One of the best ways to keep viruses under control is with proper cleaning and disinfection.

While winter signals the end of the lawn care season, your one-hand pump sprayer is useful for cleaning and disinfection. Before you begin cleaning and disinfecting with your pump sprayer, you’ll need to know a few tips for effective cleaning and disinfection. 

Clean then Disinfect  

Disinfection seems simple. You spray a disinfectant on a surface, wipe it, and you’re done, right? Not so fast.   The process is simple. First, clean any dirt or debris from a surface. Once the surface is clean, you can disinfect it.

A product used to clean is not a disinfectant. Cleaning a surface does not remove any pathogens on the surface. Disinfecting a surface is what kills pathogens. Disinfectants must kill a pathogen in a certain amount of time, and not all disinfectants kill the same pathogens.  For example, only certain disinfectants kill coronaviruses, like COVID-19 or SARS.

Read the Label

The label will give you information about what pathogen the disinfectant targets and how long to leave it on a surface to achieve proper disinfection levels. For example, a disinfectant might require up to 10 minutes of dwell time to kill pathogens on a surface. You need to follow the instructions on how to apply a disinfectant and for how long. The time disinfectant needs to kill a pathogen, dwell time, is critical for effective disinfection.

Choose the Right Equipment

Chances are you use a trigger sprayer for household cleaning, but they aren’t the best choice. Pump sprayers offer better chemical coverage faster and allow for easier chemical mixing. One potential sprayer pitfall is bleach. 

Bleach is a common household disinfectant but can damage sprayer mechanisms over time. Is it even possible to use bleach in a sprayer?  It depends.

You can use bleach in an industrial or bleach sprayer without much worry. Using bleach in a standard garden pump sprayer once or twice won’t damage it immediately if you don’t leave it in the sprayer, but it’s not advisable to use bleach in a standard pump sprayer. You have other options, though.  Besides bleach, most household disinfectants are compatible with a household or garden pump sprayer.  

Disinfect High-touch Surfaces

You don’t need to disinfect every square inch of your house, only high-touch surfaces or surfaces you touch frequently.  Doorknobs, faucets, toilets, light switches are some examples of high-touch surfaces in your home.