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Contributed By Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services

The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 demanded something new and different from the commercial cleaning industry. Technology helped to save the day.

Many professional commercial cleaners quickly stepped up to offer electrostatic disinfection treatments using the hospital-grade disinfectants listed by the Centers for Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) as effective against COVID-19. In the last year, electrostatic spray cleaning has become a high-demand service as businesses around the nation and the world looked for ways to help office workers feel safe at work.

Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services Founder and CEO Todd Hopkins says he expects the events of the last year and the increase in prominence of cleaning and disinfecting to positively affect the industry going forward. 

“I don’t think that we will ever see cleaning return to being an invisible, behind-the-scenes activity,” Hopkins says. “People understand the importance of cleaning, and they want it to be a visible part of the workplace.”

The last year has brought intense scrutiny on cleaning in public places and businesses and a strong interest in electrostatic sprayers – to the point that sprayers were backordered for up to six months at one point.

Kevin Scott, the owner/operator of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services of Rancho Cucamonga-San Bernardino in California, came from a tech background. When the pandemic began, Scott immediately realized the value of electrostatic sprayers, and he ordered a dozen for his team. The investment was worth it; some of his customers now receive electrostatic disinfection services daily.

“The electrostatic sprayers have helped us serve our customers better and attract new business,” he says. “The need for disinfection isn’t going away. Even after COVID-19 ceases to be such an issue, we will continue to position ourselves to spray on an ongoing basis.”

Electrostatic sprayers and misters are state-of-the-art tools that enable technicians to quickly and efficiently sanitize surfaces by evenly and consistently applying an electrostatically charged mist of commercial-grade disinfectant. It’s ideal for an office setting because it allows application on even the hardest-to-reach spots and is safe to use near electronic equipment.

Additionally, cleaners do not have to wipe down surfaces after electrostatic application, which not only makes the process more efficient but also allows disinfectant to remain on a surface for the required dwell time. Dwell time is how long a disinfectant must remain on a surface to kill germs.

Although it’s only recently become a fixture in the cleaning industry, electrostatic technology was developed more than 80 years ago. The first electrostatic sprayer was patented in 1941 by American inventor Harold Ransburg and was designed for industrial painting. The auto industry quickly adopted the technique to paint cars and trucks more quickly. In the 1980s, agriculture companies used electrostatic spraying to apply pesticides to crops.

“The sprayer gets all the attention, but it’s really just a delivery mechanism for a chemical,” says Scott McClymonds, owner of Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services of Fayetteville-Bentonville in Arkansas. “What’s most important is the chemical that you put down. Getting the chemistry right and determining the necessary dilution are important because you have to mix it depending on what you’re treating for, whether it’s COVID-19, flu or something else.”

McClymonds notes that disinfection services should be performed in conjunction with traditional cleaning methods, but people don’t always understand that. 

“The surfaces have to be cleaned and prepped before spraying disinfectant to maximize effectiveness," says McClymonds. "There are many companies that just spray and collect $250 without doing any wiping down or cleaning surfaces. The dirt on those surfaces is a breeding ground for germs and viruses, so people who skip that step are minimizing the effectiveness of the spray.” 

Some business owners are being misled by claims that a single electrostatic treatment will “protect” surfaces for 90 days, McClymonds says. 

“If I walked into a business with COVID-19, and I cough and sneeze on a surface there, are they saying that surface won’t be contaminated? I don’t think so," he says. "If the droplets are on the surface, there is nothing to prevent the next person who touches that surface from picking up those germs.”