The Germ War

By Andrew Fisher | Apr 9, 2020

Like it or not, we’re fighting the germ war of our lives right now  – actually we always have been but a pandemic like this current one raises it to the next level. In addition – there is now heightened awareness amongst the general public about the contamination risks that almost every surface presents out in the public arena. Does this mean face masks and gloves will be the new normal?

I think not, and here’s why it doesn’t have to be.

Technology allows us to clean our built environment much faster and more effectively than we used to be able to as new biocides and fogging methods have been developed to make something mainstream – that was previously a highly specialised cleaning technique for clean rooms, the food processing industry and hospitals.

Historically, various chemicals including formaldehyde, phenol-based agents and compounds of ammonium have been used in fogging. Many had not been properly tested for potential effects on human health, some were toxic and others even damaged materials they came into contact with. Advances in biocidal technology have bypassed these problems so that bio-fogging is now both safe and effective.

So what is fogging and how does it work?

Fogging is somewhat misleading as a term as the most common form does not create a fog as such. Chemical or wet fogging produces a fine mist, whereas dry fogging or thermal fogging – more often used where there’s a lot of electrical equipment – does fill the room being treated with smoke.

The biocide particles in the mist or fog are so small that they remain suspended in the air long enough to kill airborne bacteria, it also kills pathogens on all surfaces it comes in contact with. It is not necessary to move furniture around  – the mist will penetrate all recesses and it happens in a matter of minutes. hard surfaces and soft furnishings can all be treated equally and there is no risk of damage.

How long does it take?

Fogging is quick – really quick. As an example a typical supermarket can be done in a matter of 2 – 3 hours, a small suburban Gym around 15-20 minutes, a hotel room – 5 minutes or less.

How often should it be done?

There are various types of biocide available and they all work a bit differently. Some will kill bugs within seconds, but may not remain active on the surface for much longer than 15 minutes, others will take more time to do their work but will remain active for several months. We can recommend a solution for your unique circumstances.

It’s not magic…

Fogging is a highly effective weapon in the war against Germs but it’s not a silver bullet. Biocide needs to come in contact with microorganisms on a surface in order to kill them – if the surface is wet, or dirty the biocide may not work. A deep clean is highly recommended and in most cases an imperative prerequisite to a fogging operation.

What does it cost?

Biocide chemicals used these days are complex and quite expensive compared to what they used to be, but in spite of that, fogging remains the most cost-effective means of sanitising a larger area quickly. The alternative is a lot of manual hand cleaning and spaying using trigger sprays or pump up sprayer which will leave the surfaces a lot wetter than necessary. We have a general price guide available on the link below.

So in summary – don’t be daunted about this new normal, environmental disinfecting of our built environment has always been around – now it is just going to be more mainstream for general businesses. No matter what business you are in, you are most likely going to have to demonstrate that you have a cleaning programme in place for visitors to your building.

People are going to want this piece of mind whether they are travelling on public transport, visiting a gym, mall, restaurant or school – without having to wear a mask…

If you haven’t already got a programme in place here are a few ways we might be able to help you out;

  • We can set up a recurring environmental disinfecting programme for your business – at a time and a frequency that works best for your facility and business type
  • Issue discrete signage for your building so visitors can see you have a clean facility
  • For larger facilities, we can implement an environmental swab testing regime to ensure bug counts remain low

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