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Electrostatic Disinfection Spray vs. Fogging

Man Using Electrostatic Disinfection Sprayer

Workplace safety has always been critical; disinfection has never been more critical.

True disinfection of a commercial building requires much more than the occasional use of a few hand wipes throughout the week. In fact, COVID-19 has taught us that commercial spaces of all kinds require some level of disinfection services on a regular basis. While a highly trafficked and more dense facility needs more frequent disinfection services, all buildings require some baseline amount of disinfection. This is especially true as employees return to offices and states end mask mandates; therefore, understanding your disinfection options has never been more important. In this article, we walk through two of the most common spray disinfection methods, electrostatic disinfection spray technology and fogging.

Disinfection Spray Alternatives

At CleanRight, we are fielding more inquiries from facility and office managers who recognize the importance of regular disinfection to minimize the spread of germs and are seeking out effective alternatives. During our conversations, we are often asked about spray technology and hear various terms being used. 

Broadly speaking, spray technology is a comprehensive technique that uses a machine to spread a disinfectant across a large surface area and volume. This differs from physically wiping down surfaces with disinfectant solution.

At first glance, electrostatic disinfection spray technology and fogging seem very similar. Both utilize a mechanism (a spray gun in the case of electrostatic spray or a fogger in the case of fogging) to spread droplets across a space. However, their similarities are outweighed by their differences.

What is Electrostatic Disinfection Spray?

We will start by reviewing electrostatic disinfection spray technology. Regarded as the more thorough method and highly advised by the EPA, this technology provides the most consistent coverage.

Electrostatic sprayers work by applying a positive charge to liquid disinfectants as they pass through the nozzle. These positively charged disinfectant particles are attracted to surfaces and objects, causing the spray to stick to and envelope any object they are aimed at. The reason for this is that most objects maintain a neutral charge, so when positively charged disinfectant particles are sprayed at an object, the negative particles in the neutral object will attract the positively charged disinfectant particles.

Because the particles actively seek out exposed surface regardless of the spray’s direction, this method covers every open surface within the spray area—both those you can see as well as those you cannot—and delivers a much more consistent application than fogging.

It can also be used on a long list of surface areas without damaging electronic or hardware equipment. Electrostatic disinfection spray is fast-acting regardless of your surface area, killing 99.99% of pathogens in five minutes or less. Considering the rapid spread of COVID-19, electrostatic disinfection is certainly one of the most effective ways to keep a commercial space clean and safe.

How Does Fogging Compare?

Whereas electrostatic disinfection excels at covering the surface area, fogging focuses on volume and is effective at disinfecting the air. While the fogging method can also disinfect surface areas, it may result in uneven coverage as it relies heavily on the direction of the spray and will only cover areas where the droplets of solution land.

Fogging also comes with a longer dwell time than electrostatic disinfection. Dwell time, or contact time, is the amount of time necessary for a disinfectant to remain visibly moist on a surface to effectively eliminate germs, bacteria and viruses.

There are two different types of fogging machines—cold foggers and thermal foggers—which are complete opposites. Thermal foggers apply dry fog disinfectant, while cold foggers apply liquid disinfectant in small particles.

Although fogging can be used for surface area disinfection, it does very well when it comes to volumetric decontamination. It’s also safe around electronics and hardware and won’t damage any equipment in the process.

You may have heard of misting. Misting is similar to fogging, except that droplet sizes are slightly larger (estimated around 5-25 microns) vs. around 2-5 microns for fogging. For reference, 1 micron equals one-millionth of a meter, or .00003937 inches. Larger droplets tend to settle faster and not reach all surfaces in a contaminated space.

Which Disinfection Technology is Right for the Job?

This decision depends on several factors including your disinfection objective and your type of commercial space. Fogging is effective in decontaminating the air and can be applied using an automatic stationary device or an operator.

Conversely, electrostatic disinfection spray can be considered an essential component of commercial cleaning, as it fully covers exposed surface areas without missing an inch. Due to the charged particle technology, it’s an excellent choice for hospitals and similar commercial spaces. Given their differences, some customers utilize both disinfection methods to capitalize on each technology’s particular strengths.

The EPA and CDC have communicated the benefits, considerations and differences between electrostatic disinfection spray and fogging technology. Each has its strengths, but if you’re looking for the highest coverage and effectiveness, electrostatic disinfection should be your choice.

For your reference, we have included a summary chart below that lays out the similarities and differences in this article.

Electrostatic Disinfection Spray vs. Fogging - Table 1.1
Electrostatic Disinfection Spray vs. Fogging - Exhibit 1.1

Let CleanRight Can Handle Your Disinfectant Needs

The disinfection technologies described in this article may be used in commercial environments, but the CDC strongly advises that trained professionals handle the job. EPA-registered disinfectants, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and experience with spraying equipment are all critical.

You want to ensure you’re working with a company that has the experience to provide the highest quality disinfection services. CleanRight has deep experience with fogging and electrostatic disinfection methods and will provide thorough insight into which method is right for you. Our team is standing by and ready, so there’s no need to take these risks upon yourself.

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