What you need to know about dwell time.
Infection prevention in any business, school or public facility starts at the surface. To truly disinfect high-touch surfaces and stop the spread of illness-causing viruses and pathogens, it’s essential to adhere to chemical dwell times. Here’s what you need to know about dwell time to help keep people healthy and spaces open in the new normal.
Dwell time defined
Sometimes called “contact time,” “wet time” or “drying time,” dwell time is the amount of time a chosen disinfectant needs to sit wet on a surface to kill a targeted contaminant or pathogen before the chemical dries or gets wiped away.
Dwell times can range from 15 seconds to 15 minutes depending on the disinfectant and germ being targeted. You can learn more about the different grades of chemical disinfectants and pathogens such as coronavirus, influenza and norovirus (stomach flu) in our Redefining the Science of Clean Beginner’s Guide.
A disinfectant’s dwell time can be found on the product label or safety data sheet (SDS) along with other important information, including personal protective equipment required during application. Look for an EPA-registered solution that meets the disinfecting needs of your space.
Why dwell time matters
If dwell time on the disinfectant label is not followed, the chemical may be less effective or cause cross-contamination.
When a disinfectant dries before the required dwell time elapses, targeted germs may survive and remain a potential source of surface transmission. If a disinfectant is wiped away before the specified dwell time, still-living pathogens could be transferred to another surface and persist as an infection threat.
Going beyond the chemical’s dwell time also has drawbacks. Applying too much chemical solution unnecessarily wastes money, extends drying time and delays the reopening of a space. Oversaturation can also lead to damage of delicate surfaces — think marble, granite or wood — and excess residue that leaves an irritant in the environment.
Meeting your chemical’s dwell time ensures that the disinfectant works to its full capabilities while minimizing chemical use and impact on surfaces and the environment.
How to meet dwell times
Electrostatic spraying technology can make it easier to adhere to disinfectant dwell times. For instance, the patented 3-in-1 nozzle on Victory Innovations electrostatic sprayers features three settings to help you match the droplet size of the spray to your disinfectant’s dwell time. (For more on handheld nozzle use, check out our video.)
No two environments or electrostatic sprayer operators are the same, so average dwell times may vary based on humidity, temperature, spray speed and spray distance. For instance, a chemical with a 10-minute dwell time being applied in a dry climate may require two disinfectant applications totaling 10 minutes of wet time to achieve efficacy.
Victory Innovations electrostatic sprayers give you confidence that you are killing the targeted pathogen as fast as you can with the right amount of chemical. Compared to a traditional hand-pump sprayer, Victory Innovations sprayers can help you achieve 70% faster disinfectant application with 65% less chemical — making your space usable as soon as possible while saving you money.