- Why Electrostatic Technology is Making a Splash
Training Tips for Electrostatic Spraying
According to Garcia, electrostatic equipment is easy to use and virtually foolproof. However, there is still room for error, and training is imperative to ensure that the technology is disinfecting properly. Operator safety is also paramount. But, first and foremost, electrostatic disinfection should never displace manual cleaning, say BSCs.
“Electrostatic spraying is still the fastest, most effective and economical way to keep infections at bay,” says Garcia, “but it’s not meant as a replacement for good, daily cleaning, handwashing and touch-point targeted disinfection.”
The staff should be trained in proper cleaning protocols and frequency, as well as necessary disinfecting by hand. Once that is achieved, electrostatic equipment can be used as a secondary disinfecting technique, but only if it’s used properly.
When it comes to selecting the appropriate disinfectant, industry consultant Mike Sawchuk recommends selecting disinfectants that are water-like in viscosity and avoiding disinfectant cleaners as the surfactants can plug up the sprayer tip and affect the unit’s performance.
BSCs should also select disinfectants appropriate for the surface, he says. A product that is too high or low on the pH scale can damage assets, such as floor finishes or metals. Finally, he encourages the use of disinfectants that are deemed safe for spraying, such as products with active ingredients like hypochlorous acid or Sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC), rather than quat-based disinfectants — especially for prolonged use on a daily basis — to ensure optimal health for custodians and facility occupants.
Similarly, personal protective equipment (PPE) and proper training on its use is essential to protect custodians from chemical exposure.
“It may look like it’s simple and there won’t be any problems, but the first time you have to spray above your head or level with your face, the blow-back can affect you,” says Holderman. “We teach custodians to wear the proper PPE and rinse off their skin, face, ears and hands after spraying.”
Proper training and practice is also necessary to ensure that the disinfectant remains on the surface for the appropriate dwell time. If droplet size cannot be adjusted manually, operators may need to adjust their speed as they walk through the area or spray surfaces a second time so that they remain saturated for the appropriate length of time.
“Spraying evenly and effectively to make sure you get enough wetness is not as easy as it looks,” notes Holderman. “We don’t send out anybody to spray if they haven’t had a lot of practice.”
Conversely, custodians should take care not to over-saturate surfaces.
“Sometimes over-spraying or holding the wand in the same place for too long can over-saturate a surface,” notes Garcia. “If that happens, you may need to go back and wipe those areas so as not to leave residue. With proper training and over time, operators will become efficient at using the equipment.”
Cleaning the machine at the end of the shift is equally important to ensure the technology continues to disinfect properly. Holderman trains employees to empty the machine after every use, run water through it and remove the nozzles to prevent the O rings from wearing out — a potential issue if they remain wet. Tubing is also stored in a position that allows any remaining water to drain out. The goal is to keep everything as dry as possible until the next usage, she explains.
As electrostatic equipment becomes ubiquitous, Holderman cautions cleaning companies not to over-invest in the technology up front. Elite Facility Systems has already purchased its third generation of electrostatic sprayers since it first invested in the equipment 4-5 years ago — and the technology keeps getting better.
“This technology is like the Apple-1; we’re on the ground floor,” she says. “It’s going to change drastically and quickly, so my advice is don’t put all your money into it from the get-go.”
Kassandra Kania is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, and is a frequent contributor to Contracting Profits.
Why Electrostatic Technology is Making a Splash