By next year, the global cleaning industry could be worth $74,299 million (or £53,905 million)! Its value has nearly doubled since 2015. This is largely due to the COVID pandemic and the increasingly high demand for professional disinfection and cleaning services.
There’s a new pressure on companies to provide a workspace for employees that offers minimal Covid-19 risk. Social distancing and mandatory facemask use are just some of the ways companies are tackling this problem.
Another is exploring additional steps in the cleaning process, such as a fogging machine.
But what is a fogging machine? How does it work? And how effective are these cleaning devices when it comes to COVID? To discover the answers to these questions and more, keep on reading!
What is Fogging?
Fogging is a cleaning technique that uses disinfectant spray in the form of an antiviral aerosol solution. Fogging machines use pressure to spray this solution into the air of a room to ensure that every surface is thoroughly coated in disinfectant.
This includes hard to reach surfaces, forgotten or missed areas, and the air. Pockets of air can become stagnant or slow-moving within an office environment, which isn’t ideal during a respiratory pandemic.
You can also use fogging within small spaces that may be difficult to clean otherwise, such as extractor units.
The machine will usually have a manual valve that you can adjust to ensure that the type of fog created has the optimum effect on the room in question.
A fogging machine will turn a disinfecting spray into a fine mist or fog which then fills the air and coats any surface it touches. Fogging machines vary in range but can reach up to 12 meters. This is enough to cover a large room or office space.
It’s possible to use multiple fogging machines, if necessary. Alternatively, the machine can do sections of the room one at a time.
The Benefits of Fogging
Fogging machines offer homes and office spaces with a range of cleaning benefits. Provided you use the technology correctly and handle any disinfection solutions with care. Some of these benefits include:
- Being safe to use
- Effective at eliminating airborne pollutants
- Effective at disinfecting any horizontal surfaces
- Can disinfect hard to reach areas
- Can reduce COVID risk
It’s worth noting that fogging shouldn’t be viewed as an alternative cleaning method. It’s an additional step that can be carried out after cleaning and disinfection.
Step by Step Guide to Office Disinfection
Fogging should be carried out by professionals, especially when it comes to an area potentially contaminated with COVID. At the very least, those carrying out the fogging should have completed some form of infection control training.
After that, you can follow these simple steps.
1. Clean the Area to Prepare for Fogging
The area being fogged should be thoroughly cleaned. This includes dusting, cleaning, and disinfecting all reachable surfaces. Deep cleaning the carpet will help remove any potentially contaminated matter. If possible, leave the windows and doors open for a short period to allow the air to circulate.
2. Turn Off the AC
Turn off any air conditioners, fans, heaters, or other appliances that will interact with the fogging process. This includes closing any windows and covering any water-sensitive equipment, including computers, servers, printers, and telephones.
3. Inspect the Area
Thoroughly inspect the area and carry out some Adenosine Triphosphate testing on random surfaces. ATP is found in all living cells and its presence indicates that an area hasn’t been sufficiently cleaned. ATP tests use a numerical range to determine the level of cleanliness.
Areas that seem unclean visually or fail the ATP testing should be recleaned before continuing. It may seem like a chore, but this step is important for the effectiveness of the fogging process.
4. Follow the Instructions
By following the manufacturer instructions for both the disinfectant fogger fluid and the fogging machine, use the recommended concentrations to charge the fogging machine with the required volumes.
By following this advice, you’ll be able to calculate how long the fogging process should take. Make a note of this time as it will be important in a later step.
If in doubt, consider hiring a professional. The cleaning costs will be worth it when compared to multiple failed fogging attempts.
5. Connect to Clean Air
The airline should be connected to a supply of clean air outside of the area that you’re about to fog. At this stage, the air supply to the machine should be off. Place the fogging machine in the centre of the area and connect it to a power source.
6. Don't Block the Machine
If you’re placing it in an office, you can improve the disinfection range by ensuring that no obstacles block the fogging machine. For example, you don’t want any nozzles blocked by walls, chairs, or cabinets.
Otherwise, when you turn the machine on, you’ll only coat the immediate area with disinfectant spray and the desired fogging effect won’t be possible.
7. Make Sure Everyone has Left
Prepare the area by ensuring that all staff have left. It’s best to give plenty of warning before fogging. Sending e-mails, having meetings, and placing signs around in the days or weeks leading up to the fogging can make everybody aware of the event.
Check and double-check that nobody is in the area! Close any doors and seal any spaces leading out of the area as best as possible. Make sure there are plenty of signs warning staff not to enter.
For added safety, it’s advised that staff members stand near the entrances to warn others about the fogging process. Just make sure they aren’t at risk themselves.
8. Switch On the Air Supply
The air supply should be switched on. Only do this once you’re entirely sure that the area is safe, secure, and empty of all staff.
9. Set Your Timer
Remember the calculation you did earlier for the length of time the fogging machine will need to be left on for? Once that amount of time has passed, you should turn the air supply off. In theory, all the disinfection fog should be in the air by now.
10. Keep the Area Clear
Once the air supply has been turned off, you’ll need to keep the area clear of staff for at least another 90 minutes. However, if you want to be safe, waiting 2 hours ensures that enough time has passed.
11. Rinse Off Any Areas in Contact with Chemicals
If you’ve used any acid-based chemicals in the fogging machine, all surfaces within the area will need to be rinsed. Appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves and goggles should be used.
Since you’re trying to reduce the COVID risk in the area, all cleaning staff should wear a face mask to avoid contaminating the recently cleaned surfaces.
12. Open Up the Windows
Any air conditioning units, fans, or heaters can now be turned on. If possible, opening the windows to allow clean air to flow through the space will help remove any lingering particles. Allow the room to return to its normal temperature.
13. Disconnect the Air Supply
Now that you’ve completed the fogging process, you can disconnect the air supply. The fogging machine should be rinsed and flushed with water to ensure that any disinfectant for Coronavirus is removed. You can then return the device or move onto the next area.
How Effective is Fogging Against COVID?
The effectiveness of fogging varies from one situation to the next. Factors you need to take into consideration include:
- Available fogging machines
- Size of area
- Height of ceilings
- Shape of room
- Type of disinfectant
Until the COVID pandemic, fogging machines were only used in areas prone to dangerous bacteria, such as abattoirs, kitchens, and hospitals. To help tackle this airborne virus, fogging is increasing in popularity.
Airborne viruses, such as COVID, spread through the air (as the name suggests). This commonly occurs through coughing, sneezing, and talking, but sometimes breathing is enough. When rooms aren’t cleaned or the air becomes stagnant, the virus can build-up, increasing the risk of infection.
Although you can buy a disinfectant for coronavirus, you’re usually limited to cleaning potentially infected surfaces. And while using air conditioning, and opening windows and doors can improve ventilation, pockets of stagnant air can still form.
Hiring professionals to carry out an office COVID disinfection can protect your staff and help reduce the COVID infection rate in your area.
Need a Professional Cleaning Service?
Without the appropriate training, fogging can be a complicated process. But the level of disinfection it offers can help reduce the COVID risk in any office, school, or home.
Do you need a professional cleaner for your office or workspace? Click here to contact us today for a free, no-obligation quote