Surface Survival: Understanding Surface Disinfection Processes in Order to Kill Pathogens
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DisinfectionAugust 26, 2022

Surface Survival: Understanding Surface Disinfection Processes in Order to Kill Pathogens

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people around the world became highly concerned with pathogens—specifically how the transmission of pathogens contributes to illnesses. Often, diseases are spread by surface contact, and oftentimes, we don’t realize how many surfaces we touch throughout our day—whether it’s at work, school, at a doctor’s office, during social activities, or in transit.

These places—and their surfaces within—all have the potential to harbor and spread bacteria and viruses that cause disease. Due to the fact that we touch surfaces frequently, it’s important to properly disinfect these surfaces to eliminate pathogens. According to the EPA, properly disinfecting can inactivate 99.99% of germs on hard surfaces or objects if allowed to sit on the surface for the recommended amount of time.

In this blog post, we will discuss how disease-causing microorganisms have increased survival on surfaces, the current regulations that are in place to minimize outbreaks, and best practices for disinfecting surfaces.

The Increased Survival of COVID-19 on Surfaces

Due to the pandemic, concerns have heightened that everyday surfaces may be vectors for disease-causing microorganisms. Potentially infectious bacteria, viruses, yeasts, and molds can survive on surfaces for considerable amounts of time. A team of Japanese scientists has recently discovered that several variants of COVID-19 like Delta and Omicron survive significantly longer on surfaces that the original strain.

The study showed that the original strain of COVID-19 can survive on most surfaces for approximately two days, whereas the Delta variant can survive on surfaces for almost 5 days. The Omicron variant, however, is the most durable and can survive on surfaces for up to 8 days. This variant is currently the most prevalent, and is very easily transmissible.

Where Surface Disinfection is Needed

In healthcare settings, microbial contaminated surfaces play an important role in indirect transmission of infection. Surface disinfection is thus required in the following situations:

  • -Frequently touched surfaces adjacent to patients
  • -Surfaces with assumed or visible contamination
  • -Terminal disinfection in areas where infected or colonized patients with easily transferable nosocomial pathogens are cared for in outbreak situations

High traffic surfaces can support bacterial growth and may not receive adequate cleaning. One of the first steps to take is to determine the number/amount of bacteria and screen for the presence of potential pathogens on surfaces, which helps maintain the health of people who come into contact with those surfaces. To ensure successful disinfection of surfaces, it’s also critical to understand regulations and follow proper protocols.

Following Regulations to Minimize Outbreaks

Efficacy claims for antimicrobial surfaces are tightly controlled by federal and state regulations. State requirements for training, certification and licenses vary widely, so check with your state on any local requirements when choosing a solution. Countless products have been developed to help prevent the spread of highly transferable diseases like COVID-19 and other pathogens—but it’s crucial to ensure the product is EPA registered for use against specific pathogens.

When disinfecting public spaces, choose the most effective tool to use, such as a dry-mist hydrogen peroxide fogging system like the Halo Disinfection System®. You should also ensure the selected disinfectant product appears on the EPA’s List N, which meet criteria for effective disinfection against COVID-19. The EPA expects products on this list to kill all strains and variants when used according to the label directions. If a product says that it kills COVID-19, but doesn’t have an EPA registration number, it may not be safe to use and is also illegal to use because federal law requires all disinfectants to be registered with EPA.

The Most Effective Method for Disinfecting Surfaces

Understanding various techniques to disinfect surfaces is necessary to help minimize outbreaks. When disinfecting, choose the method that is most effective. Using a proven hydrogen peroxide disinfectant such as HaloMist™ is beneficial. When applied with the HaloFogger®, HaloMist disperses as an aerosol of micro-droplets to create hydrogen peroxide vapor that penetrates cracks and crevices, without wetting surfaces, ensuring complete whole room surface disinfection with no sticky residue left behind.

Disinfectants have different safety precautions and hazard risks, so anyone handling or using disinfectants should understand how to choose the appropriate disinfectant for the device. Make sure your product’s label includes directions for the application method, and follow all directions—including precautions. If a product isn’t labeled for these application methods, using it that way might be dangerous or ineffective.

Choosing the Right Product and Partner

Contaminated surfaces contribute to the transmission of pathogens. The longer a microorganism may persist on a surface, the longer the contaminated surface can be a source of transmission and thus endanger a person of becoming the target of infection. It’s critical to perform surface disinfection to significantly decrease transmission. Disinfectants lower the risk of spreading pathogens, especially on high touch surfaces.

One solution that appears on List N is Halosil’s HaloMist™ (EPA Reg. No. 84526-6). Halosil’s hydrogen peroxide-based disinfection solution thoroughly eliminates pathogens like SARS-CoV-2, as well as MRSA, C. diff, norovirus, and more on hard, non-porous surfaces. The Halo Disinfection System® pairs the HaloFogger with HaloMist™, which applies multiple mechanisms of killing action to attack pathogens and is proven to achieve a 99.9999% kill rate in disinfection applications.

Speak with an expert to learn more about surface disinfection and how to choose the best disinfectant solution.


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