5 Questions To Ask When Choosing A Disinfectant Solution For Your Space
Maha El-Sayed, Ph.D.
What you need to know:
- Businesses are looking for efficient, effective ways to keep their spaces clean in the wake of the pandemic.
- Many companies are taking advantage of that need — and making false claims.
- Ask these five questions to vet their credibility.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world are taking a second look at what it means to truly disinfect a space. While there are hundreds of traditional disinfectants that work momentarily but stop working upon recontamination, there’s only one surface coating that continuously kills viruses, including coronaviruses, for months on end: SurfaceWise2™.
Many companies offer solutions that claim to continuously kill viruses, but they fail to deliver on the promise due to lack of efficacy, durability, compatibility or safety. But that hasn’t stopped them from disingenuously marketing their solutions by making unsubstantiated claims.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) takes action against companies making unsupported claims, but the process is reactionary, so they may not penalize offenders until well after someone has already made a purchase. That’s why it’s up to you, as a consumer, to do your homework and validate the claims of any decontamination product you’re considering buying, including continuously active antimicrobial coatings.
Here’s a list of good questions to ask as you vet the credibility of continuously active antimicrobial surface coatings:
1. Are their claims approved by the EPA?
Any disinfecting product you use should be registered with the EPA. If it is, they can share the claims they’ve been approved to make. If they’re not registered to make claims they’re directly or indirectly making, the product is not in compliance with EPA regulations and the seller could face legal consequences.
2. Are their antimicrobial claims supported by data?
If so, they should have the reports to prove it. These reports should include:
- Results that demonstrate effectiveness against relevant bacteria and viruses (such as human coronavirus).
- Results that demonstrate a sufficient rate (e.g.,99.9% of viruses in two hours) of kill to reduce the risk of infection due to cross-contamination or transmission.
- Methods that test the product when dry, not as a solution or as a spray. Tests are conducted in solution or when the product is wet are not valid measurements of the continuing benefit these products can offer.
- Methods that show the coating can withstand repeated attacks of the pathogen with continuing decontamination activity. This ensures the product can continuously, effectively fight recontamination.
- Methods that demonstrate the coating remains effective after being touched and cleaned. Continuously active antimicrobial coatings are designed to be used in combination with your regular cleaning routine. Confirming effectiveness after wear is extremely important to ensure that the coating will last in public spaces.
- Methods that measure contamination in a way that is valid to the coating application and not other cleaning mechanisms. Continuously active surface coatings deactivate germs on surfaces, so effectiveness measures should be highly selective to measure live or active germs.
3. Are their durability claims supported by data?
Durability claims vary widely and can depend largely on how the product was tested. Reports should show the product was tested to simulate durability over time. Many coatings can stay on surfaces for a long time — if untouched. The product should be tested with a simulation that mimics the wear of regular use and/or cleaning.
If you’re satisfied with their durability claims, compare the traffic/usage conditions of the study to the ones in your facility. Laboratory methods can vary. They may or may not reflect the type of wear that you would expect in your space. If the conditions don’t match up, you can’t expect the same results.
4. Can they control/measure how much product coating is applied to a surface?
This determines whether they can apply enough product to provide sufficient antimicrobial benefits in real-world environments. It’s not enough to measure visually; they need to be able to guarantee these invisible, odorless, non-tacky surface coatings are present on a surface, especially in high-traffic areas (such as schools or hospitals) or areas that utilize rigorous cleaning protocols.
5. Was their testing done in a qualified lab and/or published in peer-reviewed journals?
Review the standards of the testing facilities and the rigor with which the results have been validated. Independent testing done by General Laboratory Practice-certified laboratories supports better laboratory practices and standardized protocol use. Also, when results are published in a peer-reviewed journal, it ensures the methods, analysis, and conclusions have been assessed and approved by subject matter experts.
Very few products will offer a satisfactory response to all five of these questions, and as it stands, only SurfaceWise2 has been EPA-approved to claim effectiveness against coronavirus over an extended period. Click here to contact us and learn more about SurfaceWise2 and its benefits.