When it comes to cleaning surfaces and objects, traditional dry and wet dusting tends to be the first methods that come to mind. While these cleaning techniques are tried and true, they do little more than spread filth around, unless the rags used are washed regularly. Dry dusting kicks up resting particles, redistributing them into the air and onto other surfaces. Wet dusting can involve harmful cleaning chemicals and make it hard to reach certain spots or objects. For sensitive places, like clean rooms, healthcare facility cleaning and schools, there’s a more effective method for stripping dirt, dust and germs from surfaces that require specialized sanitation: electrostatic spray.
What is Electrostatic Spraying?
Electrostatic spray surface cleaning is the process of spraying an electrostatically charged mist onto surfaces and objects. Electrostatic spray uses a specialized solution that is combined with air and atomized by an electrode inside the sprayer. Subsequently, the spray contains positively charged particles that can aggressively adhere to surfaces and objects. Because the particles in the spray are positively charged, they cling to and coat any surface they’re aimed at.
For awkwardly shaped objects or hard to reach places, cleaning staff only must point and spray; the nature of the mist allows it to coat surfaces evenly, and envelope objects—even if the mist is only sprayed from one side. After the spray is applied, the sanitizing agent works to disinfect the covered surfaces. For this reason, electrostatic spray is an excellent solution for germ and contaminant ridden areas.
How Does Electrostatic Spraying Work?
At the most basic level, electrostatic spraying works by applying a positive electric charge to a liquid as it passes through a nozzle. The liquid is then sprayed onto a surface that is grounded or has a negative electric charge. Excess protons in the positively charged atoms of the spray are attracted to the electron fields of other atoms, causing those atoms to become polarized.
As Coulomb’s Law states, opposite charges are attracted to one another and similar charges repel each other. In essence, this means that a positively charged liquid is attracted to a neutral or negatively charged target surface. At the same time, as each particle of the liquid carries a positive charge, the particles naturally repel each other, creating a wider dispersion. As the liquid passes through the nozzle, it becomes atomized into a fine spray. The droplets disperse from each other, becoming finer and finer, and seek out a negatively charged surface to bind with.
Electrostatic spraying provides a full, even coat of disinfectant liquid across a surface which will cover the entire visible area, including the underside and backside of surfacesmaximizing the efficiency of delivery. Conventional sprayers use air pressure to break down the particles in a liquid solution. This leads to a high spraying velocity that can cause overspray. Electrostatic sprayers do not use air pressure in the atomization process. This leads to a vastly improved transfer efficiency, which limits chemical consumption as well as the release of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) into the environment.
The main features and benefits of electrostatic spray disinfection include1:
- Reduces the time it takes to cover and disinfect all surfaces and hard-to-reach places by 50% compared to conventional methods
- Improves infection control and the spread of viruses such as influenza, MRSA, HIV and many others
- Applies chemicals in a more efficient, controlled manner, eliminating the dangers of overuse
- Prevents costly financial burdens associated with contagious healthcare infections
For desk surfaces, floors and walls that need to be spotless, electrostatic spray cleaning is the best option. The same goes for equipment and hard to reach places.
Electrostatic Spraying vs Traditional Disinfecting Techniques
Electrostatic spray technology provides many advantages during the disinfection process. In order to properly disinfect a surface, it must be fully coated with the disinfectant and needs to remain wet for the proper dwell time which is usually around 10 minutes. Traditional methods of disinfecting, such as spray and wipe, mopping, and cloth applications are not only time consuming – they also lend themselves to human error. Traditional disinfection methods require the cleaner to manually apply and remove the chemicals, which can take a lot of time and requires acute attention to detail.
Electrostatic sprayers eliminate these barriers to effective disinfection. Because they can cover a large surface area relatively quickly, they are both time and monetarily efficient. Surfaces that are hard to reach by the human hand are easily reached by an electrostatic sprayer. This enables cleaning professionals to disinfect every surface in a room rather than just “high-touch” areas.
Oftentimes, a surface will get sprayed with a disinfectant and wiped down almost immediately. This is a problem, as disinfectants need time to work properly. The proper dwell time varies by chemical, but 10 minutes is a good rule of thumb to reference. Disinfectants applied with an electrostatic sprayer solve the problem of inadequate dwell times. After applying disinfectant with an electrostatic sprayer, the surface does not need to be wiped down. In facilities such as childcare facilities, schools, and healthcare facilities where germs can spread like wildfire. Disinfection is of utmost importance to them, and electrostatic disinfection techniques are a game-changer.
Electrostatic Spraying in the Cleaning Industry
As mentioned above, traditional disinfecting spray equipment and methods come with a suite of issues. In addition to allowing for a proper dwell time, making hard to reach areas easily accessible, and shortening the time it takes to disinfect an area, electrostatic spray technology also addresses transfer efficiency problems. Transfer efficiency is a measure of how much chemical reaches a surface versus the percentage lost to the floor and surrounding environment. Just as the agricultural industry adapted electrostatic spray technology from the auto and painting industries, the commercial cleaning industry has adapted it to suit its needs. Because almost any liquid can be electrically charged, electrostatic sprayers are highly versatile in their applications.
With improvements in the past decade in the portability and simplicity of use of electrostatic sprayers, they have become a reasonable, cost-effective, and practical tool for professional cleaners to add to their arsenals. Cleaners, sanitizers, deodorizers, and disinfectants can all be used with electrostatic sprayers. In the current pandemic climate, there has been a massive surge in interest and demand for electrostatic disinfection services. Many companies are utilizing the technology to keep their businesses running and their stakeholders safe.