To be truly remediated, sites of contamination usually undergo a variety of cleaning procedures. Disinfection, decontamination, sanitization, and sterilization are all common methods that can be combined to ensure a location is safe to inhabit after being contaminated.
What is Sanitization?
Sanitization is a type of decontamination procedure that reduces the number of pathogens to a level where they cannot harm humans or animals. To do this, numbers have to be reduced by 99.99%. While sanitization can be highly effective, it is important to note that not all viruses, bacteria, or spores can be controlled by sanitization. Sanitization is practiced regularly in the home, such as on kitchen surfaces to protect bacteria from building up and becoming harmful.
Methods for Sanitization
Surfaces should be cleaned with warm, soapy water first to remove surface grime. After this, a sanitizer can be applied. There are a variety of different sanitizing agents that may be used, such as products which include sodium dodecylbenzene sulfonate. Other less common chemicals that may be used to sanitize include; sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, chlorine gas, as well as organic chlorine. Quaternary ammonium is another common choice for use on equipment and surfaces.
Each chemical can be used for different purposes as they each have unique pros and cons for use. To ensure success, the instructions on the product packaging need to be carefully followed. In cases of biohazard cleaning, the specialist knowledge of the technician is needed to select which products will yield the optimal result of 99.99% microbial reduction.
Areas to be Sanitized
Homeowners and business owners should regularly sanitize areas that are used for food preparation. This will keep numbers of harmful microbes low and prevent illness and even death. Surfaces that regularly come into contact with your hands, such as countertops, should also be regularly sanitized to reduce the risk of illness from hand-to-face contact.
Alongside cleaning, sanitization is the first line of defense against getting sick from food and surface contamination. Biohazards aren’t just the diseases that are deadly, it’s microbes that can make you sick, too! From minor stomach bugs to life-threatening diseases, prevention starts with good sanitization practices.
How do Sanitizer Products Work?
Most sanitizers are hypochlorite-based. They work primarily by compromising bacterial membranes. They also play a role in destroying genetic material inside the bacterial cell, as well as the enzymes that the cell produces. Spores, however, are not affected by most sanitizers. This is because unlike bacteria which have a thin membrane, spores have a strong shell which the product cannot penetrate.
Sanitization in the Biohazard Remediation Procedure
In general, the biohazard remediation procedure has two steps after an initial assessment has been undertaken: cleaning and disinfecting/sanitizing. The cleaning removes surface contaminants such as dirt or blood while disinfecting and sanitizing reduces numbers of microbes to safe levels. In cases of more severe biohazard remediation, stronger methods such as sterilization may be used to take the hard-shelled spores that most sanitizers cannot inhibit. Deodorization may also be needed, but this is done at the discretion of the team working on the property.