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Making Safe Sanitizing a Healthy Habit

what are germs?

Making Safe Sanitizing a Healthy Habit

Learn time and cost-saving sanitizing tips, how to maintain safe spaces, and discover how science has inspired lifestyle-driven sanitizer products.

If you haven’t noticed, annual cold and flu season is upon us. With U.S. estimates of more than $11 billion in pre-pandemic annual influenza burden on the healthcare system, remaining vigilant with good hygiene and sanitizing effectively is critical to staying healthy. Especially during the cold and dry winter months and at holiday gatherings, the fact remains: we need to be mindful of how to safely interact with others and the world around us.

What are Germs?

what are germs?Believe it or not, everyday products like yogurt and over-the counter probiotics contain beneficial bacteria strains that result in health benefits. However, certain types of bacteria are harmful, and even limited contact can result in adverse health effects.

A virus is an infective agent that contains genetic material inside a protein coat. As with gene therapy, inserting a functional version of a defective gene into a cell using a viral factor enables a cell to produce a missing factor. In this instance, the virus can be beneficial. However, the vast majority of viruses are harmful.

During this cold and flu season, bacteria and viruses (a.k.a. “germs“) are a clear and present danger.

The Best Way to Kill Germs

Continual protection from harmful germs includes evaluating peoples’ behavior vs. germs and staying one step ahead of harmful germs, making vigilance a new way of life.

Germs are microscopic, and these particles can float in the air, landing on a variety of surfaces. For example, anyone who touches a germy countertop while reaching for their car keys and then opens a car door using the same hand, just cross-contaminated multiple areas. Cross-contamination gives germs a new place to hide and thrive.

A fraction of a second is all it takes for an opportunistic germ to hitch a ride on an unprotected writing instrument as it travels through a backpack, off-campus, and into an unsuspecting home.

So, what’s the bottom line? Keeping communities safe requires everyone’s participation.

Since germs are everywhere and can easily travel via skin, clothing, furniture, air and ventilation systems, and much more, virtually anything with a surface is vulnerable to germs.

To keep germs from invading spaces, it’s a good idea to know how long they can linger, where they tend to hide, and the fastest and safest way to deactivate them. Whether on a hard or soft surface, germs will collect in dust, dirt, oil, grease, and grime.

It’s surprising just how many items a person comes in contact with between home, work, or school in a single day. High-touch objects reused within 24 hours are also known as “frequently used” items, and all high-touch objects must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before reuse.

When qualifying cleaning and sanitizing products to get the job done right the first time, consideration factors include:

  • Personal safety
  • Regulatory mandates
  • Untreated surface survival potential
  • Product effectiveness
  • Environmental impact

Personal Safety – Prioritizing safety first, personal protection equipment (PPE) is needed when cleaning and sanitizing any space or object. PPE recommendations are typically gloves, eyewear, masks, and protective clothing. For all chemicals, Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are an OSHA requirement. Some product manufacturers list MSDS sheets on their websites for full transparency and brand trust. Safer, non-toxic products that are non-damaging are an environmentally-responsible choice.

Regulatory Mandates – To be safe by today’s standards, everything that comes into physical contact within 24 hours must be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before reuse. For schools, hospitals, and other public-serving locations, this daily routine is necessary for them to remain open. From a manufacturer’s perspective, regulatory mandates also mean product documentation, labeling, and production processes.

Untreated Surface Survival Potential – Vigilance with daily cleaning and sanitizing prevents many health conditions by killing harmful germs that cause illness. According to recent research, today’s most dangerous germs can persist on untreated surfaces for:

  • 3 hours (paper and copper)
  • 24 hours (cardboard)
  • 4 days (money and glass)
  • 3-7 days (plastic and metal)
  • 14-days (cloth)
  • 28-days (non-porous, hard surfaces)

Considerations for superior cleaning and sanitizing products that streamline maintenance include safe use on all types of surfaces (porous, non-porous), versatility to clean and sanitize simultaneously, and maximum effectiveness that lasts for up to 28 days.

