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What is Dwell Time? Tips for Disinfecting Surfaces

Dwell Time

Disinfecting is more than just cleaning, and it’s only effective when done correctly. If done improperly, you risk not killing the germs that live on surfaces and objects, which heightens the risk of spreading viruses in turn.

Finding the Right Disinfectant
With cleaning, you are simply removing dirt, spills, and other contaminants from a surface. This can usually be done with nothing more than some soap and warm water. Disinfecting, on the other hand, is about killing germs and bacteria. This tends to require chemicals such as alcohol or chlorine.

When disinfecting surfaces, you should go with a product that contains alcohol. At Q Source, we recommend using isopropyl alcohol (IPA) because it’s commonly used as a disinfectant. However, you will want to make sure you use a 70% IPA solution.

We offer Pre-Saturated General Cleaning Wipes that are saturated with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution to make disinfecting surfaces easier. These wipes are safe to use on metals and plastic and come in a convenient container for easy access.

While disinfecting is different from cleaning, it’s better if you clean before disinfecting. Cleaning allows you to remove germs and contaminants. Following up with a disinfectant will kill the remaining germs and reduce the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses. Always carefully read instructions and warnings on disinfectants, and avoid mixing them with other chemicals or cleaning solutions.

What Surfaces to Disinfect
You should disinfect anything that has been touched by others and has a chance of spreading germs and bacteria. This includes both hard and soft surfaces.
For hard surfaces, focus on things that are touched often throughout the day. Doorknobs, light switches, counters, phones, keyboards, and touchpads should be at the top of your list of things to disinfect. These items and surfaces tend to be touched by multiple people throughout the day, so by killing the germs living on them, you can help slow down the spread of illnesses.

For soft surfaces, disinfect items such as curtains, carpets/rugs, rags, and clothing. With soft surfaces, you will want to launder or wash them with a disinfectant or color-safe bleach. Be sure to follow the washing directions on these items to avoid damaging them during the process of cleaning and disinfecting.

How Often You Should Disinfect
It’s not practical to disinfect surfaces every time they’ve been touched. There’s not enough time in the day for that, and constant disinfecting can cause damage to surfaces and objects. A good rule of thumb is to disinfectOften You Should Disinfect high-touch surfaces once or twice a day. This includes handles, lights, and phones. Don’t forget sinks, faucets, and soap and towel dispensers. You can disinfect more often if you know one of these surfaces has been soiled.

For soft surfaces, you can get away with a more infrequent disinfecting schedule, unless the surface is touched often. Usually once every few days or once a week will work for curtains and carpets. Again, disinfect more frequently if you know the surface or object has been soiled.

Other Tips
When disinfecting, you should have more supplies on hand than just the disinfectant. By wearing gloves, you can protect your hands from germs on the surfaces you disinfect and protect your skin from any possible irritation that can be caused by cleaning chemicals. A good disposable face mask will help filter dust and allergens that might enter the air during the process of cleaning and disinfecting.


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