5 Things to Remember About Safely Using Disinfectants

Did you know? The EPA has a list of all List N disinfectants able to kill all strains and variants of SARS-CoV-2. When choosing your disinfectant, consider these five tips to ensure you are getting maximum efficiency out of it.

1. Check your chosen disinfectant for the required “contact times”

Disinfectants only work while they are wet! And each disinfectant requires different “contact time”, the length of time the surface must stay visibly wet with the product in order to eliminate illness-causing germs. This could be anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes, so read and follow the instructions on the label of your product!

2. We shouldn’t overuse disinfectants – but COVID-19 won’t become “disinfectant-resistant”

Studies have found the over-use of some disinfectants can result in “disinfectant-resistant” microbes in some cases. However, the EPA has stated it expects all List N disinfectants, which chemically inactivate viruses, to kill all strains and variants of SARS-CoV-2. Genetic changes to the virus do not impact the efficacy of disinfectants.

3. Use proper ventilation and protective equipment when disinfecting

Disinfectants can be harsh! Only use in a ventilated space and protect your hands, eyes, and lungs during use. It’s a good idea to wash your hands after using a disinfectant. Never combine cleaning chemicals and read the label for any specific precautions.

4. Most cleaners don’t disinfect, and most disinfectants don’t clean

Cleaning means removing dirt and some germs. Sanitizing means reducing germs to a less dangerous level. Disinfecting mean killing all applicable bacteria & viruses to an EPA-designated extremely low tolerance.

5. Make sure your disinfectant is safe for the surface you’re using it on

Most of the EPA List N disinfectants are for disinfecting hard, non-porous surfaces. Some products may be safe for other surfaces (with or without reduced efficacy). Read the label to make sure it’s safe for your chosen surface, such as electronics, fabric or leather, or certain countertop materials. NEVER use a disinfectant to sanitize your hands.

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