Product Effectiveness – How long a product lasts is a major determining factor for its effectiveness. Traditional cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products contain harsh chemicals. Even if applied with precision, standard chemical effectiveness is short-lived, ranging from 20 seconds (alcohol) to a maximum of 24 hours (bleach, chlorine). In contrast, new advanced, non-toxic cleaning sanitizers with approved and recommended active ingredients last from 4 hours to 3 months with each application, making it safer for people and the planet. Protecting one’s health by choosing to use non-toxic products with the most prolonged effective period is recommended.

Environmental Impact – Adhering to today’s recommended daily cleaning and sanitizing procedures requires the continual use of effective products. Traditional cleaning and sanitizing products contain toxic chemicals and have a maximum effective period of 24 hours. Unused portions of diluted bleach/chlorine solutions must be disposed of daily as unfortunately, the environment typically absorbs these chemicals. Advanced cleaning sanitizers that contain QACs are the environmentally-responsible alternative. Precise application of QACs on any surface ultimately maximizes effectiveness with time-saving and cost-saving benefits.

When building a germ-fighting arsenal, it is essential to note that the active ingredients in surface sanitizers are not meant for use on the body. Likewise, active ingredients in hand and body sanitizers are not designed for use on surfaces.

Advanced sanitizing products simplify processes and fit lifestyles.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs)

Sanitizers have exploded in popularity over the past two years. It is now common knowledge that traditional hand sanitizer is made with alcohol and that it readily absorbs into the skin, the body’s largest vital organ. Extended use of alcohol-based sanitizers is absorbed by the skin and strips the outer protective layer, allowing moisture to escape, resulting in dry, wrinkled, irritated, and itchy skin. Furthermore, open skin is highly vulnerable to germs.

Children are the most vulnerable to associated risks of alcohol-based hand sanitizer use, overuse, and abuse, whether accidental or intentional. Alcohol-free, non-toxic sanitizers are the safest choice for children and young adults.

As an alcohol-free alternative to ethanol and/or isopropyl, the FDA has approved benzalkonium chloride (BZK), a quaternary ammonium compound (QAC), as an active ingredient in hand sanitizer. Since discovering QACs as a powerful germ-fighter nearly 100 years ago, these organic and synthesized salts have improved the quality of life of many through industrial use and a wide range of everyday consumer products.

Surfaces are Different than Skin

The guidance for using traditional surface cleaning and sanitizing products (bleach and chlorine), is to wash the surface with soap and hot water, rinsing with clean water. After air drying, sanitizing the surface is recommended by soaking with a solution of 0.1% or 1,000ppm (1 part of 5% strength household bleach to 49 parts of water). Surface sanitizing with bleach or chlorine takes at least 15 minutes to soak in, then additional time is needed for air drying.

Water quality makes a difference with how long a surface remains sanitized. Hard water contains high mineral content that, when present, creates a chemical reaction with bleach or chlorine, lowering its germ-fighting effectiveness. As such, a less effective product requires even more chemicals and time to achieve the intended level of protection. Toxic fumes from harsh cleaning chemicals are an irritant, and ample ventilation is necessary for safety. Keep in mind that many institutions and businesses have to repeat this cycle each day to remain compliant.

Exposure to toxic chemicals is unsafe and daily exposure to them is unhealthy. 

Non-Toxic QACs Improve Germ-Fighting Protection

Science supports QACs as naturally-potent germ fighters. Even more impressive, QACs are reliably used in some of the harshest, most demanding environments. Products made with QACs now top the nation’s list of recommended products for restoring industries, institutions, businesses, and public spaces.

QACs are not new. In fact, its germ-fighting properties were first discovered in 1907 and have been used for industrial, business, and consumer applications ever since. Whether these salts are organic or synthesized, QACs are non-toxic, non-flammable, non-corrosive, non-damaging, and environmentally responsible.

One of the most unique and advantageous properties of QACs is their ability to either attract or repel particles based on magnetic polarity – naturally. Advanced cleaning sanitizers formulated with QACs spread materials consistently over surfaces, evenly spacing the molecules with magnetics. This inherent trait and the long-lasting nature of QACs translate to real-world benefits.

