Haven’t got the foggiest about fogging? This disinfecting technique is becoming more widely known as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. On London’s tube network for example, cleaners have been spraying a long-acting chemical disinfectant from backpacks, in an effort to fight the virus. But what exactly is fogging cleaning? How does it work and what are its benefits? Read our quick guide to find out…

What is fogging cleaning?

Put simply, fogging cleaning involves filling a room with a very fine mist of chemical disinfectant. It is a technique which has been widely used in a number of sectors in recent years, including the food industry. The idea is to saturate pre-cleaned environments with disinfectant, destroying airborne microorganisms, and disinfecting hard-to-reach surfaces.

How does fogging cleaning work?

Fogging is achieved using a range of devices. In some facilities (such as factories) permanent, static systems are used to regularly fog interiors. In areas which require less frequent disinfecting, or which cannot house permanent equipment, mobile fogging devices can be utilised. Mobile fogging is completed by a trained individual, who must wear full PPE, including a sealed mask, ventilator, gloves and chemical suit.

The process typically takes 15-30 minutes, depending on area size. After fogging, a further 45-60 minutes are often required to allow the mist to settle on all surfaces. The use of fogging requires premises to shut down during the cleaning process. Depending on the chemical disinfectant used, premises may be subject to longer periods of downtime (up to 6 hours) while the fog evaporates. This downtime is necessary to ensure the environment is safe for use following treatment.

Other “whole environment” cleaning techniques

There are a range of different fogging techniques, and similar large-area disinfectant methods. For example, dry fogging (which disperses ultra-fine droplets) is used in spaces with sensitive electronic equipment, to prevent damage caused by moisture. Related techniques include misting, spraying and harnessing short wave ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms by disrupting their DNA. All of these cleaning techniques are used to disinfect large spaces.

What is Ultra Low Volume (ULV) fogging?

One highly effective fogging technique involves highly-targeting misting with variable droplet sizes. Ultra Low Volume (ULV) fogging allows the precise application of a disinfecting mist, which can be carefully calibrated to suit a wide range of environments. This means that instead of filling an entire room with fog, only key surfaces are treated. A crucial benefit of this technique is that sensitive electrical equipment can be easily avoided.

A further advantage of ULV fogging is the application of disinfecting residue. After the droplets have settled on a surface, a residue is left behind. This ensures prolonged protection against future infections.

How well does fogging work?

The British Cleaning Council (BCC) recommends that fogging is used as part of a wider disinfection practice. They suggest using fogging to prepare an area for deep cleaning, in order to increase safety for a hands-on cleaning team. They recommend fogging the area again, after physical cleaning, to allow thorough disinfection. Where dry fogging is used, the BCC suggests its application after thorough hand-cleaning.

Although fogging increases the chance of all surfaces coming into contact with disinfectant, and helps to tackle airborne microorganisms, it appears that it is not adequate as a standalone cleaning technique. Its use should always be paired with rigorous hand-cleaning and should be treated as an additional “line of defence” when it comes to disinfecting areas.

Why is pre-cleaning so important?

Numerous providers of fogging services fail to underscore the importance of pre-cleaning environments, prior to fogging. As the BCC suggests, fogging is not a standalone technique, or a “magic wand”. Instead, it should be used in conjunction with hand-cleaning. Fogging is a disinfection process, not a cleaning process. For this reason, thorough cleaning should be conducted before fogging, to ensure that disinfectant is not applied to dirty surfaces (resulting in ineffective disinfection).

Are you looking to add an extra line of defence to your COVID-19 cleaning practices? With over 30 years of experience cleaning commercial property across South Wales, The Abbey Cleaning Service can help develop a best practice commercial cleaning regimen for your premises. Speak with our helpful team to discuss your business’ cleaning needs today. Get in touch on 029 2067 9323.

[Image credit – The image is ours (we took it), so it belongs to The Abbey Cleaning Service. However, we’re happy for other people to use this image for their own fogging-related content, but only on the condition that you link to this blog post (https://www.abbeycleaning.com/blog/what-is-fogging-cleaning-how-does-it-work/) when doing so, as a way of crediting the source. Thanks!]