Standardising on one cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting chemistry is necessary for greater efficiency and safety, says Chris Romagnolo.
03 February 2020 | Chris Romagnolo
Historically, diverse protocols have been used to clean, sanitise and disinfect each aspect of a facility, such as floors, surfaces, restrooms, and food service areas. Add mould remediation, odour control and other challenges to the list and the prospect of success is even more daunting.
Accomplishing every task can mean using more than seven types of chemicals, each applied differently, including a neutral floor cleaner, general hard surface disinfectant, sporicidal for deep disinfection, bleach to clean restrooms, food-safe sanitiser in eating areas, mould remover, odour eliminator and more. Managing labels, safety data sheets, use guidelines and expiration records for all these products is a full-time job.
And new research suggests that daily floor disinfection is required to stop dissemination of contaminants to multiple surfaces. Until recently, this wasn't an option owing to a lack of suitable chemicals.
Streamlining chemistries and processes
However, in recent years a chemistry composed of sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) has become available in tablet concentrate form. Mixed with normal tap water, it creates hypochlorous acid (HOCI) solutions.
Diluted to different strengths, NaDCC can act as sanitiser, hospital-grade disinfectant, sporicidal or tuberculocidal. NaDCC is an organic chlorine donor that is not caustic so it is environmentally preferable and safer for people, equipment and floor finishes. It's also a multipurpose disinfectant.
NaDCC tablet concentrates also contain a surfactant - the first chemistries with an EPA-registered kill claim against bacteria present in biofilm, which is a serious problem in healthcare environments.
Workflows would be improved by eliminating half a dozen chemicals from individual cleaning protocols.
Safety, economy and efficacy
Standardising around one cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting chemistry can upgrade safety in four distinct ways.
- It eliminates potential failure points caused by human error with one set of directions for every stage of the cleaning process - taking the guesswork out of what to use, and when.
- The fast-dissolving tablet concentrate allows more accurate dilution than chemical dispensers and removes the risk of mixing mistakes.
- HOCI produced by NaDCC presents a less hazardous alternative to some of the more corrosive sporicidal-grade chemicals used today.
- With a pH of 6.5-7.0, versus bleach at 12-13, NaDCC exhibits good surface compatibility and won't damage equipment or dull floor finishes.
- Consolidating solutions could cut costs for facilities in at least five key areas.
- Shipping and storage costs would be reduced up to 90 per cent by switching to tablet concentrate versus more expensive liquid concentrates.
- HOCi solutions from NaDCC are effective at much lower concentrations, thereby reaping chemical savings.
- Chemical waste is significantly less owing to longer dilution stability and, when used with electrostatic sprayers, chemical use is reduced by 60 per cent per square foot.
- Higher productivity and performance would effectively lower labour expenses.
- Infectious outbreak losses could be successfully mitigated and associated costs would drop dramatically.
However, in a complete chemical evaluation, efficacy is also important.
At sporicidal strength, NaDCC can kill C. diff in four minutes and is on the US Environmental Protection Agency K list of approved products recommended by the CDC for C. auris and other emerging pathogens. Moreover, the residual action of NaDCC-based disinfectants offers reserve killing power long after application.
Switching to NaDCC tablets for chemical organisation allows facilities to leverage new electrostatic spraying technologies that offer a more economically viable option for environmental sanitation while delivering 80 per cent faster application time and three times greater surface coverage per ounce.
Simplified compliance management
Standardisation of cleaning and disinfection protocols would help to solve many compliance concerns. Best practices include consolidating around a broad-spectrum disinfectant that achieves maximum safety.
Less chemical variation leads to simpler processes, training and procedures, better tracking and improved outcomes.
High-level compliance will result in more effective sanitation, cleaner facilities and healthier populations.
Chris Romagnolo is vice-president of EarthSafe Chemical Alternatives