Many household disinfectants promise to kill 99.9% of germs, but some of us might be cleaning too swiftly to let them do their job. Understanding contact times and why it matters to disinfection is important, particularly in spray and wipe environments.

Now, as much as ever, when you clean, sanitise or apply a disinfectant to keep you, your family or your workplace safe, you want to be sure it’s really doing its job. After all, keeping surfaces and equipment clean and disinfected is one of the key elements of reducing, not only SARS-CoV-2 but other airborne and human-transmitted infections.

Whilst kill-rate is vital, another of the most important factors to consider when choosing a disinfectant is contact time. Contact time, also commonly known as “wet contact time”, “dwell time”, or “action time”, is how long a disinfectant needs to stay wet on a surface and before being wiped in order to be effective.

From our research looking at well-known disinfectant brands contact times can range from as little as 15 seconds for common alcohol-based hand sanitisers, to as long as 10 minutes for some quat-based products. And even products from the same brand often recommend different contact times. In real-world use, many of us are used to giving a surface a quick spray, followed by a wipe or two, which may therefore not allow enough time for the product to actually work.

However, the good news is that, as an enveloped virus, SARS-CoV-2 is actually much easier to kill than many other organisms. So, it is likely that even if you haven’t been following the full contact time recommendations for disinfectants, you have probably been killing the virus. But you need to follow label direction to tackle harder-to-kill germs like E. coli or salmonella.

Here we look at a few examples of leading brands, all who advise on leaving the product for 5 minutes before wiping


Understanding contact times:

Contact times

To be fully confident, make sure you look for products with short contact times, which achieve disinfection quickly against fungicidal, bactericidal and virucidal pathogens. This is particularly vital for “spray and wipe” environments and behaviour.

Our hypochlorous kills 99.9999% of bacteria and 99.99% of viruses and has been tested on enveloped viruses all the way through to bacterial spores and is certified to work in less than 60 seconds but has been shown in lab tests to work in as little as 12 seconds.  It also has the added benefit of containing no harsh chemicals.