New!

| Most Popular Article Of The Week:

Search

Sanitation and Disinfection Technologies Evolve to Respond to Post-Pandemic Life and Growing Environmental Concerns

Photo: Shutterstock

Nothing has shone a brighter light on sanitation than the recent COVID-19 pandemic. It not only exposed how vulnerable we all are to the environments we frequent but also the importance of proper disinfection practices in public spaces. Although we’ve since learned that COVID-19 is spread primarily through respiratory droplets in the air and not through contact with surfaces, all industries are rethinking sanitation and the solutions available to fight pathogens, both in the air and on the surfaces we come in contact with everyday. Here are just some of the products and technologies leading the way.  

Solution-Based Disinfectants and Sanitizers

When it comes to disinfectants, liquid-based solutions are often our first line of defense. In recent years, environmental concerns have come to play an increasingly important role in the development of disinfectants, as most wellness-minded people aren’t interested in formulas that do more harm than good. Ecodioxide, tablet-based disinfectants and cleaners, help people save money, space, and time.

The products rely on chlorine dioxide, an oxidizing biocide that kills bacteria, microorganisms, viruses, and more. Unlike non-oxidizing biocides, it also kills dormant microorganisms and can be used at a lower concentration. Chlorine dioxide, which is often used to disinfect water, is especially effective because bacteria can’t develop a resistance to it. It’s also eco-friendly and breaks down to sodium chloride and water. It doesn’t form toxic and carcinogenic chlorination byproducts or produce a build-up of toxic by-products, such as bromates.

According to Brian Paris, owner of Ecodioxide, the line is not only effective but also less costly than other brands due to the fact that the tablets are combined with your own water, which means you don’t have to pay to ship a product that is 98 percent water. The tablets also eliminate waste by allowing you to make as much or little as you want. “This is important, as all disinfectants have a shelf-life from the day they are put in the bottle—usually 30 to 60 days from the date of manufacturing,” says Paris. And rather than storing 10 or 20 gallons of product, the tablets provide an advantage when it comes to storage space.

Featuring a variety of EPA-registered products, Ecodixoide features disinfecting tablets, wipes, and more. “The product can be used as both a surface disinfectant and an equipment and utensils disinfectant,” says Paris. With packaging made from recycled and compostable content, the line also includes reusable bottles and pouches to cut down on waste with refill options.

Virox Technologies, a research-driven company, manufactures branded and private-label products. It also partners with market leaders in various industries. The company’s Rejuvenate Disinfectants, available in wipes, ready-to-use sprays, and concentrates, rely on Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP), a stable disinfecting solution with enhanced germicidal activity that is safe for users and animals. Disinfecting against a broad spectrum of pathogens, the company’s active ingredient breaks down into water and oxygen for little to no environmental impact. 

What makes these hospital-grade disinfectants stand out is the fact that they have a contact time of as short as one minute, whereas most disinfectants feature contact times of up to 10 minutes. The formulations are also gentle and non-irritating to eyes and skin, and they are eco-friendly and break down into water and oxygen.

According to Selena Gagnon, senior manager of product and technical marketing, and Matthew Buccioni, infection prevention and biosecurity specialist at Virox Technologies, choosing the right disinfectant comes down to asking the following questions:

  • Is the product an EPA-registered hospital-grade disinfectant?  In the U.S., the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating disinfectants and making sure their claims are backed by real science. If the product doesn’t have an EPA registration number on its label, this might be a red flag that it isn’t registered and will not be compliant with federal and state guidelines.
  • Is the product safe and effective? Choosing an EPA-registered, EPA hospital-grade disinfectant will give you confidence that your product is strong enough to meet healthcare standards. However, this should never come at the expense of safety to your clients or your team. The product you select should be non-irritating to the eyes and skin and not be associated with any other negative health effects. Read the product’s label and safety data sheet to understand the product’s safety profile. Ideally, it will not have any hazard pictograms or statements at in-use concentrations.
  • What is the product’s contact time? All disinfectants kill germs, but none of them do it instantly. In fact, contact times can vary. All disinfectants have what is known as a contact time, which is the length of time that the surface needs to stay wet for the disinfectant to be effective. If a product has a long contact time, it may add significant time between appointments and is more likely that the surface will dry before the contact time is reached, thus making it necessary to reapply the disinfectant to prevent infection.
  • Is it easy to use? If not, your team may be less inclined to use it.
  • What is the best type of disinfectant for your space? For instance, for smaller surfaces that you need to disinfect quickly between clients, you may want to choose a disinfectant in the form of a pre-moistened wipe that is pre-saturated with the right amount of liquid, or a ready-to-use liquid spray. For larger surfaces, a dilutable concentrate may provide an economical solution to reduce the amount of product needed.

