Avoid these Common Disinfection Mistakes

Rescue Expert Blog

1) Not measuring accurately

Always follow the instructions on the label when mixing and using a disinfectant. Make sure to measure accurately! People often use too little disinfectant, either because they measure it wrong or they want to save money by using less. But doing this can make the disinfectant too weak to be effective. To help mix it correctly, your place could use a pump that makes it easy to get the right amount of product, or a system that mixes it for you automatically!

2) Not reaching the proper contact time

In other words, the surface being cleaned isn’t staying wet with the disinfectant solution for the required time to be effective. Make sure that staff members are informed about how long the product needs to remain on the surface to work properly.

3) Confusing sanitized with disinfection

To claim something is sanitized, the product must have reduced the pathogen load by 99.9%. Disinfecting requires reducing the pathogen load by 99.9999%.

4) Wiping the surface right away after spraying

If you spray a surface and wipe it off right away, it won’t be effective. Remember, no disinfectant works instantly! Always check the product label to find out how long the disinfectant needs to stay on the surface and make sure staff are allowing that contact time to be reached before wiping the surface down, or allowing the surface to air-dry.

5) Using expired disinfectants

Besides knowing how long a disinfectant lasts when it’s concentrated, it’s also crucial to know how long it lasts after you dilute it. This ensures it remains effective. The life of diluted disinfectants can vary—some last only 24 hours, others for 7 days, and some even for 90 days. Always make sure to read the label or contact the manufacturer to find out how long your diluted disinfectant can be used effectively.

6) Topping off diluted disinfectant bottles, rather than starting each time with a cleaned bottle and fresh batch.

Mixing old disinfectant with new can make the mixture too weak or ineffective. When the spray bottle gets low: empty the bottle, give it a rinse, allow it to dry, and then refill with new diluted disinfectant!

7) Mixing cleaning chemicals

Mixing different chemicals can be dangerous and might stop your disinfectant from working right. For instance, if you add something scented to your disinfectant just because it smells nice, there’s a chance the chemical mixture won’t be as potent as it needs to be. This will lead to the potential of pathogens not being killed on surfaces which increases the risk of pathogen transmission for the staff and the animals.

8) Not giving or receiving product specific training to team members

Not all disinfectants are created equal. Different disinfectants work in different ways with various dilution rates, contact times, and safety precautions. Disinfectant manufacturers or sales reps can provide training materials or lead staff training sessions. Just ask.

9) Not getting buy-in from team members on a switch to a new product.

Change can be hard for individuals and teams. If people do not like or do not understand a new disinfectant product, your infection control program can be at risk of failing. Resources such as the “Implementation and Communication” course from the Infection Prevention Leader Certificate Program will provide information to help you create, assess, refine, and communicate effective infection control protocols to optimize success.