In light of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), environmental cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces have become more important than ever before. Research studies show that environmental cleaning and disinfection play important roles in helping to prevent the spread of infection. New technology in this industry is the application of EPA-approved disinfectants utilizing electrostatic application systems for proper surface disinfection. Electrostatics is a proven technology in the agricultural and automotive industries. This technology is now being integrated into the infection prevention and control industry as a tool to break the chain of pathogen mobility.
What is electrostatic spray technology?
Electrostatics is a branch of physics that studies the phenomena and properties of stationary or slow-moving electric charges (Electrostatics, 2016). Electrostatic phenomena is easily demonstrated when lint is attracted to clothes, or when dust clings to a TV screen. These descriptions are examples of Coulomb’s law. Coulomb’s law states that opposite electrical charges attract and like charges repel. Electrostatic spraying has been used for many decades in painting and agriculture. EMist uses this same process to apply a charge to the liquid droplets as they are formed and just before the droplets leave the spray nozzle. These “super-charged” droplets then actively seek out negative or neutral surfaces. What’s more, as the droplets leave the nozzle, the charged droplets repel one another, keeping them from coming together and forming larger droplets. Interestingly, because of the electrostatic charge, droplets “wrap” around surfaces providing an even, consistent surface coverage.
What are the EMist disinfectant sprayers?
The EMist sprayers are the most powerful, efficient and cost-effective disinfection sprayers on the market. The sprayers place an electrostatic charge to disinfectants as the chemical leaves the spray nozzle, which causes the chemical droplets to cling to virtually any surface.
Is the EMist System practical enough for continuous use throughout a facility?
Yes. The EMist sprayers are used in schools, ambulances, hospitality, acute, and post-acute settings.
Who can operate the EMist sprayers?
Your current janitorial, housekeeping or environmental service staff will find the sprayers easy to use and to operate. They’ll also discover that it takes less time to cover more area and to do the job with better outcomes and more cost effectively.
How long does training take?
Learning to use the EMist sprayers takes about an hour (online training resources).
Which disinfectants do you recommend?
The EMist electrostatic sprayers can apply any water-soluble chemical. We recommend the use of EPA-registered disinfectant products. A list of EPA registered products that have qualified for use against COVID-19 can be found here. We recommend EPA-approved organic, nontoxic, biodegradable and safe liquid disinfectants. You can find them by clicking here and then typing “hypochlorous” in the search box.
How does the EM360 compare to other electrostatic sprayers?
EMist sprayers can be used with any water-soluble disinfectant, are not corded (tripping hazard), and provide a better, cohesive positive charge on each droplet.
Which safer choice products do you recommend?
We recommend the EPA’s list of products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance. The list can be reviewed here.
What’s the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing?
- Removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
- Kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
- It lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
Has the EPA evaluated electrostatic sprayers?
Yes. EPA studies (EPA-600-R-15-279 and USEPA 2015b) show that compared to traditional sprayer systems, an electrostatic spray technology is more efficient, reduces waste, and delivers a more uniform distribution of liquids over uneven surfaces.
How does using an EMist sprayer save on labor costs as compared to “wipe-and-go” disinfecting method?
EMist is a better way to apply disinfectants. Better, faster, and less cost. Using the system decreases the amount of labor and chemical by up to 50%. The system allows the chemistry to achieve proper contact time for maximum kill claims stated by the EPA registered chemical. The current “wipe-and-go” disinfecting method introduces human error with the potential of missing high/low touch surfaces, minimizing kill claims by chemicals with reduced, inconsistent contact times and introducing the potential for cross-contamination by touching every surface. It also has the potential to expose workers to surface pathogens due to touching surfaces.
How does EMist compare to other surface disinfection systems?
Those involved in the prevention and control of preventable infections require a balanced approach to cost and quality to improve outcomes. Existing disinfection methods including wipes, spray and wipe, fogging, and UV lighting are ineffective or expensive. As environmental surface contamination and healthcare-acquired infections have become more defined, EMist sprayers present an effective, approved, and cost-effective alternative to applying disinfectants.
What is the EMist sprayer droplet size?
EMist sprayers use a very specialized and precise spray tip. The tip produces an average droplet size or variable mean diameter of 85 microns (range of 54 microns to as large as 120 microns). With a VMD of 85 microns there is much less “drift”, better surface coverage, improved surface dwell time, and the least possible suspension of liquids.
Is the EMist System a fogger? Sprayer? Mister?
Per the EPA, with a volume median diameter (VMD) of 75 µm, the EMist systems are considered sprayers. In EPA’s ‘Standard Operating Procedures for Residential Pesticide Exposure Assessment’ (2012) foggers are defined as having a droplet size of 15 – 60 µm. An electrostatic sprayer that has a droplet size of ≥40 µm volume median diameter would not be considered a fogger.
