Skip to Content

Think You’re Disinfecting? Think Again.

Tips to make sure you are doing your part to stem the spread of COVID-19.

While Canada is joining with most of the world in trying to contain the spread of the COVID-19 virus, a lot of the responsibility is falling on citizens to be diligent, wash their hands and clean and disinfect surfaces around their
homes and workplaces.

However, one of the challenges with this is making sure people are cleaning properly. Most commercial disinfectants claim to kill germs found on household surfaces, but the fine print to that claim is the “
When used as directed” notation on all disinfectants — and the vast majority of people do not use them as directed. Due to this, it will be largely ineffective in stemming the spread of the virus.

There are two common mistakes people make when using a disinfectant cleaner or wipe and they are easily rectified:

  • Clean it First —Household disinfectants virtually always have a “For use on Pre-Cleaned Surfaces” statement on them, and the sad part is that the statement isn’t always shown in the Directions of Use Instructions,
    but instead buried in other language on the label.

“That means that if your goal is to sanitize or disinfect, you normally have to wash the surface first with soap and water,” says Dr. Lucas Pantaleon, DVM MS DACVIM MBA, from Ogena Solutions. “Or, people can use a two-wipe process — the
first to clean the surface, the second to disinfect it.Education is key to get people to understand why, for most household disinfectants, it is so important to clean, and to clean correctly prior to disinfecting.”

  • Keep the Surface Wet — All disinfectants have a contact time listed on the label that must be met or the product likely won’t kill the virus or bacteria. The “contact time” is the time the surface must
    remain totally wet in order to give the disinfectant time to destroy the outer shell of the virus to get inside and kill it. So, if a product shows a three-minute contact time, the user must make sure that the
    surface stays wet the entire time, which can mean that additional applications are needed. The above recommendation to use one wipe to clean and a second to disinfect can help with this as you’re more likely to leave a wetter

Based in Stoney Creek, Ont., Ogena Solutions is a leading provider of effective, environmentally friendly biosecurity solutions, equipment and protocols that have made great inroads into the implementation of groundbreaking improvements
in biosecurity protocols in the animal health sector, especially in animal shelters. While they primarily operate in the animal health sector — animal shelters, veterinary, pet boarding, food animal and general farm applications — they
are experts in maintaining and controlling viral and bacterial outbreaks.

“Whatever disinfectant people are using, not using it properly can mean that your efforts are largely wasted,” says  Dr Pantaleon. “It’s not that hard to do it better, and when it is done properly , it will make a significant
difference on the outcome.  Not doing so runs the risk of spreading pathogens to a wider area, or even areas that were not contaminated in the first place.”