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5 Quick Tips for Electrostatic Spraying Success in Healthcare Settings
The world of touchless disinfection is growing quickly and there is a lot of varying information available. Taking on a new technology can be daunting. Maybe you have done your homework and you are interested in adding electrostatic sprayers at your facility. Or maybe you have already added them in and still have questions. Below I have laid out some best practice recommendations. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all for acute healthcare settings, but hopefully some of these give you and your team a place to start.
- Educate Internally
Electrostatics, foggers, misters, oh my! You might have these technologies straight in your mind (if not, check out Breaking Down Electrostatic Technology: Everything You Need to Know), but there is a good chance your colleagues are not completely clear on the key differentiators. As with all areas of Infection Prevention and Public Health, education up front can do a lot to mitigate concerns and misinformation. It can also help to identify those on the Environmental Services (EVS) team that will be your key operators and trainers. I recommend leveraging trainings offered by your electrostatic sprayer and/or disinfectant manufacturer. Many offer online training videos and resources to assist you in setting up a plan for initial and ongoing training.
- Confirm your Disinfectant is EPA Approved for Electrostatic Use
This one seems obvious, but I think it is an important reminder. Your electrostatic sprayer manufacturer should provide a list of safe chemicals that have been tested and approved by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use through an electrostatic sprayer. This ensures safety not only for the operators but also for patients and other staff members in the area. Not all devices are created equally. Similarly, not all disinfectants are safe or effective when used through an electrostatic sprayer. If you are not sure if a disinfectant has been approved for electrostatic use, you can look up the Master Label on the EPA website by using the EPA Registration Number.
- Target Your Electrostatic Disinfectant Based on Area
Once you have identified the list of safe EPA-approved chemicals, consider selecting more than one electrostatic disinfectant for your facility. Your decision to use one disinfectant versus another may vary depending on the type of area, surface compatibility, frequency of use, and the number of devices you are planning on employing. The same strategies you use in your protocols now with wipes and trigger sprays should also be considered when you are adding electrostatic sprayers to your arsenal. For example, you may choose to use a sporicidal product in your patient areas where the risk of C. difficile is a concern and then use a more general hospital disinfectant in your lobby and waiting rooms. Your individual risk assessments can also help to drive these decisions.
- Develop a Step-by-Step Protocol
Having a clear and easy-to-understand protocol will help to prevent any potential issues. Here are some suggestions for setting electrostatic sprayer operators up for success in your protocol development:
- Always recommend gathering supplies in advance, performing hand hygiene, and putting on appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to spraying.
- Have operators remove all linens, paper products and trash from the spray area. I recommend placing a sign outside to indicate that cleaning is in progress. Of note, most products do not recommend use of an electrostatic sprayer while bystanders are in the area. Re-entry time will depend on the disinfectant in use and can be affected by other factors such as air exchange rates, temperature, and humidity.
- Be sure to include a step for cleaning visible soil. Electrostatic sprayers can be an adjunct to routine manual cleaning and disinfection or a stand-alone step if there is no visible soil on the surface.
- Don’t Forget About Spraying Strategy
Make sure to clearly spray target surfaces and avoid just spraying into the air. Stick to one spraying path: clockwise or counterclockwise. Use a zone approach to spray, starting with the far side of the area and working towards the door. Spray using a slow, side-to-side motion, working from high to low surfaces. Stand the appropriate distance from surfaces when spraying. The required distance may vary by electrostatic sprayer. Your goal is to have surfaces wet but not saturated. HINT: If you see dripping or pooling of liquid, you have sprayed too much! Try to maintain a consistent spraying approach with the exception of sensitive electronics and glass or mirrored surfaces. These surfaces may require a wiping step after the contact time has been reached to remove residue and to keep surfaces looking polished.