When choosing an electrostatic machine, there are generally three types of devices to consider. The first is a cart that can be either rolled into a room and set to automatically spray for a certain amount of time without people in the room, or a cart that is rolled into a room and used with a worker using a spray nozzle on the cart to direct the solution. These carts, although effective, are also the most expensive option. 

An alternative would be a handheld sprayer that can be carried or placed on a cart. Janitors can apply sanitizer and disinfectant solutions after cleaning as the worker goes along. 

Larger than a handheld sprayer is a backpack version that can be strapped on a janitor’s back, just like a backpack vacuum. The janitor then uses the spray nozzle at the end of the hose to spray solutions on touchpoints in a facility. 

What a BSC chooses to use is based on its budget and needs. A small office building may require a couple of handheld sprayers to sanitize and disinfect high touchpoints at night. A K-12 school or larger office campus may need a backpack sprayer, which has a larger solution capacity and easy maneuverability. The cart 

designs can be used in healthcare, event spaces, auditoriums, etc., where there is a lot of square footage to cover and few people available to do the work. 

Many times, there is a need for more than one type of device in a facility due to the use of the facility and the number of people that can use the devices. This will save time overall for a large space. 

For facilities with serious threats of cross-contamination, such as healthcare facilities, electrostatics is a good option because it is not a “line of sight” technology. Line of sight means if the object or surface is not visible, it is not being disinfected. For example, UV machines used in many hospitals are line of sight — meaning if the light doesn’t hit an area then it isn’t disinfecting it. 

Electrostatics, however, isn’t line of sight because of the charged molecules. For example, a janitor can spray under a bed and the solution will wrap around all the coils or rails. With electrostatic machines, the chemical can also get into tight cracks, crevices and areas that traditional cleaning methods can’t reach. 

Disinfecting and sanitizing with electrostatics is not a substitute for cleaning or the removal of soils and germs on a surface. Cleaning is the single most important step to cleaning for public health and in mitigating infectious disease spread. In order to make sure cleaning professionals can get to the pathogens that can make people sick, the soils that can harbor, feed and hide them need to be removed. This will ensure the best and most efficient application of EPA registered sanitizers and disinfectants.

Cleaning for health is about systems. Electrostatic application is one part of a great system, but it needs other parts with it, such as proper cleaning processes, procedures, chemicals and equipment. Electrostatics is not an all-in-one solution. It is just one piece — although an effective one — of an overall puzzle. 

Heidi Wilcox is an applied microbiologist, presenter, educator and trainer in the cleaning industry. She is also the president and founder of Wilcox EVS, a consultancy specializing in “cleaning and disinfecting for health.” She can be reached at heidi@wilcoxevs.com. Learn more at www.Wilcoxevs.com.

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Electrostatic Sprayers Reduce Sickness, Save Time