While surface knowledge is superficial understanding lacking depth, surface knowledge in disinfection has two opposite meanings or levels:
1. Level One – A limited grasp of how to disinfect, and,
2. Level Two – Awareness of sound methods, and how surfaces affect disinfection.
The information needed to move beyond Level One leads to the comprehension and effectiveness attained at Level Two.
Level One (L1) – Limited Knowledge
L1 is characterized by the use of EPA-Registered chemical disinfectants that are performance-tested on hard, non-porous, horizontal surfaces, with pre-cleaning to remove gross soil, and 2-10 minutes of contact time.
L1 typically involves a spray-and-wipe procedure in which the disinfectant is applied to the surface, then wiped after a few seconds of contact rather than allowing adequate dwell time.
Using the same cloth for several passes also cross-contaminates surrounding areas (Ref 1, 2).
L1 provides the surface appearance of disinfecting, but since it’s based on limited knowledge and false assumptions, it fails more often than it succeeds. Per a 2013 study published by the American Journal of Infection Control: “The testing and label claims of disinfectants to wipe high-touch environmental surfaces rarely reflect their field use where contact times are in seconds with only microliters of the disinfectant deposited on a unit surface area…”
It continues. “…the label claims of disinfectants for wiping of high-touch environmental surfaces are not tenable either on scientific or practical grounds. Such claims are based on unrealistically long contact times, absence of [proper] wiping action, and testing against a limited number of relatively disinfectant-sensitive nosocomial pathogens. This situation continues to generate a false sense of security…” (Ref 3).
Vertical surfaces are especially irksome to the L1 approach as gravity makes chemical solutions run off the surface further reducing dwell.
EPA-Registered chemicals are also not tested on porous surfaces, such as unfinished ceramic tile.
L1 represents surface knowledge in the traditional sense, producing disappointing if not dangerous outcomes to public health; both in limited effectiveness in killing pathogens, and human exposure to germicide chemicals.
Level Two (L2) – Sound Methods, Surface Mastery
L2 by contrast, is characterized by methods such as the use of TANCS® dry steam vapor (DSV) technology as it corrects the problems endemic to L1 and surpasses traditional process in versatility and performance:
1. TANCS uses just tap water with zero petro-chemicals to produce hot, low-moisture, controlled steam applied with insulated tools to remove soil and kill germs on contact using moist heat as the functional agent, and without exposing people to disinfecting chemicals.
2. TANCS is effective in seconds of contact, not minutes, as tested on porous – not just smooth – surfaces (e.g., ceramic tile), per independent and peer-reviewed research (Ref 4).
3. TANCS DSV continually disinfects the applicator during use preventing cross-contamination.
4. TANCS DSV, applied under gentle pressure (50-60 psi), works equally well in vertical and horizontal applications.
5. TANCS penetrates surfaces and is effective on fabrics, carpet and textiles, as well as smooth and porous hard surfaces.
6. TANCS destroys bacteria, viruses, molds, dust mites, and bed bugs, on a wide range of surfaces, substrates, and materials. TANCS DSV enables sound methods of disinfection in diverse applications; meeting the hygienic challenge in a variety of settings while reducing chemical exposures.
It’s the next level of “surface knowledge”, reflecting a deep understanding and mastery of disinfection performance on non-porous, porous, horizontal and vertical materials.
1. Spread of bacteria on surfaces when cleaning with microfiber cloths, Journal of Hospital Infection, 2009.
2. Microbial Contamination of Hospital Reusable Cleaning Towels, American Journal of Infection Control, 2013.
3. The crucial role of wiping in decontamination of high-touch environmental surfaces: Review of current status and directions for the future, American Journal of Infection Control, 2013.
4. Scientific Reports, Advanced Vapor Technologies, retrieved June 4, 2018.