Raising the bar on hygiene with dry steam vapour

9th of June 2021
Raising the bar on hygiene with dry steam vapour

When cleaning to achieve a sanitised, safe environment it is vitally important to understand the difference between disinfection and decontamination. Thomas Stücken at OspreyDeepclean explains how dry steam vapour technology can play a valuable role in creating a safe and clean environment – free from infection risk.

As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be felt the globe, the face of environmental hygiene needs to change, and we must adapt fast. We need to put standard cleaning practices under the microscope and raise the bar on what’s considered ‘standard practice’. When cleaning to achieve a sanitised, safe environment, understanding the difference between disinfection and decontamination is paramount, and how you can use Dry Steam Vapour (DSV) cleaning to tackle COVID-19 is useful in achieving this.

Let’s look at how COVID-19 can be transmitted, the different techniques to disinfect and decontaminate, as well as the role deep cleaning with Dry Steam Vapour technology plays.
One of the main vectors of COVID-19 transmission is when infected people cough or exhale and droplets land on surfaces and objects. Humans naturally rub their eyes, nose and touch their face and the consequences for touching infected surfaces increases the risk.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released ‘Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 guidelines’, which recommends good hygiene practices are adhered to and states that one of the most effective ways to reduce transmission is washing hands with soap and water regularly to try and reduce the depositing of harmful microbes on touchpoints. While sound advice, it doesn’t go far enough to create a safe and clean environment. We must take a similar approach to disinfection and decontamination of frequently touched surfaces to reduce the risk of repeated cross-contamination from surfaces to hands.

Maintaining a high level of environmental hygiene in your workplace is one of the best defences against infections from spreading. This includes deep cleaning, disinfection and decontamination.
There are four main physical and chemical means of disinfection and decontamination: (1) heat; (2) liquid disinfection; (3) vapourisation/fogging; and (4) radiation.

1. Heat/steam cleaning: although potentially paradoxical because of the use of water, the small levels of water used is super-heated to the point that the steam generated is ‘dry’ (moisture levels less than five per cent).

Steam cleaning is one of the most trusted and convenient means of safely removing pathogens and destroying bacteria and viruses. It can be used with or without chemicals or detergents for an eco-friendly clean. Is easy and quick to set up and can be utilised inside or outside, across all manners of surfaces, and as it ‘dry’ steam it can even be used on electricals.

Safe environments

2. Liquid disinfection: is your typical spray bottle filled with halogens - acids, alkalis, alcohol, halogens and chemical compounds. This has varying degrees of effectiveness, which hinge on the application, concentration, contact time and the biofilm they are looking to destroy, and how the liquid waste is disposed of.

3. Vapourisation/fogging: the same basic principle as steam sterilisation, but decontamination is achieved by using chemicals to kill microbes - differing from steam which lifts the microbes ready for physical removal. It can create safer environments for cleaning operatives within 10 minutes, but it should be coupled with physical deep cleaning.

4. Radiation: there are two core sub-categories here:

• Ionizing radiation- is not a practical way of decontamination. It will destroy micro-organisms but it could destroy the health of cleaning operatives too!

• Non-ionizing radiation- such as UV is effective in destroying microorganisms in the air, water and on surfaces, however, that is dependent on whether or not the organisms are directly exposed to the UV light. If the organisms are shadowed or under dirt or dust they will be shielded, greatly limiting UV’s effectiveness. Deep cleans should be undertaken before UV decontamination takes place.

Good cleaning practices are the essential foundations for successful disinfection and decontamination. During the pandemic, it became evident that a greater focus on interval cleaning of hand surface contact areas were required for disinfection and decontamination to work.

Cleaning is the act of removing unwanted material from a surface or area. These unwanted materials, be they dirt, dust and/or grime, can harbour harmful microbes. It is therefore vital to clean before engaging in any sort of disinfection or decontamination.

Disinfection is the process of eliminating up to 99.999 per cent of all known pathogenic (disease producing) micro-organisms that latch onto bacterial biofilm that parades as grime, dirt, dust and other organic matter, typically with the help of chemical disinfectants.

Biofilms are communities of pathogens that live together and thrive under the protection of a sticky glue-like layer and are the leading cause of infections in hospitals.

Hospitals are among the most cleaned environments in the world, as patients are vulnerable, sick and high-risk. When a virus-like SARS CoV-2 latches onto biofilm in an unsterilised environment, you have a recipe for disaster. Now more than ever it’s imperative that you comprehensively disinfect areas as often as possible to reduce the risk of infection.

You can effectively disinfect surfaces and objects with the help of chemical disinfectants, but you need to be careful to choose the right products.

Decontamination eradicates all microbial contamination from materials, ensuring complete safety when you touch surfaces and objects. It plays an instrumental role in establishing a safe space for workers, customers and family members. Once you’ve destroyed the remnants of dangerous substances, like bacteria and viruses, you can be confident that you’re safe from the possible transmission of infections.

As public spaces start to open up it is just as important as ever to prepare and take precautionary measures. Reaching the highest possible level of environmental hygiene is paramount to ensuring safety.

Dry steam is unique in offering an all-in-one product solution in the battle against bacteria and viruses. It achieves excellent cleaning, disinfection and decontamination results via thermal and mechanical action of surface penetration and extraction to safely remove contaminants.

The SARS CoV-2 virus is enveloped by a fatty outer layer that’s susceptible to detergent and steam vapour. It penetrates common surfaces that are porous – like unvarnished wood — and/or have non-smooth, textured and rough surfaces that harbour and hide biofilm and soil. Where manual cleaning isn’t possible, the Dry Steam Vapour reaches those areas and delivers a hygienic environment.

Scientific studies by OspreyDeepclean, UCLH (University College London Hospitals) and TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), focusing on the efficacy and removal of all biofilms and microbiological decontamination, demonstrated that Dry Steam Vapour performed equal to, or better than, conventional disinfection practices, achieving 4-6 log reduction.

Dry Steam technology with steam fogging attachments use three of the four main ways to decontaminate:

1. Heat: steam machines super-heat water to generate dry steam, which easily saturates soiling on all manner of surfaces, to lift any biofilm that may act as insulation, which can then easily be wiped away.

2. Liquid disinfectant: as the dry steam saturates soiling, it is loosened from the surface, either with the use of a HEPA level vacuum cleaner or with a microfibre cloth the liquid waste can safely be removed

3. Vapourisation/fogging: the super-heated steam propels a disinfectant solution as a vapour onto surfaces, killing microbes quickly.



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