The single most important thing you should understand about using disinfectants.

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The single most important thing you should understand about using disinfectants.

We’re all doing it, right?

Using disinfectants to help sanitize areas we’ve already cleaned to further prevent – and kill – viruses and bacteria. 

But are we using them correctly? 

In this blog we’re going to address the single most important thing you should understand about using disinfectants, and also provide you with some insights on your favorite brands.  


Why do we disinfect? 

In answering this question, it’s best to identify that there is a difference between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is the removal of dirt and germs from a surface, and disinfecting is the process of killing germs using chemicals. We disinfect because while cleaning is definitely valuable, it doesn’t actually remove (kill) harmful germs, including bacteria and viruses. 

What is the dwell time? 

This is the single most important thing you should understand about using disinfectants. You must use them in accordance with their designated dwell time. Dwell time, or contact time, is the amount of time disinfectants need to remain wet on surfaces to properly disinfect. In many cases, the dwell time is minutes (3 or more), thus a quick spray and wipe isn’t actually doing anything. 

Dwell times for commonly used disinfectants:

Below are a few commonly used disinfectants. Take note of their dwell times, but also how long you think they could / would remain wet on contact. 

  • Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaner: 10 Minutes
  • Mediclean Germicidal Cleaner: 10 Minutes
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray: 3 Minutes
  • Lysol All Purpose Cleaner W/Bleach: 30 Seconds
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: 1 Minute
  • Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach: 5 Minutes

When using disinfectants, keep the surface wet for the entirety of the recommended dwell time, then let the surface air dry. We hope that this simple, yet important insight will help you keep your home clean and healthy. 

If you have any additional questions about disinfectants, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team. 

-Green Clean Team
Ps. Here is a list of EPA certified disinfectants, many of which include dwell times (also referred to as contact time): https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2-covid-19