Clearing the Air on Surface Disinfection: The use of Foggers and Sprayers

October 29, 2020

Airlines and hotels are just a few of the businesses enjoying positive press and appreciative customers for their fogging efforts. Which solution might be right for your practice? 

If respiratory droplets and aerosols are the main culprits for Covid-19 transmission, why does it seem like fogging for surface disinfection gets so much attention? The answer is somewhat complex. First, it makes sense to reduce every possibility for transmission as much as we can. Temperature screenings, for example, can’t flag asymptomatic patients, but they are effective at stopping those with an obvious coronavirus symptom from spreading the virus in your practice. Every little bit helps.  Consumers perceive businesses that take multiple preventive steps as more trustworthy. While fogging doesn’t help users address air quality (that’s a topic unto itself), it’s a very thorough solution for surface disinfection, and consumers clearly feel it’s a more impressive measure than simply wiping surfaces with a disinfecting wipe like they do at home. They expect more. 

 Getting started with fogging—and making it pay off in your practice—requires you make a few decisions. There are different types of foggers and cleaning solutions, so you’ll need to figure out which are right for your practice. In addition, while fogging can potentially improve your practice’s safety, it won’t have any benefit in terms of patient confidence and experience if you keep your protocols a secret. With all of that in mind, let’s break it down as simply as possible. 

 What is fogging? 

 Not everyone seems to fully understand the concept of this product category. While it’s true the disinfectant fog is released into the air, this is done so primarily as a method for applying a disinfectant to multiple surfaces and into hard to reach places so that there’s no need to move equipment and furniture. 

 Fogging is a very fast and efficient way to disinfect whole rooms and large areas with less sweat and disruption. The machines themselves aren’t much more cumbersome than a portable vacuum, commonly weighing in at around only 8 or 10 pounds. They’re also simple to use, doing all of the work and creating a mist of Ultra Low Volume (ULV) droplets. For users, all they need to do is point and shoot. However, it’s important to understand that fogging does not eliminate the need to clean surfaces beforehand. You still need to clean by hand according to accepted protocols, then disinfect. 

 What are the different types of foggers? 

 The previously mentioned ULV machines, also known as ‘cold foggers,’ produce the ideal size of droplets to tackle pathogens in the form of an ultra-low volume fog or mist. Manufacturers like Vectornate specify their foggers to produce droplets of between 5 and 50 microns in diameter, which they state is ideal for the application of disinfectants, biocides, fungicides, and pesticides. Choosing the right model is a question of your needs. Vectornate offers models with tank capacities from small (two liters) to large (six liters). The bigger the tank and the more liquid it holds, the longer you can continuously operate it. Another factor is spray distance. Vectornate’s entry-level models can reach between 6.5 and 16 feet, while their top models can reach distances greater then 40 feet. Different speeds and flow rates allow users to adjust the fogging volume for their specific needs. 

 Electrostatic sprayers, like the Victory Innovations Electrostatic Sprayer, apply an electric charge to the disinfectant or sanitizer. While not technically foggers, they’re often chosen by users instead because the positive charge creates conditions for the mist to wrap around objects and evenly surround them for more complete distribution and coverage. They typically come in smaller, handheld units that are ideal for dental practices, and also larger units with backpack tanks for big indoor areas like office complexes. The Victory unit is of the handheld variety, and also cordless, allowing hours of spray time with a mist that encapsulates all conductive surfaces, even underneath.  

 What chemicals do they spray? 

 There are different choices, and new products are becoming available all the time. One convenient option is a product by Toppen Health called DolfinPods. It comes in tablet form, so it takes up little storage space and there’s no lugging around heavy bottles of pre-mixed liquid. Simply snap a tablet in half and dissolve it in ordinary tap water. The resulting hypochlorous acid (HOClsolution is safe for humans and animals and also safe on a variety of hard surfaces, yet 80-120 times more powerful than bleach. It can be used in special spray bottles, but fogging at 200-400PPM or electrostatic spraying with DolfinPods takes disinfecting to the next level of convenience. (Contact us for more information on proper dilution for your particular application.) 

 DolfinPods have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) on hard and non-porous surfaces. Therefore, DolfinPods can be used against Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) when used in accordance with the directions for use against Norovirus, Coxsackievirus B3, and Hepatitis A virus on hard, non-porous surfaces. Visit the CDC’s website for the latest guidance.  

Don’t leave patients in a fog 

 Once you’ve decided which device and disinfectant is right for your practice, be sure and let patients know you’re taking this extra step to add more safety to their visits. Share photos of your team executing your updated protocol. Make it part of your communications, verbal or visual. As always, stay up to date on the latest guidance from the ADA, CDC and EPA to ensure you’re using your new fogger, electrostatic sprayer and disinfectants properly, safely and effectively.  

 To learn more and discuss the right options for your office, talk to your Friendly Benco Rep at 1.800.GOBENCO.  

 

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