With Singapore transiting to Phase 2 on 19 June 2020 but in an era of information overload and misinformation online, what are truly the best ways to disinfect our homes and working places? Let us help you in this short guide in the best ways to kill the coronavirus in areas with high-contact rates.
Quick tips on disinfecting
- A product that contains bleach (sodium hypochlorite) must NOT be mixed with any chemicals other than water. You should also know that it can cause colour loss and should not be used on fabrics generally.
- A product that contains isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol, commonly called rubbing alcohol) can be safely used to disinfect hard surfaces and is generally safe on skin, but it can cause drying and irritation. However, isopropyl alcohol is flammable and should be used carefully.
So what should you look out for?
In general, you should err on the side of caution – don’t use a product if you’re unsure if it’s safe. Avoid mixing cleaning products entirely. If you’re going to use a product for a non-designated use, spot-test it on a tiny, inconspicuous area to check if it will cause damage.
You can find the usage and safety instructions, along with the ingredients, on the product’s packaging. However, the small print may sometimes make it difficult to read. You can search for the ingredients of a product simply by Googling the product name + “ingredients” or “usage”. A product’s SDS (safety data sheet) can also be found by Googling the product name + SDS (e.g. Clinell SDS Sheet)
Fortunately, there are a great number of cleaning products beyond isopropyl alcohol that are effective at disinfecting for SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease Covid-19.
Clinell Universal Wipes, UK’s most trusted wipes are known to be effective against the Coronavirus and have a contact time of 10 seconds.
What is contact time?
The contact time (also known as the wet time) is the time that the disinfectant needs to stay wet on a surface to ensure full effectiveness. The most common industry practice is to ensure that the surface is kept visibly wet for the full contact time indicated on the product label.
Trying to keep a surface visibly wet can be particularly tough for disinfectants that require a long contact time, such as ten minutes. High temperatures in countries like Singapore can make it difficult even for disinfectants with contact times as short as three or four minutes to stay wet.
It is especially challenging for disinfectants with high alcohol content, which evaporate quickly. If the disinfectant dries on the surface before the contact time is reached, label instructions usually require reapplication to ensure that the contact or wet time is met.
There are various disinfecting products out there; avoid mixing products. Before making your next purchase, do look out for the contact time required for the chemical to work — it varies from product to product. Alcohol-based products can cause dry skin and skin irritation with prolonged usage, so do remember to wear gloves when necessary.
Written By: Samuel Yeung