When Disinfecting, Don’t Ignore Dwell Time

Don't Ignore Dwell Time When Disinfecting

Here’s a pop quiz for you. Which one of the following statements describes “dwell time”?

  • A. The time cargo remains in a terminal's in-transit storage area while awaiting shipment.
  • B. The time that something therapeutic or diagnostic remains inside a patient's body.
  • C. The time you are given after a military deployment to "recover."
  • D. The length of time a disinfectant or cleaner must remain wet on a surface to effectively kill germs.

Trick question. They’re all descriptions of dwell time. But the one you should be most concerned about is D. That’s the description we at Cyclone Kleen Up pay special attention to. This is an EPA specified time period that’s required for a disinfectant to do its job, usually around 10 minutes, to assure compliance. It’s not always listed as “dwell time”. Sometimes other terms such as “contact time”, or “must remain wet for” are used, but they all mean the same thing.

By the way, just because you waited a certain period of time for one product does not mean that’s how long another product needs to work. Dwell time is product specific. All disinfectants are tested and labeled for the specific amount of time they must be in contact with the surface to kill the microbes. This is very important, especially when disinfecting due to the Coronavirus.

If you’re cleaning floors, dwell time can save you a lot of work and will allow you to do a better job by laying down the cleaner and giving it time to loosen the soil before you try to mop it up.

For best results, we recommend using a two-step cleaning process to help avert the spread of disease-causing pathogens:

  • Step one: Clean and eliminate soils from surfaces by means of a cleaning solution with a microfiber cloth. This will aid in removing potential microbial hiding places.
  • Step two: Apply a disinfectant to surfaces while following the manufacturer’s recommendations concerning dilution, safety, and dwell time. Finally, once you’ve waited the recommended dwell time, remove the solution with a wet/dry vacuum or microfiber cloth.

Unfortunately, we often work under the premise that time is money, so we tend to hurry things along. But this is a part of the job that’s too important to ignore. So if you don’t want to experience the equivalent of watching paint dry, use your time wisely while waiting for the disinfectant or cleaner to do its thing by keeping busy with other jobs that need to be done. But be sure to use a timer so that you don’t allow too much time to pass and the chemical dries up. If you do, you’ll have to reapply the solution and wait again.