Facility managers are focused on protecting staff, building occupants and stakeholders through disinfection while balancing budget and time constraints. To enhance frequency and performance, some commercial cleaning programs have turned to additional methods of cleaning and disinfecting, such as the use of electrostatic spray technology. Read on to learn more about this approach and best practices for using these tools.
The Rise of Electrostatic Spraying
Since the onset of COVID-19, electrostatic sprayers have gained popularity as a method for disinfecting large spaces in less time. Electrostatic sprayers charge the liquids they dispense so that the droplets cling to surfaces with an even coating. They achieve up to three times the coverage of traditional spray bottles and allow one team member to disinfect spaces that might typically require several cleaning professionals. For these reasons, airlines, hotel chains and public transportation departments have turned to electrostatic technology during the pandemic.
Electrostatic sprayers offer several additional benefits besides simply applying chemical more quickly. The charged chemicals also wrap around cracks and crevices that traditional methods might miss. The even coating also ensures that only the necessary amount of chemical is used, meaning facilities can reduce waste by up to 60% and mitigate the dangers of chemical overuse.
Applying ECAS with Electrostatic Technology
Many facilities now use electrochemically-activated solutions (ECAS), which are effective cleaning and disinfecting solutions made with just water, salt and electricity. They are growing in popularity because caustic chemicals can negatively impact indoor air quality (IAQ) and the health and safety of cleaning staff and building occupants. Meanwhile, environmentally responsible ECAS are non-irritating to eyes and skin, even when used frequently or applied using various methods. ECAS are also safe to dispose via drains without negatively impacting waterways.
Although ECAS are created using an electric charge, electrostatic sprayers do not nullify their disinfecting power as some might assume. In fact, ECAS have been shown to retain effectiveness when applied with this technology. Applying ECAS with electrostatic sprayers can be preferrable to using conventional cleaning products that can cause people to inhale potentially dangerous droplets or lingering chemical fumes.
How to Choose Your Electrostatic Sprayer
If you decide using electrostatic sprayers is right for your cleaning operation, there are several factors to consider when selecting equipment.
- Droplet size. In general, larger droplets take a larger charge to successfully cling to surfaces and smaller droplets are preferable as they cover surfaces more effectively. However, droplets must be large enough to resist evaporation. If you opt for a sprayer with a smaller droplet size, make sure that staff apply it close to the surface to minimize evaporation.
- Design. Electrostatic sprayers utilize various designs: rolling cart, handheld and backpack. A small office may only need a handheld sprayer, whereas a school or larger office may require one or more backpack sprayers. Carts that either automatically spray a room or require manual operation are ideal for healthcare or event spaces. Sprayers also come in corded or battery-powered options. While cords can pose a tripping hazard, they provide consistent power and droplet charging where batteries sometimes cannot. Facility managers can assess their needs based on available cleaning staff and facility square footage to decide whether one type or a combination of sprayers is appropriate.
- Certifications. Be sure electrostatic sprayers meet strict guidelines to confirm they are safe for use around employees and building occupants. Choose sprayers that are ETL or UL certified by Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories (NRTL) to ensure they meet U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements.
- Testing. Look for companies that have invested in ways to prove their electrostatic sprayers work correctly and can perform effectively and reliably. Brands can put their products through different evaluations such as droplet testing to ensure successful application of disinfectant.
Tips for Electrostatic Spraying Success
Once you have chosen your sprayer, be sure to conduct testing, review and training. First, facility managers can perform an exposure risk assessment to determine if the equipment or chemicals currently in use could negatively impact IAQ, cleaning staff or building occupants. Using disinfectants that do not create additional risks is crucial. Those with shorter dwell times can also help ensure the product achieves maximum effectiveness.
Train employees to follow the proper procedures. Pre-cleaning surfaces is an important first step to remove soils that may inhibit easy removal of infectious pathogens. Then, when applying disinfectant, cleaning professionals should hold the electrostatic sprayer within one foot of the application surface to ensure full coverage.
Efficient Cleaning with Innovative Technology
For facility managers looking to disinfect large or even hard-to-reach spaces frequently and effectively, electrostatic sprayers may be the right investment to cover more ground under time and budget constraints. If you decide to implement this technology, be sure to select sprayers with the appropriate droplet size, design, certifications and testing for your facility’s needs. Pairing your equipment with ECAS and the above best practices will help ensure your cleaning program achieves the best results.
Tyler Williams is Director of Scientific Services at PathoSans, a leading provider of on-site generation (OSG) devices that produce ready-to-use, highly effective cleaners and sanitizers known as electrochemically activated (ECA) solutions. To learn more about effective cleaning and disinfecting solutions compatible with electrostatic technology, visit www.pathosans.com.