One of the most significant challenges of tackling the COVID-19 pandemic is that, as data comes in, guidance and best practices can change. That doesn't mean what you were doing before was the wrong thing to do. It just means we have better data now. One of the things we at EnvirOx have been very vigilant about is reinforcing the importance of cleaning before disinfection and the fact that the over-use of disinfection is a problem with real consequences for facilities and the people who live, learn, and work within them.
"People can be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces, but I mean, really the risk is low, based on the science" – CDC Spokesperson1
The New Guidance from the CDC
Armed with new research and data, the CDC has clarified their guidance on how to clean and disinfect for COVID-19. The main points are:
- Regular cleaning (with soap and water or detergents) should be your number one weapon in making facilities safer against COVID-19. Data has suggested for a long time that COVID-19 is primarily contracted from person-to-person contact. That means that disinfecting everything is both expensive and unnecessary in most cases.2
- As the CDC has ALWAYS recommended, if you do use disinfectant, then you should clean first.
"Applying disinfectant without properly cleaning surfaces first "consumes most of the disinfectant," – Toxicology Expert David Krause1
- Disinfectant use is still recommended for facilities in an area with high infection rates, vulnerable populations, or where handwashing is not easy.2
- Disinfection should concentrate on high-touch points, not every surface. 1
- Disinfection can harm your health, especially without proper ventilation. Fogging may look impressive, but the actual effectiveness of this technique is very much in doubt. 1
The Way Forward to Tackle COVID-19
One of our primary missions at EnvirOx has always been to advocate for green cleaning because, yes, it's better for the environment. But also, the key is that it's better for the safety and health of cleaning workers and the health of everyone who uses the buildings they clean. If we spray disinfectant everywhere to kill or reduce COVID-19, then we're likely creating more problems with reactions (both now and down the road) to the use of disinfectants.
So, what should you do?
- Use EPA-registered and third-party certified green cleaning products.
- Clean regularly. In most cases, your current daily cleaning regimen should be sufficient, with some modifications for frequency as needed.
- If you live in an area with a high rate of COVID infections, serve a vulnerable population, or have other such considerations, then you should disinfect.
- No matter what, however, you should concentrate on disinfecting high-touch-point areas.
Find Your Expert
Have questions? We’re here to help. We know that navigating changing guidelines can be a challenge. Our experts are here to help you with your cleaning challenges. Find your local representative now.