wiping can also lead to injury due to the repetitive nature of the maintenance worker.

An Award-Winning Product

There’s no doubt that Portable BioSpray-5 is one of the best tools available for school disinfection today. In fact, this sanitation system was just awarded the Spaces4Learning New Product Award! This award “honors the outstanding product development achievements of manufacturers and suppliers whose products or services are considered to be particularly noteworthy in their ability to enhance the learning environment,” and we are simply thrilled to have received this incredible honor. 

Visit our website to learn more about BioSpray-5. You can also contact us here with any questions you have about this sanitation system, our disinfecting spray, or any of our other sanitizing products. 

Proper school disinfection is the key to a safe, healthy, and successful year, so make sure your staff and students have the very best!

Ambulance Safety: 4 Tips for Vehicle Fleet Disinfection

EMS Fleet Disinfection

One of the essential jobs in any community is first responders. In particular, medical first responders deliver life-saving treatment to victims of fires, car accidents, or severe health problems – all while putting their own lives at risk to help their community. This is particularly true in 2020, as the COVID-19 crisis has put first responders and EMS workers at greater risk of infection than many have ever experienced before.

When ambulances transport patients with the new coronavirus, they risk spreading the virus to their next patient – or contracting the virus themselves. The highly contagious nature of this virus has taken a severe toll on EMS workers. For example, some 20% of ambulance workers in New York City have been out sick due to the virus this year.

In light of these recent dangers, the CDC has changed their First Responder Guidance, making it stricter and more focused on containing the infection. Implementing these guidelines is vital to keeping first responder medical personnel – and follow-on hospital personnel safe.

Here are a few critical tips for properly disinfecting your ambulance.

Create and Implement a Cleaning Routine

In May 2020, the scientific journal Heliyon published the results of a survey of EMS workers across the United States. The researchers had asked these individuals about their agency’s COVID-19 response, focusing on PPE use and adherence to social distancing.

Their results were troubling: 36% of respondents said they had received no training about COVID-19 at all! The survey authors suggested that this lack of training lead to a lack of cleaning protocol – in turn, contributing to the spread of the virus.

If you want to contain the spread of COVID-19 within your EMS team, creating easy-to-follow cleaning and disinfection protocols is essential. Then, make sure to implement that protocol (and make sure EVERYONE follows it). Design a routine that is easy to remember and include in your daily tasks and set up a system that holds your providers accountable for cleaning during their shift.

Thorough, routine cleanings (of both the patient compartment and the front cabin) after every call is the best way to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to both patients and EMS providers.

Wear PPE Properly

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is an essential tool in the fight against COVID-19. EMS providers must have access to N95 masks, gloves, disposable gowns, and other critical PPE to protect them should they encounter an infected patient. However, proper PPE isn’t just about having access to these tools – it is also essential to learn how to use them.

While PPE is an important part of training for emergency personnel, making sure that it is worn correctly, and disposed of is a team effort. Ensure your team members wear their PPE on all calls where a patient is infected (or suspected to be infected) with COVID-19. In fact, providers should wear their PPE ensemble during the disinfection process as well. Only after the ambulance is clean and disinfected should your providers remove and dispose of their PPE.

Clean and Disinfect Your Vehicle and Equipment

An EMS provider needs to be ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice. This means that they need to be alert, prepared to work, and have clean, disinfected tools as often as possible – including the ambulance itself. This is especially important during the pandemic, as an unclean or improperly cleaned vehicle could contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

Vehicle cleaning must be done quickly between calls. Ensure your providers know the fastest ways to clean their patient compartment, cabin, and equipment thoroughly. If possible, work with your county to set up a cleaning team (like these counties in Maryland did to speed up their cleaning process). These steps will ensure that your vehicles are ready for the next call as soon as possible.

However, thorough cleaning isn’t the only thing you need to be ready for patients. It’s also essential to use disinfectants across all exposed surfaces and choose options – such as alcohol-based disinfectants and systems – that can be used on sensitive electronic surfaces. Using water-based or non-alcohol based solutions can seep into electronics causing damage, or miscalculation. That’s when portable alcohol-based sanitation system solutions are most effective for ambulance contamination – particularly ones that neutralize viral contaminants like COVID-19.

Clean and Disinfect the Vehicle’s HVAC System

Finally, we come to the most important thing you can do to protect both patients and ambulance staff: clean your ambulance’s HVAC system. There is a wealth of evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can spread through the air, and poorly ventilated closed spaces can exacerbate the spread. This includes office buildings, stores, restaurants, and even vehicles.

