Cleaners clean and remove soils. They do not kill. Sanitizers and disinfectants kill germs. Cleaners and disinfectants are two separate types of products and should be used in a two-step process to be most effective. The two-in-one products that say they clean and disinfect do not do either well. It is generally more costly to use these products and if BSCs do not have a two-step, clean and sanitize/disinfect culture, then one should be adopted immediately to best protect janitors and clients.

Chlorine bleach, hydrogen peroxide products and quaternary ammonium compounds (aka quats) are the three most used disinfectant chemical classes right now in commercial cleaning.

For anyone running a contract cleaning company, the idea is to separate oneself from the many others in the crowded commercial cleaning market. One way to do this is to have a public health infection mitigation program in place. Another is to use the latest cutting-edge equipment and sanitizers and disinfectants on the market to make these programs healthier and easier to accomplish. Hypochlorous acid (HOCL) is considered part of the engineered water category of products and can be used for sanitizing and disinfecting. HOCL is neutral in pH, which makes it much less hazardous to skin, eyes and respiratory systems in humans, as well as aquatic species. HOCL also does not cause or make respiratory illnesses worse. They are also less dangerous to materials in facilities. A fact to help understand why HOCL is much less toxic (even though it is an EPA-registered disinfectant like quats and chlorine bleach) is that human’s own white blood cells make it in their bodies as part of the immune system.

HOCL needs to be made from a machine that is purchased so that BSCs can make the product on-site and on-demand. It can also be purchased in a NaDCC tablet that once diluted in water makes any number of concentrations of HOCL to kill specific pathogens.

Electrostatic sprayers are a new way to apply disinfectant. As the disinfecting solution leaves the sprayer, a charge is put on each droplet. By just walking and essentially waving the sprayer toward a surface for disinfection, the droplets move through the air to where they are attracted. The droplets, since they are charged, lay in a thin layer and avoid pooling and soaking surfaces. The charged solution also wraps itself around a surface, covering all areas, including the backsides and undersides of objects. When used with a product that does not need to be rinsed, electrostatic sprayers can make disinfecting quick.

Plasma and ultra-violet technology are for air disinfection throughout the day. Germs can travel on particles in the air due to their small size and this means they can move through the HVAC systems, as well. Having an air handler in the room that zaps the air with UV light to kill germs in the air can be useful to prevent infections and make janitors’ jobs easier.

Plasma and UV systems can also be used in HVAC systems to kill anything in the air exchange that may be going back into the building. As soon as janitors finish cleaning, the air starts to deposit soils and germs on the surfaces they just cleaned again. The only way to combat this is to clean the air as well. This is the next step of cleaning services.