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IRS’s CEO Tom Peter, a Certified Industrial Hygienist, provides insight into COVID-19-related cleaning and disinfection best practices as businesses and public life begins to reopen.

We have summarized the CDC’s best practices in past articles, and have also discussed general cleaning and disinfecting/sanitizing. IRS and its Infection Control Technologies division, however, employ more rigorous best practices when dealing with high-risk decontamination emergencies.

What are best practices?

Let’s start with the definition of “best practice”:

Commercial or professional procedures that are accepted or prescribed as being correct or most effective.

In the case of COVID-19-related cleaning, following best practices is critical to the safety of the inhabitants and the goal of “flattening the curve.” As biohazard remediation experts, IRS has adopted even more specific guidelines for our technicians to employ when facing a COVID-19 affected cleaning and decontamination that align with the American Bio Recovery Association’s Bio Recovery Site Risk Assessment (BSRA) procedures for assessing project risk.

What best practices does IRS follow for COVID-19-related cleaning and disinfection?

Our initial process begins with an evaluation of the area to be addressed. This is largely based on whether the client is requesting a proactive, preventative treatment, or if there was a known or suspected contamination.

For a preventative approach, we will generally recommend a touch-point cleaning and, if desired, a disinfection of surfaces. If there is a known or suspected COVID-19 contamination, we recommend a deep cleaning as well as a full disinfection of the area and its contents.

Cleaning (Clean and Disinfect)

Cleaning entails the removal of dirt, grime and debris on surfaces. Cleaning should be performed before the disinfection process.

For biohazard cleaning, our technicians use a combination of specialized rags and detergents. We use single-use microfiber rags which clean and pick up more dirt. These microfiber rags have fine synthetic fibers that have more surface area and a positive charge which makes them far superior to cotton rags.

Best Practices

For a detergent, we use Fiberlock Shockwave™ RTU. Shockwave™ is a “quat” (Quaternary Ammonium Chloride ) solution designed to clean, deodorize and disinfect at the same time. Quat solutions are common in household and industrial cleaning products and have a proven record for cleaning/disinfecting for bacteria, mold, and viruses.

Shockwave is an EPA-registered (N-List) # 61178-1-73884, approved for human coronavirus. This product is rated as 4-log kill (99.99%) of microorganisms. It’s important to keep the surface wet for “dwell time” for complete disinfection.

Best Practices

Best Practices

Verifying Cleaning with ATP Lumenometer

To ensure the cleaning process is complete, it’s a good idea to check the area with an ATP Lumenometer. This device measures the residual organic matter that may remain after a device or surface has been cleaned. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an enzyme that is present in all organic matter living and non-living, including body fluids and bacteria. This is a qualitative measurement of how clean a surface is. Results are available within seconds.

Best Practices

Intermediate-Level Disinfection

When there is a need for higher-level disinfection, IRS utilizes two additional tools.

BioSpray® D2 is a surface sanitizer and disinfectant. This is an isopropanol and quat solution used primarily as a spray. BioSpray® D2 is ideal for sanitation and disinfection use on a variety of food-contact and non-food contact surfaces. It is ready to use, quick drying and ideal for water sensitive areas, such as electronics (computers and keyboards). This an EPA registered disinfectant and is approved on the EPA N list for use against SARS-CoV-2 (EPA # 73232-1). It is rated as a 5-log kill/deactivation (99.999%) of bacteria in 60 seconds on food contact surfaces. We prefer this product because it is ready to use, it is safe on electronics and safe on food contact surfaces and dries in minutes without rinsing.

Disinfection with BioSpray®D2

Best Practices

Best Practices

Best Practices

High-Level Disinfection

For the highest level of disinfection, IRS utilizes our TOMI™ STERAMIST™ BIT™ (Binary Ionization Technology). This technology was developed in conjunction with the U.S. government in response to anthrax decontamination post 9-11.

STERAMIST™ BIT™ is a patented two-step process that activates and ionizes a 7.8% hydrogen peroxide solution. The fine mist/fog is called Activated Ionized Hydrogen Peroxide (AIHP), creating reactive oxygen species and hydroxyl radicals that deactivate pathogenic organisms through oxidation of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. This leads to cellular disruption and/or dysfunction and allows for a thorough disinfection in targeted areas and large spaces.

This is a very powerful agent to use to kill/deactivate biological contaminants up to a 6-log reduction (99.9999%) and yet it leaves no harmful residual chemicals; it basically breaks down to oxygen and water. The manufacture states that areas can generally be re-occupied in one hour after treatment.

For most of our biohazard contamination projects including COVID-18, IRS uses the STERAMIST™ BIT™. Our teams are able to cover large areas quickly using the best available technology.

Best Practices

Best Practices

Best Practices

Best Practices

Insurance Restoration Specialists, Inc. (IRS) is a premier provider of disaster recovery mitigation, environmental remediation, biohazard emergency response and HVAC inspection and cleaning in the New Jersey-Philadelphia-New York City area. IRS is certified by NADCA and have Certified Air Systems Cleaning Technicians and a Certified Ventilation System Inspector on staff. Services include mold removal,water damage restoration, fire damage restoration, flood damage cleanup, smoke damage remediation, and biohazard remediation.