Far be it from us to critique classical marketing speak, but when it’s laced with ambiguity, then we feel the need to step in.
The cleaning aisles in supermarkets are brimming with products promising to ‘kill 99.9% of all germs’: attractive marketing statistics for the general public, as they seek out ways to guard against bacteria and viruses, in the age of COVID-19.
A ‘near perfect’ efficacy, leading the innocent shopper to the conclusion that:
a) These supermarket products must surely eradicate ALL bugs and viruses…
b) There can’t be any products that surpass this level of antibacterial protection…
Wrong on both counts. Let’s strip this apart.
What does ‘Kills 99.9% of all germs’ actually mean?
a) There’s nothing factually incorrect with the marketing language used: tests have indeed shown that their product will eradicate 99.9% of germs….
… but from viruses and bacteria strains listed on the packaging.
So, what’s going unsaid is that there is no guarantee whatsoever that the product has any effect against a pathogen not listed.
Quite the revelation for the unwitting consumer.
b) Whilst a 99.9% antibacterial level is compelling, a 99.999% rate is one hundred times more effective. Consequently, our medical grade wipes provide protection against a much wider range of bacteria and viruses.
There are literally thousands of bacterial and virus strains…, and given what we’ve just learned about all of the potential bacterial and virus strains MISSED by those products advertising a mere 99.9%, it’s certainly worth going the extra mile for protection.
So, a word to the wise in the current climate:
• Wipes that don’t actively advertise the efficacy of their product against COVID-19 might be best left on the shelf.
• If you’re looking for antibacterial and viral protection, aim for as high a kill percentage as humanly possible.
The importance of thorough cleaning, with scientifically proven products
At Uniwipe, we ensure all packs clearly indicate the bacteria, viruses and fungi that each product is designed to attack.
As mentioned, our Midi-Wipe Clinical range ensures that 99.999% bacteria kill rate, and is also effective within 30 seconds against some of the most common viruses circulating in society today, including COVID-19, Norovirus, Influenza A, Hepatitus C, and Herpes. And as with all our products, the wipes have been rigorously tested to international standards, and state as much on the pack,
citing some of the highest EN-accreditations* available within the field of hygiene.
*Without getting too much into the detail of biological science, EN-accreditations represent
the ‘European Norm’ standards that refer to a product’s ability to eliminate spores, bacteria,
fungi, and viruses. (Pub Quiz demon with that answer…)
All of which paints a hugely reassuring picture when it comes to cleaning the kitchen. Or workplace. Or vehicle interior. Or simply any of those common touchpoints we unwittingly come into contact with, on a daily basis.
But whilst faith in the product has been restored, knowing how to clean effectively is also paramount. Let’s take a quick look at some of those recommended cleaning practice actions, ensuring the product is actually able to fulfil its inherent efficacy to the max:
1) Remove visible grime, then apply the disinfectant – we’d certainly recommend wiping the area down with a paper towel, prior to applying the antibacterial and antiviral protection with wipes from our range.
Whilst some of our wipes do perform that dual action of visual cleaning and disinfecting, you’re likely to work your way through the Uniwipe pack more quickly, replacing wipe after wipe, given the fact you’re picking up more visible dirt, crumbs and dust.
Word of warning though – it’s not always advisable to use a spray prior to wiping. Mixing two different cleaning products means mixing different carefully constructed chemical compounds – potentially having a detrimental effect on the efficacy of both.
2) Imagine you’re mowing the lawn – With larger surfaces, what we’re looking for here is a regular wiping pattern, rather than a haphazard approach, as there’s a real risk of leaving sections unwiped, whilst covering other areas multiple times. (Incidentally, the same argument applies to the use of sprays: it’s almost impossible to guarantee an even distribution of disinfectant across a given surface – see our post on this here)
Retain that classical, grass-cutting ‘s’ formation in your head as you approach the work surface: you might not get the same satisfying green stripes, but you can rest assured it’s a far more efficient way of applying an even covering of disinfectant than some misguided scrubbing. (no matter how fervent…)
3) One wipe: one surface – we touched on this in a previous blog post, and the potential dangers of over-use leading to viral transmission.., and whilst we’d love to leave it there, you’ll understand it’s a subject very close to our hearts. And frankly, it warrants overstating, time and time again.
• Take your wipe.
• Wipe a single surface down.
• Bin the wipe.
Simple. Effective. And safe.
4) Leave the surface visibly wet – Whatever you do, don’t rub down your freshly disinfected surface with a towel! This is essentially destroying all that hard work you put in applying the product, as it doesn’t allow the chemicals sufficient area contact time to be effective.
Depending on the product you’re using, you should allow the surface to air dry from anything around 30 seconds to 5-10 minutes, ensuring the area is fully able to meet the guarantee of viral/antibacterial protection. At Uniwipe we clearly state the ‘air dry’ time
required on the product packaging: we’d implore you to follow those guidelines.
5) Multiple cleans in a 24hr period – ‘Viral load’ is a term that has been frequently banded around in recent months, and it’s worth unpicking what this actually means.
This is essentially the extent to which a particular surface has come into contact with the relevant virus: an indicator of how much exposure that surface has had.
As you can imagine, high-frequency touchpoints, by multiple people, have significant potential for a high viral load. Whilst most products will advertise the length of time their disinfectant remains active against microbes, due consideration should be taken with regards to the surface’s viral load.
Countless hands contaminating the given area, will certainly diminish the efficacy of the applied disinfectant – so for those frequently used touchpoints we’d always recommend 2-3 cleans within a 24hr period.
The right tools for the job
We’d like to think that this blog post puts to bed one common public misconception – that all disinfectants are ‘exactly the same’.
Mixing and matching antibacterial cleaning products is, at best, inadvisable, and at worst, dangerous, given the possible detrimental impact on the product’s powers to attack the stated pathogens.
Whilst a 99.9% germ-killing efficacy seems impressive, given the vast range of bacteria and viruses, these products will still allow strains through. Opting for Uniwipe’s higher kill rate of 99.999% is eminently more effective at eradicating these strains.
And finally, as we try to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in our lives – always make sure that the virus you’re trying to kill is listed on the packet.