Lifestyle Benefits of Advanced QAC Sanitizing Systems

New specialty sanitizing products are designed to safely improve quality of life and add convenience while saving time, reducing maintenance costs, and streamlining cleaning processes. Additionally, research proves that QACs are a safer, more efficient alternative sanitizing method than the short-lived nature of traditional cleaning and sanitizing practices.

GlanHealth™ is a world leader of QAC-based advanced cleaning surface and hand and body sanitizers. The revolutionary formula safely forms a nano-thin, microscopic, triple layer of long-lasting germ-fighting protection that lasts for days and even months, depending on the product type.

GlanHealth™ lifestyle products can be used independently or as part of a complete sanitizing system. Each GlanHealth™ sanitizer is safer, longer-lasting, and better for the environment than traditional cleaners and sanitizers.

Home and Workspaces

So far, everything discussed applies to hard, non-porous surfaces. But, soft and porous surfaces present the most significant challenges when cleaning and sanitizing. Washing porous furniture surfaces with soap and water and then drying and sanitizing for reuse in 24 hours is not exactly practical nor recommended.

GlanHealth™ All-Purpose Surface Complete with QACs safely cleans any surface – even metals, porous materials, and fabrics. All GlanHealth™ advanced sanitizers are formulated to cover the most challenging areas – with 360-degree accuracy.

Scheduling a monthly professional sanitizing spray service is an effective tactic for maintaining vigilance and staying ahead of harmful germs. GlanHealth™ electrostatic sprayers provide floor-to-ceiling coverage on any surface with precision. For reference, a 2,500-square foot area is protected for 28 days in just minutes.

High-traffic areas and quick cleaning in high-touch areas is faster and easier with the Portable Protection Kit from GlanHealth™ that includes a convenient handheld electrostatic sprayer.

GlanHealth™ simplifies cleaning maintenance, providing tools and materials for complete protection – and peace of mind.

Laundry

Have you ever wondered what the musty smell from laundry comes from? Biofilm can develop in the water remaining inside a washing machine, causing an odor that can transfer to washable materials. To gain up to 28 days of germ-fighting protection on all washable fabric types and eliminate biofilm, simply add GlanHealth’s Laundry Shield to the fabric softener feature, washing and drying normally.

Another unique attribute of QACs is their natural detergent (surfactant) properties. Surfactant molecules have water-attracting and water-avoiding components that create a slippery surface for impurities to be cleared away with water.

Most fabric or laundry sanitizers may sound convenient but in reality, they require lengthy pre-treatment of washable materials. These fabric pre-treatment products may damage the material. Before considering use, check the laundry sanitizer product label or the manufacturer’s website to confirm if the product is limited to a specific strain of germs that it fights and if fabric damage can occur.

QACs are naturally non-damaging and anti-static. Adding GlanHealth™ Laundry Shield to the wash cycle eliminates the need for dryer sheets, further reducing environmental waste. Its anti-static nature makes GlanHealth™ All-Purpose Surface Complete safe to use on electronic device surfaces (wiping with a microfiber towel is recommended – please refer to manufacturer recommendations).

Hands and Body

For personal protection, GlanHealth™ provides a variety of convenient hand sanitizer products. GlanHealth™ products are formulated in a water base with natural emollients and QACs. In various formats that fit lifestyles, all GlanHealth™ hand and body sanitizers are alcohol-free and non-toxic, providing a safer choice for children and young adults.

Simply spray or wipe, making sure to allow GlanHealth™ hand sanitizer to soak beneath nails, in between fingers, and wrists. Just fifteen seconds of application time will gain four hours of protection with the unique hand and skin sanitizers from GlanHealth™.

Safe on sensitive skin, gently moisturizing, and never stinging, GlanHealth™ advanced hand sanitizers soothe dry, chapped hands and soften skin with repeated use.

For simple cleaning and overall personal refreshment, GlanHealth™ sanitizing and cleaning wipes are convenient for on-the-go and even active, outdoor lifestyles. The Sanitizing Bath Wipes provide lasting, gentle germ-fighting protection in large, individually-wrapped wipes.

GlanHealth™ develops safer lifestyle sanitizing products that add value and convenience to life.

For additional information on advanced cleaning sanitizers that are safe on all types of surfaces and washable fabrics, visit https://glanhealth.com/all-products/.