Disinfectant wipes are the most convenient way to clean efficiently – in the current pandemic times, many users are looking for hand wipes that kill viruses as an alternative to gel, and these wipes are suitable for a variety of applications and surfaces. But did you know that if used incorrectly, such as incorrect contact time or using the wrong cleaning technique, antibacterial wipes can be ineffective.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the common mistakes users tend to make with buying, storing and using wipes, and how to avoid these pitfalls yourself. We’ll cover some top tips on popular types of wipes so you can make informed decisions, and storage and usage techniques to get maximum value and effectiveness from your cleaning routine.
You may be using antibacterial wipes wrong – Here are some common examples
The wrong product
In fact, much of the trouble starts before you even open the pack – you buy the wrong product. I don’t mean you’ve come home from the shops with a bottle of bleach when you meant to buy wipes – more likely you’ve fallen for a classic trick used by many domestic brands to make you believe these wipes are all you need to get the job done. Chances are, the pack tells you they kill 99.9% of bacteria. In truth, the only thing they don’t mention is they’re not proven antiviral, and the contact time is 10 minutes – more on contact time later when we look at cleaning techniques.
And with the huge volume of wipe brands out there, you may well ask ‘are all wipes antibacterial’? No they’re not – it’s important to make sure wipes claiming to be antibacterial have sufficient testing to back up their claims. A minimum standard is the European Standard EN1276, which certifies a product as antibacterial.
To make sure you’re working with suitable products, look for professionally tested products that are proven to kill viruses, and that have a contact time of 60 seconds or less. Our Midi-Wipe Clinical, for example, is professionally tested to kill enveloped viruses (SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped Virus) in less than 30 seconds. They’re also tested to kill 99.999% of bacteria – a product that is 99.999% effective has a bacteria reduction ratio of 100 x more than a product that kills 99.9%!
Now that you’re equipped with the right tools for the job, you can rest assured they’re ready for deployment at a moment’s notice. Until they’re needed, you can keep them in the cupboard, with the lid closed securely – it’s important to keep the lid closed when not in use, to make sure the wipes don’t dry out. They need to have plenty of moisture to release onto the surface you’re cleaning in order to be effective, and if they’re dry they won’t be any use. A top storage tip is to keep the pack on its side, so that if the moisture does settle in the pack, all the wipes will still retain an even amount of moisture.
One wipe, multiple uses
It’s common practice to use the same wipes for disinfecting multiple surfaces – this is fine, as long as it’s a fresh wipe for each new surface. If not, the risk of cross-contamination is high, as germs transfer via the wipe onto the new surface and are spread further. Make sure you’re using a fresh, moist wipe for each new surface you clean, disposing of used wipes properly in the bin.
Incorrect cleaning technique
Perhaps the most common mistake users make is using the incorrect cleaning techniques. They use wipes that are too dry and therefore spread the germs around rather than kill them; they use the same wipe for multiple surfaces; they don’t allow the surface to naturally air dry, so the cleaning agents don’t have time to act.
Here’s some simple steps to ensure safe and effective cleaning:
- Take 1 new, wet wipe from the pack. We recommend doing this for each new surface you clean as this removes the possibility of cross-contamination. If the pack has been stored correctly, all the wipes will be wet and therefore able to release sufficient cleaning agent onto the surface to effectively disinfect.
- Wipe in a regular pattern ensuring full coverage – avoid wiping the same area twice. Let the chemicals do the work – evenly cover the entire surface in cleaning agent, and they’ll do the rest.
- Leave surface to naturally air dry. This is important, as cleaning chemicals need time to act. This contact time should be stated on the label, and for professional products should be 60 seconds or less.
- Use 1 wipe for each new surface. This removes the risk of carrying germs from one surface to the next.
Always dispose of wipes correctly and according to local guidance – never flush, even if the wipes are apparently flushable. They can take years to break down, and cause all sorts of problems in drainage and waterways.