How Do You Sanitize?

April 06, 2020 Leave a Comment

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Contrary to popular belief, sanitizing and disinfecting are two different things entirely. The two terms are often confused, however, they serve two different purposes. The purpose of disinfecting is to very quickly kill off germs and bacteria. Disinfectants are typically chemical based and can be harmful to people. Disinfectants are not meant to clean, so it's important that a surface is cleaned before disinfecting it. Hospitals primarily use disinfectants rather than sanitizers.

It's Important to Clean Surfaces Before Disinfecting Them
The purpose of sanitizing is to reduce the amount of microorganisms to a level that is considered safe. A surface should be clean before it is sanitized or the process of sanitizing is less effective. Sanitizing is a big part of the restaurant business, where there are rules and regulations in place regarding sanitizing all surfaces that come into contact with food. Dishes are sanitized as well, very often using a hot water method whereby the dishes are soaked in 170F for at least a half minute. Some restaurants will use a chlorine bleach solution (a combination of chlorine bleach and cold water) to sanitize. This process in itself sounds like a bad idea, but it is a standard in many restaurants. There are also plenty of commercially available sanitizing products that contain harmful chemicals.

How Do You Sanitize?

As mentioned above, there are different methods of sanitizing. According to the EPA Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfectant Guide, "Sanitizing for toys, thermometers, pacifiers, teething toys, eating utensils, tables and high chair trays, food preparation areas, mixed use tables, computer keyboards," and all other areas in schools where children can make contact is essential. Cleaning is not enough. While the Centers for Disease Control Household Cleaning and Sanitizing recommendations do include the use of bleach as mentioned above, it comes with cautionary advice that includes avoiding mixing bleach with other chemicals, wearing rubber gloves, and being careful not to inhale the fumes. The same guide advises cleaning surfaces with warm soap and water before using the chlorine bleach process to sanitize the surface. The bleach method can be used in commercial and residential settings, but following the agency safety advice is important to avoid injury. There are also many store-bought products that claim to sanitize, but these are often filled with chemicals and harmful to people and the environment, with no way to guarantee they are even working effectively.

Is Sanitizing Enough to Prevent the Spread of Germs?

Sanitizing alone is not enough to prevent the spread of diseases. It does drastically reduce the spread of diseases, but the CDC recommends disinfecting, as does the EPA. The EPA, however, in its Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfectant Guide recommends green products for cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting as opposed to methods using chlorine bleach and chemical-based products. This doesn't mean the CDC endorses the use of chlorine bleach, just that it recognizes its use as a method for disinfecting. There are still strong warnings in place for the use of bleach.

Getting Vaccinated Slows Down the Spread of Flu
Both the CDC and the EPA recommend regular cleaning and disinfecting as an effective method of preventing infectious diseases in businesses, homes, and in schools. Furthermore, they recommend getting vaccinated to help slow down the spread of flu, which is often one of the biggest causes of absenteeism and lowered productivity.

According to the CDC, one of the most important steps to make sanitizing as effective as it can be is to sanitize properly. Always start by washing surfaces with warm, soapy water, and always follow directions of any sanitizing product you're using. The use of store-bought sanitizing products can be harmful to your health because they contain chemicals. There's a misconception that products containing chemicals are more effective, which is not necessarily the case. You should always read labels to determine exactly which bacteria are addressed with specific products.

The take away is that while cleaning is important, it isn't enough to reduce the number of germs and bacteria present. Cleaning simply means wiping, dusting, sweeping, mopping, and keeping an area free of trash. Even cleaning with hot soapy water won't keep germs at bay. Cleaning is, however, the first step in the sanitizing and disinfecting process because you should always clean an area before sanitizing or disinfecting. Sanitizing isn't enough for hospitals, medical buildings, and other places where health is a main focus. The goal in those types of establishments is to eliminate, not reduce, germs and bacteria.

GenEon Provides a Better Way to Clean, Sanitize, and Disinfect

GenEon is the leader in safe cleaning products and non-toxic sanitizers and disinfectants. Our products are made using nothing more than water, natural minerals, and electricity. It's electrochemical activation (ECA). Simply put, one of the natural minerals that GenEon uses as a catalyst is salt, which is a compound comprised of sodium and chloride. During this process, sodium ions are positively charged and chloride ions are negatively charged. Our onsite generators expose these ions to a low electrical charge. The positive side of the charge electrochemically converts the chloride ion (Cl) to hypochlorous acid (HOCl), which is a powerful sanitizer, and the negative side of the charge electrochemically converts the sodium ion (Na) into sodium hydroxide (NaOH), which is a cleaning compound often found in soaps and detergents. Unlike many other OSG systems, our system is a Blended Stream System that uses both versions in the same solution. The hypochlorous solution is represented as Free Available Chlorine (FAC) that has 80-200 times the sanitizing power of chlorine bleach. Since it is produced at a near neutral pH, it won't bleach out furniture or clothes.

GenEon's Hypochlorous Solution Has 80-200 Times the Sanitizing Power of Chlorine Bleach
As you can guess, cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products made using this process are safe for the environment and pose no threat to people or animals. Products made using ECA will kill most bacteria in seconds, including some of the nastiest ones like E.coli, MRSA, and norovirus. ECA leaves no chemical residue, emits no fumes, and doesn't emit VOCs, and has no fragrance. This is important because chemicals used to create fragrances in store-bought cleaning and sanitizing products are classified as hormone disruptors, allergens, carcinogens, neurotoxins, and triggers for asthma.

Another advantage of GenEon's ECA is that it uses our on-site generation technology, meaning the products are made by consumers on site, as needed. This not only reduces waste, which in turn lowers the cost of cleaning, it eliminates the need to store harmful chemical-based products in your workplace or facility.

Contact GenEon by calling us at 866.217.0205. Let us show you how you can get safe cleaners and non-toxic sanitizers and disinfectants in your facility today. We can also tell you about our InstaFlow for creating a high volume of cleaning and sanitizing products with a compact unit and our Mist products for effective distribution of our products in both large, open areas and hard-to-reach areas. With GenEon, you can clean, sanitize, and disinfect while being a part of a healthier future.

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