Disinfecting Large Areas to Protect Against COVID-19

Issue Date



Surface disinfection remains key to preventing the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Businesses are seeking new ways to protect and reassure their visitors, customers, and employees as they begin to reopen. Disinfecting floors and other large areas can be critical to these objectives, especially in settings such as schools, sports facilities, retail, and hospitality where touching such surfaces is more likely. The challenge for building care and cleaning teams is that the processes used for general surfaces and small items do not always scale up easily. They need simple ways to incorporate wide area disinfection into their everyday tasks and enhance existing processes.

The SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 spreads from person to person by direct contact, touching contaminated surfaces, and through breathing in airborne droplets produced when infected people cough, sneeze, or breathe. Stopping any of these pathways will break the chain of infection which is why surface disinfection has been a key part of the fight against COVID-19. 

Cleaning teams have adapted and enhanced their routine processes, where necessary, to incorporate disinfection. This has typically involved using more disinfectants with proven capabilities against COVID-19, specifically products that meet the EN14476 virucidal standard. Switching to products that offer protection against a broader range of pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2, and can be used on multiple surfaces has helped simplify surface disinfection processes. 

Using disinfectants with spray bottles and cloths – or as single-use wipes - is ideal for many cleaning applications. But this does not scale up efficiently or economically when dealing with larger areas or when disinfecting a whole room. A different approach is required.

Backpack sprayers offer an excellent way to disinfect large areas quickly and efficiently. The equipment is worn on the back, like a rucksack, which makes it easier to carry sufficient disinfectant to treat a relatively large area between refills, saving time and improving productivity. Disinfectant is dispensed through a spraying nozzle on the end of a wand or arm connected to the main equipment by flexible hose. This makes is easy to disinfect hard-to-reach surfaces and places where it is difficult to use traditional tools. 

In fact, backpack sprayers offer many practical benefits. Because the container is worn rather than carried it is more ergonomic and convenient for the operator. Removing the need to carry the container allows an operator to use their hands for other tasks. The container is always above ground level which makes it easier for the operator to move quickly and easily in and around items on the floor such as furniture, fittings, and equipment. And because the container is always off the ground the possibility of cross-contamination when moving from one area to the next is reduced.

Basic backpack sprayers sometimes require the operator to use a hand pump to force disinfectant from the container to the spray nozzle. This can be tiring and inconvenient and can lead to inconsistent spraying which can be wasteful and might mean surfaces are not disinfected properly. Modern equipment such as the TASKI Backpack Sprayer utilises battery power to drive an electric pump to deliver a consistent spray with no wastage. Battery power also removes any need for a trailing power cable. This makes the sprayer much easier to use, especially when working in and around obstructions, and eliminates a potential trip hazard. Users can go anywhere at any time.

Spraying should always be undertaken safely and when there is no risk of any aerosols produced spreading to other areas or affecting a building’s occupants. It is also important to understand that disinfection with a backpack sprayer is only effective if soiling is removed from the surface. A simple way to do this is by using a combined cleaner-disinfectant that completes both processes in a single step. Treated surfaces are then wiped down and left to air-dry for the best results.

Although backpack sprayers offer versatility and flexibility there are occasions when there are even better options. With large floors, for example, the priority is likely to be to disinfect quickly and with little or no wasted time or product. A ride-on scrubber drier can present an ideal solution in these circumstances.

Scrubber driers are designed for efficiency and can be used with a wide range of floorcare products. Mounting a separate sprayer onto the machine enables it to disinfect any type of floor using any disinfectant with few limitations. Using a separate sprayer also provides operators with complete flexibility to undertake floor cleaning and disinfection in combination or as separate tasks. When completed together, each section of floor is cleaned and disinfected in a single pass of the machine to maximise efficiency, productivity, and cost savings.

The new TASKI IntelliSpray unit can be installed on new ride-on machines or retrofitted to existing models. The sprayer applies an appropriate and consistent amount of disinfectant to the floor, constantly matching the flow to the speed of the machine, with no wastage. Efficiency is further boosted because ride-on scrubber driers cover large areas quickly. An experienced operator will complete a floor with minimal overlap between passes which not only reduces the time taken but eliminates wastage caused by going over the same spots twice. 

The unit incorporates an integrated hand spray tool so that users can manually disinfect hard-to-reach spaces and surfaces with control and precision. It is ideal for disinfecting surfaces surrounding the working area such as furniture, fixtures, and fittings. This effectively converts the scrubber drier into a mobile disinfection platform.

The latest scrubber driers in TASKI’s range can be supplied with onboard monitoring and management tools that combine smart technology, GPS tracking, and web applications. Working together these provide real-time 24/7 visibility of mission-critical information that helps reduce fleet, cleaning and administrative costs by up to 25 per cent. Managers can use this information to optimise machine paths and produce detailed audits of areas that have been disinfected and when tasks were completed.

Using a separate sprayer widens the choice of disinfectants. Products in Diversey’s Oxivir range, for example, contain Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide as the active ingredient and are ideal for disinfecting floors and wide areas. These products meet the EN14476 standard. They are fully virucidal, including against enveloped viruses like the one that causes COVID-19, and effective in just 30 seconds. Oxivir products can be used on most flooring materials without risk of damage. The active ingredient breaks down to water and oxygen shortly after use which helps make formulations containing it safer to use. This also helps to promote sustainability because no potentially harmful chemicals can persist in the environment.

The TASKI IntelliSpray unit incorporates a 20-litre container that enables a machine to disinfect up to 5000m2 between refills. An empty container can be swapped easily for a full one in just a few seconds. The result is more time working and less time preparing. There is no need to mix chemicals in the working area for enhanced efficiency and safety.

Despite the many advantages of using disinfectants there are occasions when operators prefer not to use them. Steam cleaning offers a simple, practical, and sustainable alternative to using chemicals to clean surfaces. This makes it ideal for treating surfaces that are difficult to clean with other tools and larger equipment, including intricate and detailed surfaces such as edges, vertical surfaces and grouting in tiled areas. The TASKI Steam range includes four high-performance models that make it easy to use steam in a wide range of settings.

Building care and cleaning teams are seeking new ways to incorporate efficient wide area disinfection into their operations to provide additional reassurance and protection as businesses reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disinfectant sprayers offer many benefits that support these objectives, and the choice is increasing all the time. As a leading supplier of cleaning and hygiene solutions, Diversey can advise customers on the right combination to meet their objectives.