When you clean and disinfect your ambulance, it is crucial to open the vehicle doors and allow for airflow exchange. It’s also critical to disinfect your HVAC system with a solution that will eliminate viral contaminants and is EPA registered for use in HVAC systems. This will prevent COVID-19 from hiding in your HVAC system, only to infect patients when the car starts running again.

Health experts believe that COVID-19 will be with us for quite some time. Businesses and individuals will need to be vigilant to protect themselves and others – and individuals working in healthcare and the first response will need to be even more so. Therefore, disinfecting protocols, PPE use, and portable surface sanitation systems are essential to providing emergency medical services safely and effectively.

Next Steps:

Learn more about alcohol-based disinfection systems.

 

5 Tips To Keeping Manufacturing Employees Safe From COVID-19

production floor

In March 2020, the United States began a series of state shutdowns to help curb the spread of COVID-19. Now, in this state of uncertainty, we may not know what the future will hold but we do know that things in the manufacturing workplace will demand change now.

Masks in public have become more commonplace – and in some establishments, even required. Social groups have gotten smaller as social distancing has also become more normalized. Many companies have embraced working from home to protect employees.

For those who can’t work from home – like manufacturing employees and other essential workers – there are countless new safety precautions.

As this global health crisis continues, safety on the manufacturing floor has changed from more than the usual safety glasses and glove PPE to more advanced training and protection. So, how can manufacturers keep their employees safe on the floor? Here are a few essential tips and tools to help you.

Mask Wearing

While epidemiologists and health experts are still learning new things about COVID-19, there is one thing they know for sure: it is highly contagious and spreads via airborne droplets.

When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even speaks, virus-containing droplets travel into the air where it can infect others. This is why the CDC recommends that all individuals wear masks when near one another.

Masks work by preventing infected people from infecting others as they go about their daily work activities. It is estimated that 20% of infected individuals are asymptomatic (show no symptoms), and this is a straightforward precaution you and your employees can’t afford to skip.

Space Employees Six Feet Apart

In addition to mask-wearing, creating separation between people is an essential part of reducing viral transfer risk. Standing six feet apart has been the direction of health experts since the COVID-19 first entered the country.

This is one precaution that’s free, easy to do, and critical if you want to keep employees safe. However, it is important to understand this can have impacts on your production floor layout or flow and so some planning and training will be required.

Keeping employees safe on the manufacturing floor will require various safety solutions, often used in tandem. This will require ongoing training and observation to ensure “old” habits don’t creep back into workplaces.

Limit Social Exposure with Staggered Shifts

As mentioned, creating additional space in your production areas may sauce unique space challenges.  After all, you only have so much space in your facility, and your pre-COVID workforce wasn’t designed to have that much distance between them. The CDC has a recommendation: stagger your employee’s shifts.

Staggered shifts are a great way to mitigate the risk of transmission in a busy manufacturing facility. This system guarantees that fewer people will be in the building at any given time, making social distancing much easier.

Staggering shifts can also help relieve congestion in high-traffic areas such as entrances, exits, break rooms, and time clocks. Limiting the time workers spend huddled in groups, waiting to punch in or get some coffee, will also limit the chances of an outbreak at your facility.

While staggered shifts can cause business disruptions and increased costs in the short term, it can help reduce the risk of large scale labor shortages later.

Protect Each Other with Plexiglass Barriers

In the world of manufacturing, it’s common for workers to spend all day in one spot, focusing on one task or project. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce another form of transmission protection: plexiglass barriers.

The CDC states that plexiglass barriers (or barriers of any other impermeable material) between workers can be an effective way for manufacturing companies to keep their employees safe on the job. Of course, plexiglass barriers are not a perfect solution – if workers step out from behind the barriers, they can be exposed to the virus. Physical barriers can slow down the assembly process for some manufacturers.

If your company can safely install plexiglass barriers between workers (without affecting your work overall), it is a wise step for preventing the spread of COVID-19. However, like all the other precautions listed here, they work best in conjunction with other safety measures. Make sure workers social distance and wear masks – even behind the glass!

Adopt Proper Sanitation and Disinfection Techniques

Finally, an important and effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your facility: keep your space cleaned and sanitized!

Regular deep cleaning and disinfecting of industrial shared surfaces, and air ducts in any work building is the proven method to reduce the risk of viral transmission in your facility and between your employees.

Sanitation, disinfection, and proper ventilation have always been important on the manufacturing floor, but it is even more critical now. The EPA claims that indoor spaces are riskier than outdoor ones for the spread of COVID-19, as a lack of proper ventilation can keep the virus locked in with people. Therefore, it is vital to keep your HVAC system clean and in working order to keep your workers safe and healthy.

 

 

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