Electrostatic sprayers have been growing more and more popular, and it’s not hard to see why. Not only are they remarkably easy to operate and highly effective , they also allow you to drastically reduce the time it takes to sanitize large spaces. As people increasingly look for innovative ways to clean, electrostatic sprayers consistently come out as a top choice. But what about the chemical cleaners they use?
Some buyers have lingering concerns about the strong chemicals these sprayers often employ. Such caution makes good sense, as exposure risks are an important consideration when establishing a sanitizing regimen. Can electrostatic sprayers help reduce chemical exposure during the cleaning and sanitizing process?
Quaternary ammonium – the heavy hitter
If you’ve ever wondered what chemicals are used in cleaning products, there are actually quite a few different options. The CDC lists nearly a dozen disinfecting and sterilizing chemicals, ranging from alcohol to formaldehyde. Many of the most popular options fall into a group known as quaternary ammonium compounds.
Quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as QACs or ‘quats’, are some of the most commonly used hard-surface broad-spectrum disinfectants available today. They have been ubiquitous in medical, laboratory and food-processing facilities for nearly a century, since first becoming commercially available as an antimicrobial agent around 1935.
In addition to their use in chemical cleaners, many other common products also incorporate quats. Examples include dishwashing liquid, hand soap, baby-care products, air fresheners and shampoo. Quats are usually incorporated into products to give them anti-microbial properties. This claim is legally possible because the EPA has designated quats as pesticides.
According to the EPA, a pesticide is defined as “[a]ny substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling or mitigating any pest”. Pests, in this case, refers to viruses, fungi and any other microorganisms that have taken up residence on a surface.
Just what are quaternary ammonium compounds?
The more scientific name for quats is ammonium salts. The molecules that make up these salts are characterized by a positively charged nitrogen atom.
As implied by the “salts” designation, pure quats are solid. Manufacturers dissolve them into solution in order to produce sanitizing liquids. It’s then easy to sprayed or wipe those liquids on to a surface. As the solution dries, quats remain in place and do not evaporate into the air. This is good news for those concerned about breathing in cleaning chemicals.
However, the quat residue may still pose problems if present in sufficient concentrations. At a mouse testing lab, recent observations suggest that very high exposure to quats may cause health problems. Further research is needed to fully understand the effects – if any exist – on humans. In order to reduce the risk of exposure to any cleaning chemicals, the best course of action is to reduce the overall amount of chemicals used.
To limit exposure, Victory sprayers do more with less
Fortunately for anyone concerned about overexposure to chemical cleaners, electrostatic sprayers were designed with minimizing in mind. Victory brand sprayers, for example, use 65% fewer cleaning chemicals than conventional methods, while achieving the same or greater results.
In addition to using fewer chemicals, electrostatic sprayers also produce far less liquid run off. According to one study by the EPA, they produced 75 times less liquid waste when tested against conventional sprayers. Not only does this further limit exposure to cleaning chemicals, it also reduces the risk of cross-contamination.
Peace of mind through PPE
While electrostatic sprayers do most of the work in limiting exposure, it’s also important to wear appropriate personal protective equipment when handling any cleaning chemicals. When spraying, use goggles and a mask to protect your eyes and your breathing. Also use gloves, as certain chemicals at high concentration may have an irritating effect on the skin. Always direct the spray away from yourself and any other people, and carefully follow any directions printed on the chemical’s label.
The sprayers we sell at EnviroPro put safety first with their radical reduction in total chemical use. After all, when you’re combating contagions, you shouldn’t be worried about the risks of chemical exposure. Check out our sprayers and chemical solutions to find the combination that’s right for you and your enterprise.