Why fogging is not recommended for COVID-19

We at DewTouch base our cleaning processes and services on sound research and the latest technology. Our services offered during the COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Due to significant misconceptions out there, and the consequently negative impact this may have on businesses out there, we have decided to share this information with you.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently released interim guidance on the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces in the context of COVID-19. On page 3, the WHO clearly states within their interim guidance that it is NOT RECOMMENDED to use fogging for COVID-19.

In indoor spaces, routine application of disinfectants to environmental surfaces by spraying or fogging (also known as fumigation or misting) is not recommended for COVID19.

WHO (2020)

Fogging is harmful to the health of staff

The WHO continues by stating the reasons for why this is not recommended. Firstly this method is harmful to the health of staff and the workers operating the fogging equipment (if protective gear is not worn), and secondly it is ineffective against COVID-19 as the process of fogging and disinfection does not remove organic material.

Spraying or fogging of certain chemicals, such as formaldehyde, chlorine based agents or quaternary ammonium compounds, is not recommended due to adverse health effects on workers in facilities where these methods have been utilized. Spraying environmental surfaces in both health-care and non-health care settings such as patient households with disinfectants may not be effective in removing organic material and may miss surfaces shielded by objects, folded fabrics or surfaces with intricate designs.

WHO (2020)

What to do instead of fogging

Instead the WHO recommends that a proper sanitation process be followed in that you need to use cloths to wipe the respective surfaces.

If disinfectants are to be applied, this should be done with a cloth or wipe that has been soaked in disinfectant.

WHO (2020)

The environmental health guidelines from the South African Department of Health confirms the recommendation from the WHO that surfaces needs to be wiped and then disinfected and has no prescription or no recommendation for the use of foggers.

Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) must be wiped with disinfectant.

Department of Health (2020)

Where does the idea of fogging come from?

Why then was fogging proposed in the first place and so many cleaning companies offer it as a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic? This got to do with an early hoax or myth that was spread on social media around March 2020. The myth was that COVID-19 is airborne, thus fogging was proposed as a solution. The WHO have cleared the air on this, and Discovery Health republished their research on their website.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks. These droplets are too heavy to hang in the air. They quickly fall on floors or surfaces.

Discovery Health (2020)

In short, fogging will most likely be effective (but harmful) if used when there are people who are infected with COVID-19 is present at the time and and that they cough, sneeze or speak. However, practically speaking, by the time a cleaning company arrives with their fogging equipment, the COVID-19 droplets have dropped to the surfaces, and you end up throwing money in the water.

We are often asked to provide quotes to clean workplaces prior to the return of the workforce, and to quote on fogging. Hopefully the scientific evidence we provide in this article that fogging is unnecessary, would be sufficient.

How should you remove COVID-19 from your workplace?

The question remains then: What is an effective and acceptable way to remove COVID-19, if it is not by fogging and disinfection only.

The WHO and the Department of Health clearly recommend that frequent normal cleaning or deep cleaning will be required. From the above discussion you could simply send in your normal cleaners into the area and log the time when you clean as per their requirements.

What you however should implement at your workplace, and even your home is a proper regular cleaning process. For example, bathrooms should be cleaned once per day in a normal household. For workplaces we also recommend that you keep a log of when and how you cleaned each area of your workplace.

As a cleaning company, we could easily have kept this information from you and indicated that we will do fogging for you and provide you with a certificate once done. However, based on the above facts, we are simply not going to put our reputation on the line in exchange of a little bit more profit.

We are also conscious of the economic impact the pandemic already had on our fragile economy, and consequently that your company had to endure a huge financial burden already. Clearly by providing fogging as a product offering is not necessary and a waste of your money that will not yield any health or financial benefit to you or your company.

One of our most important values are that of integrity and trust. We base our solutions scientifically proven technology and processes. We cannot and will not violate our very own principles for profit.

Instead, here is how we can help you

We would rather propose that we work together with you to implement the proper cleaning processes and technology in your business that you can use with your existing staff. This is not only a more affordable option than fogging, but will also empower your business with proper sustainable cleaning processes to keep your staff and clients safe.

As you can see, we base our decisions on science and the latest technology. Therefore we are proud to say:

If you want to experience “clean”, get us! Otherwise anyone else will do…

DewTouch

If you think that we can work together to help you to get the right cleaning processes in place, please contact us for further information.

Sources

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