QMI Environmental, Inc.
COVID-19 Cleaning Tools and Tips
Flu season is here. This is the time to be extra cautious for those at high risk for getting sick. With the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly not letting up, those at risk for the flu need to double their precautions (and double their vitamin C!). Take the CDC’s advice and cover your cough, wash your hands often, stay 6 feet apart from others, wear a mask in public spaces, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, and disinfect frequently touched objects.
PROTECT AGAINST COVID
Why take these precautions? Because the virus spreads through respiratory droplets that are exhaled from infected persons. It’s also spread through coughs and sneezes, flying through the air and then inhaled by another person nearby. While inhaled droplets is the main way the virus spreads, it could also be transmitted through touching infected surfaces. The virus can remain on surfaces for up to nine days if the humidity and temperature are right. Anybody who touches this surface and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth, could become infected with COVID-19.
To protect ourselves and others from sneezes and coughs, it is effective to wear a mask. Tightly woven masks prevent large droplets from sneezes and coughs from escaping. However, they do not protect against smaller droplets, which are those that are exhaled during normal breathing. This is why it is also important to maintain a 6 foot distance between yourself and other people in public, which is farther than exhaled droplets travel.
However, basic hand washing with soap and warm water remains the most important method of protecting yourself against the COVID-19 virus and any other infection. Antibacterial hand sanitizer is proven to be no more effective at virus protection than soap, so there is no need to discard your hand soap. Wash your hands throughout the day: at work, after using the restroom, before eating meals, after going to the store, after returning home, and any time you touch public surfaces.
TOOLS THAT CLEAN
While it is necessary to clean high touch surfaces in your home and work space, it’s easy to go overboard with cleaning chemicals. When protecting against the COVID-19 virus, there is no need to grab the strongest, most toxic, disinfectant around. This virus is not like a MRSA infection, which is resistant to being killed. COVID-19 is an enveloped virus, making it fairly easy to kill on surfaces with usual disinfectants. There is another reason harsh chemicals are not necessary to destroy this virus. They are toxic to humans, animals, and the environment and can cause severe or acute health problems.
To be effective against the virus, QMI Environmental uses disinfectants whose active ingredients are listed on the EPA’s “N list” found here. This is a list of disinfectants that have been shown to be effective against COVID-19. Since our founding, QMI Environmental has been committed to using less-toxic ingredients in our cleaning chemicals. This benefits human health as well as the environment. In following our commitment, we have chosen to use the following active ingredients:
• hydrogen peroxide
• citric acid
• lactic acid
• ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol or just alcohol)
• isopropyl alcohol
• peroxyacetic acid
• sodium bisulfate
• hypochlorous acid
These ingredients are the safer options that are listed on EPA’s approved list. In this way, we ensure the right tools are used for killing the COVID-19 virus, while also honoring our values of using cleaner ingredients in our products.
Disinfecting wipes are a suitable alternative to sprayers and can be equally effective against the virus. QMI Environmental uses both applications, and our team is careful to follow the dwell time for each product. Dwell time is the amount of time the chemical must remain wet on surfaces before being wiped dry. Most disinfectants have a dwell time ranging from 2-10 minutes. Dwell time (sometimes called “contact time”) will be listed on the label. Do not skip over this part! Following the dwell time is the only way the disinfectant will be effective.
Microfiber cloths have been all the rage since the early 2000’s. And for good reason. They are able to pick up and trap dust particles and pathogens within the cloth itself rather than just smearing them across a surface as cotton cloths do. Smearing pathogens around on a surface does not remove the pathogen! Not only that, but it increases the incidence of cross-contamination. Choose microfiber cloths for wiping disinfectants onto a surface, and a different microfiber cloth to wipe that surface dry after the dwell time has passed. Don’t limit the usefulness of microfiber to counter spraying! Use microfiber mop heads too.
QMI Environmental uses microfiber cloths and mop heads as standard practice. We make sure they are changed frequently so they aren’t accumulating soil and pathogens. They are washed separately from other fabrics using liquid detergent, while avoiding bleach, fabric softeners, and high temperatures. Lastly, each of our color-coded cloths are designated for one type of cleaning, whether mirrors, surface wiping, or bathrooms, so there is no transmission of germs from one area to another.
CONSISTENT AND EFFICIENT CLEANING
As mentioned before, it is imperative to read the instructions on the label of any cleaning product. Following the instructions ensures your cleaning efforts will be effective against COVID-19 and other pathogens.
Disinfectants work best when they’re used on non-soiled surfaces. Removing the soil, dust, and grime allows the disinfectant to access the pathogens hiding underneath. This means using soap and water to remove surface soil, both visible and invisible, before applying disinfectant. Remember to abide by the dwell time, keeping the surface wet with the chemical before wiping it dry. Lastly, be sure to dry the surface with a clean, dry cloth using linear strokes that overlap each other.
Microbes are everywhere. And some of them are pathogenic and cause illness. It is important to remove pathogenic microbes using appropriate chemicals for the job, and using these chemicals correctly. Using the wrong chemical or misusing the right chemical will not completely kill pathogens. Make sure you are using the right tools for the job, in the right way, to keep everyone safe from infection, including infection from the COVID-19 virus. Call on QMI Environmental for the peace of mind that cleaning is done right!