The importance of effective disinfection
Effective cleaning and disinfection is important to your overall health. To ensure proper disinfection, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved hard surface disinfectant kills the microorganisms causing sickness but only when used correctly according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. A user of the product needs to know how to properly apply the disinfectant to ensure effectiveness. If a product is not utilized per manufacturer’s guidelines than your home’s surfaces may not actually be clean and free of microorganisms.
How can effective disinfection be ensured?
Ensuring effective disinfection relies on the user of the product to apply it properly. To help, users need first read the instructions on the product bottle. Each disinfectant has a designated set of instructions for proper disinfection commonly referred to as “wet time,” “contact time,” or “dwell time.” For purposes of this article, we will utilize the term contact time.
What is contact time?
Regardless of the chosen term, they all mean the same thing! To ensure a surface is properly disinfected, the surface must be kept visibly wet for the full contact time indicated on the product label. The contact time is the time the disinfectant needs to stay wet on a surface to ensure effectiveness. It is determined by the manufacturer and testing completed by using EPA-approved methods. Contact times for disinfectants can vary. Therefore, it is essential users read the label on the product. Times can range from 15 seconds to ten minutes, the maximum time allowed by the EPA.
Keeping a surface visibly wet can be difficult for disinfectants that require a long contact time. If the disinfectant does dry before the contact time is reached, label instructions typically require reapplication to ensure that the contact time is met for proper disinfection.
So, the next time you are cleaning, be sure to read the label for contact time.