The first issue is which disinfectant you are using. Has it been proven to work against the pathogen or pathogens you are trying to kill. Some work better as “knock down” agents, peroxides would be in that category. Other chemistries work better as surface disinfectants, Quats and SiQuats would be in that category. This is not to say that either peroxides or Quats only work in the way suggested, it’s just what they are best at.
After fogging with most chemicals, rooms will generally take varying amounts of time to dry. This is more of an operational issue than an issue with the choice of disinfectant. An operating room can be left empty for many hours at night or over a weekend to dry, and ICU or A+E bay takes a lot more thought and can cause a great deal of operational problems for the units they are in, and takes a lot more thought to get right.
In some cases a simple electro static sprayer is more controllable for the A+E/ ICU type environment and can take a lot less time to dry. As these sprayers are more controllable than a fog, they can also potentially reduce the collateral risk to staff and patients. Most electrostatic sprayers are negatively charged, therefore if you use a chemical with a positive charge it will probably reduce its charge and potentially its antimicrobial efficacy. It is therefore, worth checking first or you may waste a lot of time, effort and money on a disinfectant that you neutralise before it leaves the nozzle.
In respect to the current situation with COVID-19 – I will repeat my earlier message to you all. Unless you are using a disinfectant that has been proven directly against COVID19, you are only guessing that it will work whatever method of application you use and you should consider those surfaces still potentially contaminated.
Physical cleaning is always recommended before disinfection, as it removes soiling, dust lint etc that the chemicals will land on unless removed. There is no way a surgical instrument would be taken out of a body and put into an autoclave without first cleaning it. I have seen no evidence that the same method is not required for surfaces.
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