A man in a hazmat suit spraying an anti-viral agent on top of trash bins for COVID-19.

The news cycle is full of reports about supposed new developments in the fight against the coronavirus. While these messages may, at times, seem mixed, they aren’t meant to be a distraction from the truth about COVID-19 and similar viruses. To make matters worse, product marketing may have us believing in “miracle cures” or revolutionary methods of COVID-19 prevention through untested means. 

One area that has seen explosive growth is in companies that claim to offer decontamination services that stop COVID-19 in the home or workplace. While there are some specialists in biohazard and sanitation that are poised to meet this new challenge in cleanliness, there’s a very real possibility that some of these companies aren’t properly trained for the new requirements. 

Can any of these products or services really help mitigate the risk? What can we do to avoid wasting money or trusting in unproven claims? To ensure the best outcome possible in the age of COVID-19, take a moment to learn about these four common COVID-19 prevention myths making their rounds today. The truth can save you money and put overpromising marketers in their place.

Myth #1: “Our product can kill the virus.”

Some companies would have you believe that they can use a spray or light to kill the coronavirus. The problem is that a virus isn’t like bacteria. In fact, it’s not even a living thing, so it can’t be “killed.”

The science of a virus has it hijacking bacteria and turning them against your body. They act as parasites, using the raw materials of their host to multiply and do even more damage. The only way to stop them is to disrupt and disarm them, which can be done through some of the more proven disinfecting techniques on the market. If you hear a company claim to “kill” the virus, this may be a sign that they don’t truly understand the microbiology of the very thing they are working against and could be your cue to look elsewhere for answers.

Myth #2: “Our coatings make surfaces safer for longer.”

Antimicrobial materials are all the rage, and some brands have gone so far as to offer “viral coating” for touch surfaces. What are these supposed upgrades? Commonly made with silicon dioxide or titanium dioxide, these products don’t usually meet the government’s standards for lab practices or studies to validate their claims, especially when presented as an option for slowing or preventing the spread of viruses.

While these ingredients can help slow microbial growth on building materials, these claims are for the materials alone—not for addressing the spread or safety to humans. In reality, you are much better off using a product specifically made to disinfect an already-clean surface every time you want to be safe. The durability for long-term protection with these products hasn’t been tested enough to know how long after applying they really do any good.

Myth #3: “We have a one-step solution.”

Imagine how easy it would be to spray any surface and not have to worry about dangerous bacteria or viruses harming your family. If it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. Cleaners are only as good as the methods we use to apply them, and a one-step option fails to address how surfaces are best kept safe.

For example, using a disinfecting product on a surface that hasn’t been thoroughly cleaned or sanitized first will reduce how effective it is. The CDC recommends removing any debris or biofilm before applying any additional product. This is at least a two-step process, and—depending on how dirty the surface is—could possibly be even more. 

Myth #4: “We use a special sprayer or fogger for whole-room cleaning.”

Like the myth mentioned in #3, this is an attractive-sounding option. Coming into a room with a blower or sprayer and simply “fogging” your problems away seems effective upon first hearing about it. Sadly, many of these services make use of off-label methods for common cleaning products that may be better applied using standard methods. The disinfectant bottle in your cleaning cabinet may actually be more effective because it’s labeled for use on a clean surface with care taken to use the right amount. The best-case scenario is the fogging isn’t very effective; at worst, it could make you or your family sick due to an unhealthy concentration or not being delivered consistently. 

You also don’t have the guarantee that the product in a fogger or sprayer works against coronavirus. The EPA maintains a list of registered products, called the N list. Any service provider should be able to tell you what they use, so you can check the list and see that human coronavirus is listed as one of the things it works against. This same list can tell you how the product is meant to be delivered, whether that be through fogging, spraying, or another method. If a company resists giving you this information, look elsewhere. It shouldn’t be a problem for a reputable company to tell you the products used so you can check the EPA’s documentation to ensure it’s safe for your family, and you’ll get what you pay for.

Navigating the tricky world of COVID19 prevention claims

It can be disheartening to hear that many of these promising options aren’t really suitable options at all. “Why would people make such untrue claims?” you may think. The people working at these companies may genuinely believe what they are selling and think they are doing good. It’s not uncommon for someone to want to help but not understand their own claims. 

Still, it’s smart to do your research and see what studies support the claims you’re hearing. If you can’t find any, or the EPA or CDC hasn’t specifically mentioned the product or service as an option, it may be too good to be true. Going with your gut may be the safest thing for you and your family. 

Want to learn how you can protect your team and facilities?  Schedule a virtual call to learn more about Ideal Education Services and create your custom education plan.

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