Why Disinfecting Dwell Times Matter In Return-to-Work Plans

Businesses are now finalizing or implementing full-scale return-to-work plans, and ensuring proper disinfection techniques continue are critical to that endeavor.

One central component to those techniques is the concept of dwell times, also known as contact or kill time. Disinfecting dwell times are essential pieces of data for both current and future cleaning and disinfecting plans. Understanding how this information applies to commercial cleaning and prevents the spread of disease-causing pathogens is key to making sure your disinfection efforts are as effective as they need to be to ensure the health and well-being of both your employees and customers.

What Are Dwell Times?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines disinfecting dwell times as the amount of time that a sanitizer or disinfectant must be in contact with the surface and remain wet to achieve the product’s advertised kill rate. The dwell time will vary depending on the type of disinfectant used, the type of surface treated, and the targeted pathogen.

For example, the dwell time for a particular sanitizer used to combat the influenza virus on an average countertop will be drastically different than the times needed for another disinfectant used to target the COVID-19 virus that may linger on light switches or doorknob surfaces. In some cases, the disinfecting dwell time for one set of variables may be 30 seconds or a minute; in another scenario, it could be five or 10 minutes.

For the most effective results, professional cleaners must identify all parts of that equation — the disinfecting agent used, the type of surfaces treated, the particular pathogens targeted, and the corresponding dwell times. By adhering to the proper usage and observation of dwell times, rather than simply specifying a specific chemical from the EPA’s N List to fight COVID-19, cleaning services will provide better disinfection for their clients.

For example, Jani-King of Cleveland uses EPA-registered disinfectants that will kill the COVID-19 virus in one minute. But if that disinfectant isn’t allowed its one-minute dwell time, then the effort is rendered moot. Worse still, if disinfecting dwell times are not consistently observed — applied and then wiped away before the threshold time is reached — then more resistant illness-causing pathogens can develop as a result.

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Learn More About Proper Disinfecting Protocol with Jani-King

In order to protect your employees and your customers, there’s no substitute for a proper cleaning and disinfecting process for your facility. Attention to detail, such as disinfecting dwell times, will give those in your building the peace of mind that comes from knowing every precaution is being taken to safeguard against microbial threats.

Cleaning and disinfecting services have been forever altered because of the pandemic and will remain a focus moving forward. Not only should businesses be doing all they can to ease concerns surrounding COVID-19, but other threats also remain. COVID variants, mutations of the initial pandemic-causing virus, have been noted and charted worldwide and have become more prevalent even as vaccination efforts have picked up. H1N1, to this day, is tracked and monitored after an outbreak a decade ago. Proper cleaning and disinfecting services will also help your workforce fight off the yearly variants of the common flu — another viral concern.

And despite advertising claims to the contrary, there is no ‘surface protectant’ that can offer long-term protection against viruses on surfaces. The only way to ensure consistent, safe workspace environments against viral threats is through a continued cleaning and disinfecting program.

‘Surface protectants’ claim to provide a residual kill factor of 30 to 60 days (or more), meaning that one application of the substance can guarantee your surfaces will remain virus-free for extended periods. While some of these solutions can protect against mold or bacteria that can cause odor, discoloration or deterioration, the EPA and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have been clear that they will do nothing to repel or kill viruses like the one that causes COVID-19.

“Treated articles cannot claim that they are effective against viruses and bacteria that cause human illness,” the EPA stated. “This means that they are not appropriate for controlling COVID-19.”

Simply put, if new viral particles come into contact with a surface, a previously applied disinfectant will not protect against these new particles.

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Work With Jani-King for a Complete, Consistent Cleaning Program

As part of a global leader in commercial cleaning franchises, Jani-King of Cleveland has the proven experience to develop the plan needed to keep your facilities clean and protect employees and customers with in-depth, risk-based and EPA-approved disinfecting services and solutions. With 30 years of serving organizations of all sizes and industries throughout Northeast Ohio, we’ll bring the proper approach needed to keep your business on track.

With a three-phase approach, Jani-King of Cleveland will help your facility open and stay open despite the circumstances. First, we’ll conduct a risk assessment survey that will take stock of the facility and the challenges and needs it presents, such as identifying key touchpoints that need to be addressed. Then we’ll implement a plan to cover those areas and how often they should be treated using specialized and approved tools — like electrostatic spraying. Lastly, we’ll review the process after completion to ensure it’s working and continue to follow up with regular service to guarantee the results stick.

Jani-King of Cleveland serves the Greater Cleveland area, including Akron, Ohio. But we also operate additional locations in nearly every surrounding community — from Sandusky to Solon and even Youngstown. With more locations opening and communities served every day, wherever you need our professional disinfecting services, Jani-King of Cleveland will be there.

Connect with us today for a free cleaning and disinfecting services consultation.