Cordless vs. corded: Cutting the cord
Just as is true in most industries, there are pros and cons between using a cordless or corded electrostatic sprayer. A corded electrostatic sprayer restricts mobility and keeps you tethered to a wall outlet and because there are electrical cords involved, they create a tripping hazard. As well, most corded electrostatic sprayers recommend the use of a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) power outlet. On the other hand, a cordless electrostatic sprayer is not tethered to a wall outlet for power. That means you can take the electrostatic sprayer to where the work needs to be done rather than relying on wall outlets at the work site. Since the electrostatic sprayer has no cord, a cordless sprayer offers greater flexibility and portability. When spraying big projects, multi-story buildings, tight spaces, a cordless sprayer allows you to maneuver and move about freely without the hazard of tripping or tangling a cord. Portability is a clear advantage for any user that needs to move about frequently. Additionally, nearly every power tool on the market today comes with a lithium ion battery. These batteries are capable of holding a lot of power that doesn’t diminish over time if the sprayer is not in use. Corded electrostatic sprayers are no match to cordless electrostatic sprayers when it comes to maneuverability and convenience. EMist cordless electrostatic sprayers will last a long time before their power starts to diminish.
Most surface areas are neutral (uncharged) or negative. Electrostatic application for surface disinfection is a method of applying EPA-registered disinfectants to a target surface area by utilizing the electrostatic force of attraction. Simply put, the electrostatic system places an electrical charge on the droplets and disperses them across a target surface area, providing a comprehensive, even coverage. This provides a consistent and uniform coverage in which the droplets adhere to vertical, horizontal and three-dimensional surfaces. As proven in the agriculture and automotive industries, this electrostatic application process takes less time to achieve the desired effect, while substantially reducing chemical costs. (Laryea and No, 2004 and 2005; Matthews, 1992)
How long do germs stay on surfaces?
SARS-CoV-2 can remain on surfaces for hours and up to 9 days. Research has shown that microorganisms can survive on surfaces for days, weeks, and even months, and can be hidden from current spray and wipe methods. (Kramer, 2006) Using electrostatic technology provides effective, proven, safe and comprehensive surface coverage and eliminates cross-contamination of dangerous pathogens.
Does electrostatically applied disinfectant perform better?
In both third-party testing and real-world settings, clinical studies have shown electrostatic application methodology can provide efficacy and significant improvements within environmental services terminal cleaning procedures. In the American Journal of Infection Control, a study for decontaminating the operating room environment was presented. It was found that using persistent technology with a quaternary ammonium and trichloromelamine solution using a 40-micron electrostatic applicator will significantly reduce colony-forming units (CFUs) remaining after standard terminal cleaning (Sutton, 2015). A study performed in the laboratory setting with an 85-micron electrostatic applicator utilizing a hydrogen peroxide and sliver based product for efficacy against S. Aureus, P. Aeruginosa, MRSA, and C. Difficile showed an average of 99.999% reduction of vegetative bacteria (S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, and MRSA) and an average 99% reduction of spore-forming bacteria (C. difficile) as labeled on the product for surfaces (Ebron, 2014). Other healthcare system studies have shown a significant decrease in hospital re-admission rates, turnaround times for patient discharge/transfer rooms, chemical consumption, and in labor. (Blake G. and Whiteley, B., 2015)
Which disinfectants can be used with EMist?
Any water-soluble chemical can be used in the EMist electrostatic sprayers. However, we prefer “safe and green” disinfectants. Obviously, a perfect disinfectant would offer complete and full microbiological sterilization, without harming people/animals, would be inexpensive, and noncorrosive. However, most disinfectants are potentially harmful and even toxic to humans/animals. One such solution is Hypochlorous acid (HOCl). HOCL works very well against pathogens like Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus and Pseudomonas Aeroginosa. Though very powerful, HOCL is 100 percent safe for humans, chemical-free, non-toxic and all-natural. It has been used in the medical field for over a century. Before antibiotics were available, HOCL was used to irrigate and disinfect wounds in World War I. Today, it is used in everyday settings such as daycare centers, hospitals, and even produce sections in grocery stores.
Which disinfectants do you recommend for COVID-19?
We recommend the EPA’s list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19. The list can be reviewed here.
How often should I clean and disinfect surfaces?
- Follow the CDC’s standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often.
- Immediately clean surfaces and objects that are visibly soiled. If surfaces or objects are soiled with body fluids or blood, use gloves and other standard precautions to avoid coming into contact with the fluid. Remove the spill, and then clean and disinfect the surface.