Before Disinfecting, You Need to Do This

Clean surfaces before applying disinfectant: expert
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2020 10:55 AM CDT
Updated May 3, 2020 10:24 AM CDT
You May Be Forgetting a Crucial Step in Disinfecting
It's a two-part process, says Cory Chalmers.   (Getty Images/BrianAJackson)

Spraying disinfectant around your home isn't enough to kill the novel coronavirus. That's according to cleaning expert Cory Chalmers, who thinks it may be time to reevaluate your home cleaning routine. The CEO of cleaning service Steri-Clean, which specializes in decontaminating sites touched by infectious disease, tells Business Insider that people often skip the first step of a two-step disinfecting process. "The most important step is the cleaning step," which means using soap and water to remove clusters of germs, says Chalmers, who's appeared on Hoarders. These clusters, called biofilm, resist disinfectants, Chalmers told WTVO this month. Therefore, they need to be removed before a disinfectant is applied to kill off remaining bacteria.

"A lot of people spray a surface and then wipe it around right away. But you're not letting the disinfectant do its job," says Chalmers, whose company has lately been decontaminating cruise ships, factories, and restaurants. He recommends folding a soapy rag into quarters so that a fresh side can be used every "couple of square feet," per Business Insider. Cleaning surfaces around the home with the same rag "doesn't do anything," as you're "just spreading the germs around." Only when surfaces have been wiped should a disinfectant be applied, with close attention paid to the "dwell time," or the time the disinfectant takes to do its work. He says to check the product, as times can range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. The CDC has more tips here. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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