It’s flu season. There are a lot of hands on doorknobs, railings, handles, etc., so you do a quick run-through a few times a day with your favorite brand of disinfecting wipes. You’re all good right? The answer is maybe—but probably not.
First of all, there’s a big difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects while disinfecting destroys those germs.1 If you really want to knock out those germs, you want to make sure your disinfecting.
Secondly, the amount of time your cleaner comes in contact with the soiled surface is VERY important. Each product that you purchase should have a “Kill Time” on the label somewhere. If not, you can find it online. Kill time is the amount of time that the surface needs to remain in contact with the disinfectant for it to totally kill the germs. For example, Clorox and Lysol wipes both have a 4 minute kill time, meaning that the surface you are trying to clean must remain wet with the solution for 4 minutes for it to truly disinfect. Considering it dries in about 2 minutes, you can see how this could be a problem. You either need to run back through and wipe it again before it dries, or you’re just sanitizing, not disinfecting. Check out this Lysol product page. If you scroll way about 2/3 of the way down you’ll see the surface needs to remain wet for 10 seconds to sanitize and 4 minutes disinfect.
Before we get all freaked out, sanitizing is still way better than nothing, and in a lot of cases, sanitizing may be all you need. You just need to be more careful when you work in a medical facility, have the stomach bug going around, or if there was an epidemic of some kind (Swine Flu, anyone?).
I know you’re probably waiting for my revolutionary alternative, and I promise I will not disappoint. Feast your eyes on PDI’s Super Sani-Cloth. These bad boys kill germs and pathogens in 2 minutes or less. That means you only need to wipe once to get the desired results. That also means that you’ll be using half as many wipes for the same results, which saves you a ton of money. But let’s say you think I’m nuts and you only want to use one wipe regardless of the data. It’s still cheaper to use the Super Sani-Cloth. SSC costs $.075/wipe, Lysol costs $.085/wipe, and Clorox is $.077. Not too shabby. If you do count needing two wipes to get the same level of effectiveness, you can see the savings are very significant.
One step to a cleaner, safer office is making sure you’re properly disinfecting when germs are floating abound. Slay those germs, and save some money too. Because why not?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/flu/school/cleaning.htm