Clean Republic also delivers smarter and healthier cleaning solutions through its line of cleaning products and disinfectants. Relying on a proprietary hypochlorous acid (HOCI) formulation, the products clean, sanitize, and disinfect a range of surfaces without harsh chemicals and toxic fumes. The infection-fighting compound is found naturally in human white blood cells. It works by breaking down the cells that are creating an infection by destroying the cell membrane and its DNA.

According to the EPA and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), when used according to the directions, its proprietary hypochlorous acid disinfectant formulation is registered for use against drug-resistant bacteria including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

Gas-Based Sanitation Technology

Scandia Manufacturing, exclusive maker of the Powerzone O3 Sterilizer Series, and the largest U.S. manufacturer of saunas and steam products, is well acquainted with the dangerous ecology that exists in many facilities. Commercial steam rooms, which are typically warmed to 115 degrees, can become breeding grounds without proper sanitation for mold, bacteria, and viruses.

Rather than continue to rely on toxic chemicals, Scandia developed the Powerzone product line to sterilize steam rooms. Today, it offers a host of products using the technology, which uses O3 gas, also known as ozone, to destroy micro-organisms. The sterilization system is clinically proven to kill 99.9 percent of viruses, bacteria, and mold. Basically, it manipulates oxygen molecules (O2) to create an O3 molecule, which is an unstable version of the oxygen molecule. It destroys micro-organisms on contact. Once the Powerzone is turned off, the O3 turns back into O2 within 10 to 15 minutes. 

Light-Based Sanitation Tools

Fred Maxik, founder and chief scientific officer of Healthe Inc., a developer and manufacturer of groundbreaking circadian LED bulbs and lighting systems, is a biophysicist and former NASA scientist who helped bring circadian lighting to the U.S. Space Station. With more than 25 years of experience designing environmentally friendly technologies, he is now turning his attention to sanitation and designing tools using far UVC lighting to kill airborne pathogens and help combat COVID-19 in indoor spaces.

While most people understand that ultraviolet (UV) light can be hazardous to our skin and health, far UVC-222 is highly effective at inactivating pathogens within indoor spaces, such as elevators, treatment rooms, and more. “The technology, far UVC-222 provides real-time mitigation in occupied spaces, protecting high-traffic and high-touch areas,” says Maxik. Some solutions for indoor spaces include the Healthe Wand Pro, the Healthe Cleanse, Healthe Air, Healthe Space, and Healthe Entry. Ideal for use in schools, residential and senior-living communities, restaurants, hotels, spas, fitness centers, and offices, these light-based sanitizing tools provide another option in the fight against airborne pathogens, such as COVID-19.

This light-based technology offers several benefits, one of which is that it needn’t be manned by people. “Think of how spa, gym, bank, or restaurant employees wipe down surfaces after every client—think of what they’re breathing in each hour,” says Maxik. “Think of the effect on their hands and respiratory passageways. Or what if they miss a shift? How contaminated can an area become?” With Far UVC technology, the light is plugged in and doesn’t require an employee to continuously clean the area. “And while there are a few natural and earth-friendly surface cleansers, most people are still using chemical-laden solutions that aren’t good for people or the planet,” says Maxik.  

As for future innovations, Healthe is focused on finding better solutions for businesses and homes. Earlier this year, it partnered with Crosby Innovations to license a new UVC-222 cleaning technology for hands and gloves. According to Maxik, it could be a game-changer in verticals such as healthcare and food preparation, where people need to wear gloves and have continuously clean hands. The new product, Healthe Hands, would eliminate the need to dispose of gloves after each use. It is slated for an official launch in Q4.

Air-Filtration Systems

While air filtration systems have been around for some time, they’re certainly gaining in popularity due to the pandemic. Designed specifically for the unique air quality challenges of enclosed home and work spaces, the DefenderPRO Air Beautification System by Skin Authority is the first-of-its-kind portable FDA-registered Class II Medical Device. Its filtration eliminates 99.99 percent of ultra-fine toxic particles at .1 microns, which are predominant in the air.

Ideal for a spa setting, it eliminates cleaning chemicals, fragrances, oils, smoke, bacteria, fungus, viruses, and more. It also reduces the risk of pollution-related skin conditions such as contact dermatitis, acne, and eczema.

You can also minimize risk wherever you go in this COVID-19 world with the AirKAVE Portable, an antiviral handheld, battery-powered air sanitizer. Using patented filterless Plascide plasma technology, airKAVE is designed to destroy microorganisms at the molecular level. Air is pulled into airKAVE’s internal Plascide reactor, creating a thunderstorm of micro-lightning plasma that sanitizes air within a fraction of a second. An ideal asset for travelers who take their health seriously, airKAVE’s sleek and innovative design makes it ideal for enclosed spaces, such as a car, an office, or a plane.

For more on staying safe from germs, check out 10 Totally Tempting Natural Sanitizers.

About The Author
Heather-Mikesell-author-1

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent, abcnews.com, jetsetter.com, outside.com, and wellandgood.com, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.