I always have a love/hate relationship with the beginning of the school year. On the one hand, it is incredibly nice to get back into the typical routine of the fall and spring semester. On the other hand, just about the time I get into the routine of dropping my kids at school and knocking out some work, I get a call from the school that someone is running a fever. Schools are germ pools!
Students are more susceptible to getting sick at the beginning of the school year because — after a summer outdoors and at the pool — their immune systems have gotten a bit lazy and the classroom environment is simply poised for infection to spread. From elementary schools to college campuses, there’s something about the stress of classwork plus close quarters that seems to cause that first cold of the season to hit like a ton of bricks. The importance of disinfecting properly now that school is back in session cannot be overstated. And thanks to an uptick in COVID-19 numbers and flu season rapidly approaching, it is all the more important to establish robust disinfecting routines early in the school year.
Disinfecting is distinct from sanitizing. Sanitizing means lowering the number of germs on a surface. Disinfecting, on the other hand, refers to killing the majority of germs on a surface. There’s quite a bit of science to it! In fact, you’ve probably seen a bottle of disinfectant before with some slogan like “Kills 99.9% of germs!” This may be true but NOT the way most people use it. If you were to read the fine print on that bottle, you’d notice the term dwell time. Dwell time is the amount of time that a chemical disinfectant must remain (wet) on a surface in order to kill the published percentage of germs. For example, I have a bottle of disinfectant under my kitchen counter right now that requires 10 minutes. Imagine how ineffective that same disinfectant would be if I did what most people do — spray it on a surface with one hand while wiping it off with the other hand.
Additionally, in order to properly disinfect, surfaces must be cleaned before a chemical disinfectant is applied or an e-sanitizing machine does its work. Dust, dirt, and grime molecules can shield a surface from disinfecting agents. It is absolutely essential that cleaning be a prerequisite to disinfecting.
Sonlight Cleaning Services is no stranger to sanitizing or disinfecting. And most importantly, we’re educated on the difference! Our cleaning team members are thoroughly trained in disinfecting protocol and are familiar with the dwell times of different products. When you work with Sonlight Cleaning Services for all of your commercial cleaning and janitorial cleaning needs, you can trust that your students, faculty, and staff are in the very best hands.
By Laura Pulliam