Read the Fine Print

Oct 15, 2020 | Allergen Relief, Cleaning, Education, Sanitization

Andrea Velasquez
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by Andrea Velasquez

Customer Interface Manager and Certified Clinically Clean® Specialist

Andrea is a Certified Clinically Clean Specialist. Among other duties, Andrea handles inquiries from Aseptic Health customers across the country and assists our network of Certified SanitizeIT® Operators. For many years, Andrea was Vice President of Business Development for a major design and construction company in Chicago. In other words, reading and understanding the fine print is her specialty! Here is Andrea’s opinion after reading the fine print on several disinfecting products.

In this era of Covid-19 and other emerging pathogens, reading the fine print on cleaning products is even more critical. Much of what you read on the front of the label is marketing and advertising driven. But the fine print is where you’ll discover the directions for use and what the product can and can’t do.

Let’s start with Lysol

How many doorknobs and toilet handles have you sprayed with Lysol during cold and flu season? Did you know, according to the Directions for Use and the website, you need to pre-clean the surface, spray 6 to 7 seconds  until covered with mist then let stand for 3 minutes to kill 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and fungi? Also in the fine print: if your fixtures are made of brass, copper or aluminum, Lysol is not recommended for use.

Many parents and teachers also use Lysol to disinfect toys in the nursery but do not rinse after the mist has dried. The label clearly states that toys and food contact surfaces must be rinsed with potable water after use.

In addition, there are different time periods for killing viruses and bacteria. To Disinfect: Surfaces must remain wet for 3 minutes then allow to air dry. For Norovirus surfaces must remain wet for 10 minutes then allow to air dry.

What about barriers?

We’re seeing more and more barrier products being introduced to the market as long-lasting protection against pathogens. Microban 24 Hour Cleaning Products is probably one of the better known. The website reads: Did you know that bacteria can live on surfaces anywhere from several hours up to several days…Powered by antimicrobial technology, Microban 24 keeps surfaces sanitized for up to 24 hours, even after multiple touches*. The asterisk refers to the fine print: *When used as directed.

Digging further into the fine print, Microban admits that Microban 24 does not provide 24-hour residual protection against cold and flu viruses.

So what does the product do? When used as directed it provides a multi-layer protective shield on the surface which binds the bacteria-fighting ingredient to the surface, even when contacted multiple times. That’s great news, but without reading the fine print you could believe that you’re being protected against coronavirus or flu viruses for 24 hours as well, but that’s not true.

Make Your Own?

Electrolyzed water—made from salt, vinegar and water and electrolyzed to make hypochlorous acid—has been used for years to safely kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on surfaces. The trouble with electrolyzed water is that it’s expensive to make and it does not have a very long shelf life. So for a janitorial company, the time it takes to mix large quantities every day is inconvenient. Still, we like the fact that it is made from natural ingredients.

Today, there is a home appliance that allows you to make your own inexpensive electrolyzed water called “Force of Nature.” According to the website, Force of Nature is “as effective as bleach” at killing 99.9% of germs. And while that may sound like almost 100 percent…that’s not how kill logs work. To effectively disinfect you need a product that safely and effectively kills 99.999% of viruses and bacteria.

One last word of advice after carefully reading the Force of Nature Safety Data Sheet. You need to use in a well-ventilated area. It is incompatible with ammonia and other acids. And, in our experience, hypochlorous acid decomposes into chlorine which can have a corrosive effect on some materials. Test an inconspicuous area before using.