Pros and cons of 5 common sanitizing solutions

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There are a variety of sanitizing solutions marketed for use on hard, non-porous surfaces. To help with selection and comparison, we’ve summarized the pros and cons of five of the most popular options.

Hot water sanitizing

Hot water is a popular choice in some industrial and restaurant contexts. For hot water to sanitize a surface, it needs to be at least 171° F and in contact with the surface for a minimum of 30 seconds[1]. A hot water pressure washer can be used if a surface can’t be submerged.

Pros:

Simplicity – Water is readily available, and no additional sanitizing chemicals are required.

Short duration – At 30 seconds of dwell time, hot water is one of the faster options for sanitizing.
Cons:

Scalding risk – According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, “adults will suffer third-degree burns if exposed to 150° F water for two seconds.”

Damage to surfaces – Some materials will be damaged by temperatures of 171+, such as vinyl and certain plastics.

Energy – Maintaining water at such a high temperature comes with high energy costs.

UV-C light disinfection

Among sanitizing solutions, UV-C is perhaps the most unique. Ultraviolet light destroys viruses and bacteria by interfering with their genetic material. This technology has grown increasingly prevalent since the emergence of the COVID-19 virus. For a UV sanitizer to be effective, it must produce wavelengths within the 100-280 nm range, also known as the UVC range.

Pros:

Simple – It requires only a machine to emit the proper light, with no additional chemicals.

Contactless – It does not require the user to touch any contaminated surface.

Zero Contaminants – UV-C light leaves zero residue, and produces no particulate pollution.
Cons: 

Requires direct exposure – Anything in shadow will not be sterilized by UVC. Complex surfaces may need multiple passes. 

Long duration – Recommended UV light sterilization time will vary, but times of 30 minutes and longer per exposure are commonly recommended. 

Disinfectant foggers

Fogging saturates an entire room with fine sanitizing particles. Some of the most common fogging methods include:

  • Chemical fogging
  • Vaporized hydrogen peroxide
  • Ozone fogging
  • Chlorine dioxide treatment
  • Ionization

While each type of disinfectant fogger has drawbacks, here are the general pros and cons:

Pros:

Options – Fogging provides a wide range of choices in terms of equipment and methods. 

Total coverage – Because fogging means a complete saturation, it’s effective at delivering total coverage in one go. 

Contactless – Fogging does not require the user to touch contaminated surfaces.
Cons:

Hazardous to breathe – Most types of fogging render the air unbreathable during treatment. 

Long duration – Duration times vary. However, most processes take a minimum of an hour, with some taking four or more hours to complete. 

Complicated requirements – Many methods have atmospheric requirements such as specific temperature and humidity. Others involve unstable compounds that are difficult to store and transport.

Traditional sprayers

Traditional sprayers are the older type of disinfectant sprayers. This type of sprayer comes in a variety of sizes and can be gas, electric, battery or manually powered. They can spray most water-based disinfectant solutions.

Pros:

Wide selection – You can choose from a range of models based on capacity, weight, method of power, available accessories, etc. 

Personal control – The user has a high level of control during application. 

Fast – Sprayers allow for speedy application depending on the volume and rate of spray. 

Contactless – Traditional sprayers don’t require contact with contaminated surfaces, though liquid runoff can mitigate this benefit.
Cons:

Runoff – Traditional sprayers produce a large amount of liquid runoff, which can spread pollutants and contaminants. 

Wasteful – Traditional sprayers require the use of excess chemical solution to ensure dwell times are met and surfaces are fully covered.

Electrostatic sprayers

Electrostatic sprayers take traditional sprayer technology and improve it by positively charging the sprayed particles. This positive charge means the droplets seek out the natural negative charges of a surface, resulting in even coverage and improved adherence. Victory brand handheld and backpack electrostatic sprayers incorporate additional patented technology to make their sprayers even more efficient.

Pros:

Total coverage – The addition of a positive charge to the sprayed particles guarantees complete coverage. 

Fewer chemicals – Electrostatic sprayers reduce the amount of chemicals needed by limiting runoff during application. Victory electrostatic sprayers in particular use 65% fewer chemicals over traditional sprayers. 

Fast – Electrostatic sprayers are one of the fastest sanitizing methods. Victory electrostatic sprayers save up to 70% on sanitizing times. 

Easy to use – Electrostatic sprayers are generally user friendly. Victory electrostatic sprayers are particularly accessible, as they were designed with the general user in mind. 

Contactless – Electrostatic sprayers require zero contact with the contaminated surface. 
Cons:

Price – Initial investment tends to be higher for electrostatic sprayers. However, the initial cost is offset over time by savings in chemicals and personnel hours.

What to learn more about choosing the right disinfectant solution for your business? Check out our blog all about the selection process.


[1] https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/its-clean-but-is-it-sanitized