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Cleaning Efficiency: Doing More with Less

Non-Healthcare

More than 4.5 million people voluntarily left their jobs in November 2021 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This mass exodus highlights the struggle many employers are facing retaining workers. As a consequence, in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, the professional cleaning industry is challenged with not only increased demand for cleaning services, but also severe staffing shortages. In other words, they need to do more with less. The need for improved cleaning efficiencies has never been higher. One way employers can improve cleaning efficiency is by leveraging emerging technologies, such as electrostatic sprayers (ESS), in combination with traditional application methods, like disinfecting wipes.

Electrostatic sprayers can improve cleaning efficiency in three ways:

  1. Use less time to cover more spaces — Electrostatic spraying has been shown to be 4x faster than manual disinfection.1
  2. Use less disinfectant overall equating to saved resources — Electrostatic devices use 65% less disinfectant solution* and 81% less plastic to cover the same area when compared to a trigger sprayer.
  3. Keep workers happy and engaged — Offering employees an opportunity for learning and growth is one of the key metrics of job satisfaction.2

Throughout the 20th century, numerous researchers published work laying out the fundamentals of spray-charging methods to increase the deposition efficiency of finely divided droplets.3 Since then, 21st century researchers have continued to evaluate electrostatic technology, specifically in regards to surface disinfection. One research team at the Cleveland Clinic and the Cleveland VA have investigated utilizing electrostatic spray technology in comparison to a high-level disinfection chamber and UV light. Of the three technologies tested, electrostatic disinfection and the high-level disinfection chamber were the most effective, but the electrostatic device was considered the easiest technology to use as the required spray times for small items were only 20 seconds.4 In another study, the same researchers found statistically significant reductions in pathogen contamination on portable equipment, wheelchairs, and waiting room surfaces when a disinfectant was applied via an electrostatics sprayer, without any wiping or pre-cleaning. They also found that electrostatic application of the disinfectant was just as effective as manual disinfecting but could be applied four times faster. 1

Don’t Forget About Chemistry

Ultimately though, the efficiency gained by an electrostatic sprayer can change based on the chemistry you decide to use with your sprayer device. As highlighted by the EPA, “ESS is only as effective as the disinfectant chemical being sprayed.”5 The disinfectant you use can impact:

  • Prep time: Ready-to-use chemistries can greatly reduce time to spray for your operators. Dilutable chemistries require extra time to prepare and can result in human error.
  • Drying time: How long surfaces need to remain wet to reach the appropriate contact time can add to or reduce spraying and drying times.
  • Re-entry time: How long it takes for bystanders to re-enter a space after spraying varies between chemistries. If you are unsure, check the product label or SDS.
  • Compatibility: Another consideration for any chemistry, but especially one that will be paired with an electrostatic sprayer, is surface compatibility. Additionally, chemistry compatibility with the sprayer device is also critical to ensure longevity and performance of the provided reservoir (if applicable) and nozzle.

Labor shortages may be here for the foreseeable future and that means identifying cleaning efficiencies whenever we can. By retaining employees and improving the efficiency of our tasks, we can continue to Clean for Health in the face of the challenges brought on by the pandemic.

* On a per ounce basis for CloroxPro® Total 360® Disinfectant Cleaner 128 oz. vs. CloroxPro® Total 360® Disinfectant Cleaner in a 32 oz. trigger sprayer
† Vs. a trigger sprayer per square foot

References

1. Cadnum JL, Jencson AL, Livingston SH, Li D, Redmond SN, Pearlmutter B, et al. Evaluation of an Electrostatic Spray Disinfectant Technology for Rapid Decontamination of Portable Equipment and Large Open Areas in the Era of SARS-CoV-2. Am J Infect Control [Internet]. 2020; Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajic.2020.06.002
2. Bersin J. New Research Shows “Heavy Learners”​ More Confident, Successful, and Happy at Work [Internet]. LinkedIn. 2018 [cited 2022 Jan 6]. Available from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/want-happy-work-spend-time-learning-josh-bersin/
3. Law ES. Agricultural electrostatic spray application: a review of significant research and development during the 20th century [Internet]. Journal of Electrostatics 51(1). 2001 [cited 2022 Jan 5]. p. 25–42. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304388601000407?via%3Dihub
4. Haydar H, Kumar J, Cadnum J, Hoyen C, Donskey C. Evaluation of Novel “No-Touch” Technologies for Decontamination of Toys in Pediatric Healthcare Settings. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol [Internet]. 2020;41(S1):S229. Available from: https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology/article/evaluation-of-novel-notouch-technologies-for-decontamination-of-toys-in-pediatric-healthcare-settings/768D8AAC983E75F4B41DC8DBFC179BD8
5. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Evaluating Electrostatic Sprayers for Disinfectant Application [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jan 5]. Available from: https://www.epa.gov/covid19-research/evaluating-electrostatic-sprayers-disinfectant-application