Disinfect, the Right Way
By Ruth Albright (Posted March 30, 2020)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is placing a heightened concern and emphasis on disinfecting high traffic surfaces such as doorknobs, sinks, and countertops in your home — even if no one is sick. While cleaning and disinfecting is at the top of our minds right now, it is important to note that disinfecting supplies come with instructions that make those products effective. Keep reading to learn how to use the disinfectant, anti-bacterial, or anti-viral products we are using to keep our homes safe.
It is important to use products with “disinfectant,” “anti-bacterial,” and/or “anti-viral” on the label. Labels should list the organisms for which they have been tested to effectively kill germs. In addition, read the use requirements carefully. For example, the contact time and application method are part of the test method and failing to follow the instructions on the label could result in an ineffective product.
Failing to read product instructions can also give you a false sense of security and result in exposing friends and family to disease-causing microorganisms through surface contact. Depending on the product, skipping the product instructions could cause antimicrobial-resistant strains of target microorganisms to develop on the many surfaces in your home. With your safety in mind, and for the health of friends and family, read the label and follow the instruction for applying those products you are using to disinfect your home, your car, and the many shared surfaces you come in contact with daily.
A little more information for those interested:
Manufacturers’ products with “disinfectant”, “antimicrobial”, “antibacterial”, and/or “antiviral” on the label, are subject to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Implemented and enforced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), the regulation requires manufacturers to demonstrate that those products meet label claims and present an acceptable level of risk to the user. The label must include a statement regarding the types(s) of organism(s) the product is intended to control (or kill) and the method of application required to achieve those claims, including the use of any safety equipment and/or procedure requirements. Failure to follow label requirements is a violation of Federal regulations. While it is unlikely that the USEPA will initiate enforcement action against a homeowner or low volume user of commercially available consumer products, the instructions are a consumer protection and will enable the effective use of the product.
For more information on cleaning and disinfecting your home or workplace, visit the CDC for the latest on disinfecting your home, the right way.