Sanitizing environments, ozone, soap or alcohol?

The coronavirus pandemic has made very stringent hygiene measures necessary, both for people and for environments. Today we talk about how to sanitize closed spaces, surfaces and fabrics, when this is necessary and what to use.

Why is it important to sanitize the surfaces?

The novel coronavirus is transmitted through infected droplets emitted when the sick person breathes, coughs or sneezes. These droplets can directly reach the face of another person, by infecting it. Or they can settle on surfaces such as tables, money, packages but also door handles, telephones, taps, sinks as well as the external surface of the surgical masks. On surfaces, outside the body, the virus is able to survive even for days depending on the type of material. By touching these surfaces your hands can become contaminated and, if you do not follow the hygiene rules, such as, washing your hands often with soap and water, using a hand disinfectant that contains at least 60% alcohol and not touching your face with dirty hands, it is possible to get infected. This is why it is important to sanitize surfaces, both those of offices, shops and those of the home. Generally, the cleaning of these surfaces can be done with soap and water. Some surfaces such as handles, switches, telephones, taps, sinks, petrol pump handles, toilets, computer’s mouse, desks and touch screens instead require more thorough cleaning and disinfection as they are more manipulated.

How to disinfect the surfaces that are at more risk?

First, you need to clean the surfaces with soap and water. Then, products with a virucide action should be used. Hard materials such as glass, metal or plastic are easier to disinfect using products that contain 70% alcohol, or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, also called bleach. However, do not mix disinfectant products together. Instead, porous and soft materials such as carpets, rugs or sofa coverings are more difficult to sanitize. The advice, at least in this period, is to remove these materials where possible. Otherwise they can be covered with sheets, this can do, for example, in offices or shops. Alternatively, if we are dealing with furniture at home, which frequently comes into contact with people who come from outside and which cannot be removed, it can be washed by following the instructions given by the manufacturer and by using the warmest water temperature possible.

Is ozone sanitization possible?

Sanitization with ozone has shown virucide properties, provided it is performed in conditions of high relative humidity (Dibuis et al, PLoS One, 2020). However, it has not been tested against the novel coronavirus and therefore, at present, it cannot be considered a disinfectant action aimed at fighting this virus. In any case, when performed by experts, sanitization with ozone can certainly constitute a procedure complementary to other procedures that use alcohol or bleach to make the environment sanitization, intended as a procedure that makes the environment healthier, more complete.
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