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'Not all disinfectants are created equal': Owner of cleaning service explains why killing 99% of germs is not always enough

Some might think any disinfectant saying it kills 99% of germs is all you need, but Wright says that’s not necessarily the case.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As businesses struggle to reopen during the pandemic, cleaning procedures have become a top priority.

 A local cleaning service is helping businesses with their plans to reopen safely.  The owner of Whystle Cleaning Service said some of the businesses are not aware of how to properly disinfect surfaces. Now, he’s trying to share information that will make them and their customers safer.

The owner said he’s been helping dozens of businesses try to safely reopen, but some are more challenging than others, and some of the cleaning tips might surprise you.

In South End, Pins Mechanical is reopening defying Governor Cooper’s order. However, they have a new UV technology meant to kill germs. 

“After being closed for four months, at some point, I still need to run a business,” said CEO Troy Allen.

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It’s highlighting the struggles businesses face when debating whether to reopen.

“We help with putting out their plan of how they’re going to disinfect,” said Chris Wright, owner of Whystle Cleaning Service.

Due to the pandemic, Wright said he transitioned his company from an on-demand cleaning service for homes to helping businesses safely reopen.

“Not all disinfectants are created equal,” said Wright.

Some might think any disinfectant saying it kills 99 percent of germs is all you need.  However, Wright said that’s not necessarily the case because every extra digit after the decimal matters, even if it’s just a .9 percent.

“You really look for stuff that is 99.999% which is three nines after the dot,” said Wright.

WCNC Charlotte found a product online called Vital Oxide, which claims to do just that.  According to the website, it’s EPA approved to use against COVID-19.

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“The higher the 9’s on the back end, the better your disinfectant is at killing whatever is on your surface,” Wright said.

Wright also encourages businesses to check the label for how long it takes a product to kill germs because that can vary significantly.

“It’s not necessarily enough just to spray it and wipe it off,” said Wright.

Wright said some businesses are more challenging to disinfect than others.

“Restaurants, bars, breweries mostly because they have such constant foot traffic,” Wright said.

However, Wright said improving cleaning procedures is one step toward breaking the chain of transmission.

Wright said the good news is COVID-19 is relatively easy to kill with disinfectant compared to some other germs.