As businesses and organizations across the globe search for a cleaning solution to protect against the novel Coronavirus, 90-day disinfectants have begun to make headlines and some companies are offering 90-day disinfectant services to protect businesses from coronavirus. But are these disinfectants really as effective as they claim?
What Are 90-Day Disinfectants?
Typical disinfectants, whether store-bought or professional-use chemicals, generally work by killing bacteria and other harmful pathogens on hard surfaces. In some cases, disinfectants can add an additional layer of protection against new bacteria or viruses once they have dried.
Some sanitizing chemicals, like quaternary ammonium compounds, can last for up to a week, while others may only be effective for 24 hours. Unlike typical disinfectants, 90-day disinfectants are said to create a “coating” on hard surfaces, which kills bacteria and viruses, and protects against new bacteria or viruses for up to 90 days.
MAP-1 Anti-Viral Coating
One anti-viral coating, called MAP-1, has been in development in Hong Kong for 10 years, and researchers at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) state that it can provide significant protection on high-touch surfaces, such as handrails, doorknobs, and elevator buttons.
MAP-1 is created with the same chemical compounds that are found in typical household cleaners, but the difference comes in the chemistry. It combines compounds like benzalkonium chloride, the active ingredient in certain Clorox, Magiclean, and Dettol products, with silane chemistry in order to anchor the cleaning compounds onto surfaces, which is supposed to help protect those surfaces for a much longer period of time.
90-Day Disinfectants May Not Really Last 90 Days in Actual Use
While the thought of a protective coating that lasts up to 90 days is exciting, it is, unfortunately, not completely true.
According to Lim Kaiyang, an Assistant Professor at the Singapore Institute of Technology, there are a variety of factors that make the true efficacy of 90-day disinfectants difficult to determine.
High concentrations of virus can break down the disinfectant coating sooner.
One determining factor in efficacy that Kaiyang mentioned is the concentration of microbes on a surface. If a 90-day disinfectant is sprayed on a surface with a high concentration of microbes, its protective coating may be found less effective, or wear away sooner than the same disinfectant that is sprayed on a surface with a lower concentration of microbes.
90-day disinfectants don’t work well in high-traffic areas.
Another factor that was brought up by Kaiyang is the environment in which the coating is placed. He has stated that if a 90-day disinfectant were used in a high-traffic area, it could become overwhelmed, meaning that the strength of the protective coating has worn away and left the surface vulnerable to contamination once again. And he’s not alone in that regard.
Steve Kritzler, a scientist who created the anti-microbial products Aeris Active and Evocide Extra, also believes that these 90-day disinfectants are really only effective for one week, or about 200 hand touches in high-traffic areas. His own research has proven that low-traffic areas are able to maintain a protective coating for up to 90 days, but that high-traffic areas really require reapplication more regularly.
“In low traffic areas, we have certainly validated periods of over 90 days… (But) frankly, in any high traffic area, re-application of the product more regularly than 90 days is (required).”Dr. Steve Kritzler, technical director at the Australia-based Novapharm Research (source)
90-Day Disinfectants Are High-Cost
Even if small business owners have low-traffic areas suited to 90-day disinfectants for sanitizing and protecting against coronavirus on surfaces, true 90-day disinfectants are not a low-cost solution. One article found that applying the coating costs $2,600 to $50,000, depending on the size of the sprayed area.
Question low-cost promises for 90-days of protection.
If business owners see lower cost alternatives advertising 90 days of protection, they’re advised to approach those advertisements with skepticism and ask to see the EPA label for the product being used. We’ve seen companies advertising BioShield® 75 Biostatic Surface Protectant as a 90-day product, which it is, for inhibiting the growth of odor-causing bacteria and fungi (mold), but it isn’t registered to prevent the transmission of bacterial, fungal, or viral diseases from contact with the surface.
If a company is advertising low-cost protection against Coronavirus for 90 days, they may not be using an EPA-registered disinfectant with proven efficacy against viruses similar to COVID-19, or they may be over diluting it with water to save money.
More Frequent Sanitization Is Key
Whether you sanitize with a 90-day product or use a traditional sanitizer labeled for 24 hours of protection, the best way to protect yourself and your customers is to disinfect frequently.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. By killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Routinely disinfect frequently touched surfaces at least daily.CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention – source)
The CDC states that you should sanitize all surfaces and objects made of hard, non-porous materials like glass, metal, or plastic daily if…
- they are in an indoor area;
- they are in an area that has been occupied within the last 7 days; and
- they are frequently touched surfaces or objects.
Sanitize with Alpha Decon
For regular, professional disinfection services at your place of business, trust in Alpha Decon. Our unique system combines a full-coverage mist with electrostatic sprayers, ensuring that every nook and cranny of your space will be protected from bacteria and viruses.
We offer one-time, daily, or weekly appointments to keep your space protected. During the Coronavirus crisis, we’re working seven days a week, from 9 am-5 pm. To get started with your first service, give us a call at (866) 623-0013, or click here to request a quote.