Foggers vs. electrostatic sprayers: What’s the difference?
The novel coronavirus pandemic has prompted a new focus on cleaning and disinfecting procedures. From air travel to restaurants to schools, businesses and organizations are trying to keep spaces clean and people safe. For many, that means moving away from traditional cleaning procedures and turning to new or revamped disinfecting technology.
You’ve probably heard names like electrostatic sprayer, fogger and automated sprayer floating around quite a bit in conjunction with disinfection. Many people assume these are all names for the same tool, but that’s not quite true. Although foggers and electrostatic sprayers seem similar, the tools were designed for different purposes and provide different outcomes.
One of the major differences between an electrostatic sprayer and a fogger is particle size. According to the EPA, a conventional (or non-electrostatic) sprayer that produces particles between 15 and 60 microns is considered a fogger. In practice, most foggers produce particles in the 10–30-micron range.
By contrast, electrostatic sprayers typically produce particles in the range of 65-85 microns. Sprayers with multiple settings, like Victory Innovations sprayers, may produce particles as small as 40 microns and as large as 160 microns.
The EPA further clarifies that an electrostatic sprayer that produces a droplet size at least 40 microns in diameter is not considered a fogger.
Why are particle sizes important?
For one thing, they affect dwell time. A very small particle will evaporate faster than a larger one. This can pose problems if you’re using a disinfectant that requires a longer dwell time.
Particle size also affects your health. Smaller particles, especially particles smaller than 15 microns, can get into the lungs if inhaled; this creates health risks, especially to those with respiratory issues. That’s why fogging often requires that an area be fully evacuated for anywhere from several hours to multiple days.
When it comes to disinfectants, it’s not just about whether a chemical is compatible with a particular sprayer. You also need to consider whether that chemical is actually approved for the intended purpose.
Because foggers were originally developed for pest control applications, little research has been done on their safety as a disinfection method. The EPA has approved one active chemical to be used with foggers for the purpose of killing the novel coronavirus: hydrogen peroxide.
For electrostatic sprayers, there are currently five EPA-approved active chemicals for the purpose of killing the novel coronavirus: Sodium hypochlorite, Dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid, Quaternary ammonium, Hydrogen peroxide and Hypochlorous acid.
As a pest control method, foggers are a good solution: the fine mist is ideal for penetrating small, hard-to-reach areas throughout an entire building. But when it comes to surface disinfection, those small particles don’t provide a complete or even coverage. They tend to clump or remain suspended in the air, which leaves you vulnerable to live viruses.
When you use an electrostatic sprayer, the positively charged particles are actually attracted to hard, non-porous surfaces and repel each other. This means perfectly even chemical coverage that fully disinfects surfaces and keeps everyone safer.
To learn more about Victory Innovations electrostatic sprayers, request a live demo.