Top Cleaning Technologies in the Fight Against COVID-19

Article By : Cabe Atwell

The top cleaning technologies that have been implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic...

From clothing retailers to hotels to transit authorities to cleaning our own homes, we are dealing with the reality that various surfaces we come into daily contact with may harbor virus particles. Demand for household cleaning supplies has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stricter, more thorough cleaning procedures have been a focus for many organizations to keep both employees and the general public safe. Often, stores do not allow purchases to be returned, but that doesn’t stop particles from spreading due to things we touch browsing or going about our days. Not only has it been an eye-opener in best practices for cleaning public spaces, but it has also fueled a scramble for more efficient options. Here are some of the ways cleaning technologies have begun to change under pandemic pressure. 1. UV radiation utilized for its deadliness to virus particles
Image Source: https://vitalvio.com/
Across quite a few industries, UV light has begun to be looked at as a possible cleaning solution. In the clothing retail industry, a retailer with 1,000 brick-and-mortar locations began experimenting with it as an alternative to steam cleaning, which can cause problems with HVAC systems and make stores hot and muggy. Less expensive and easier to install, operate, and maintain, many are looking to implement LEDs that emit ultraviolet light, particularly UV-C light, which is deadly to bacteria and viruses. Unfortunately, there are still development hurdles. Initially working on them as a method of water sterilization, researchers are now working to make them more powerful, more robust, and cheaper. 2. Cleaning industries accelerate the development of IoT-based, data-driven tools Part of cleaning is keeping track. Smart tools can reduce the time needed to complete cleaning tasks, provide useful data, simplify operations, and free up time for required manual deep cleaning. Smart tech in the cleaning industry includes valuable appliances like touch-free dispensers that can track compliance. Still, there is plenty in the realm of smart technology for cleaning that remains unexplored. Software that better enables detailed records of facility cleaning, for example, or repurposing robotics technologies to automate the cleaning of high-touch surface areas. While some “robot custodians” have been developed, the more we can prevent potentially dangerous exposure caused by manual cleaning, the better. 3. Robot custodians disinfect hospitals, airports, and more
Image Source: https://twitter.com/lytbot
Places such as hospitals and airports, in particular, have joined the scramble for obtaining fully-functional cleaning robots. One hospital, San Francisco’s Sharp Grossmont Hospital, spent $250,000 on two robots in the early days of the pandemic. These acquisitions, equipped with UV light, are capable of disinfecting an operating room in 12 minutes. Manually, this task can take as long as 90 minutes. Airports, stadiums, and public transportation are looking toward similar solutions, underscoring the way the pandemic is accelerating the drive toward automation across the U.S. economy. Not only can machines be more efficient, but they can also be used to eradicate germs and limit human contact that may pose a public health threat. 4. Drones cover large areas with a disinfectant spray
Image Source: https://www.luciddronetech.com/disinfecting-drone/
How to clean really large spaces, such as arenas and airports, poses multiple issues. To answer how to navigate, ensuring constant cleanliness, Lucid Drone Technologies has adapted its drones to spray disinfectant. These drones, which can navigate indoors, can cover up to 23,000 square feet in an hour. The company says it can manufacture 10 drones per week, and the first contracted batch went out to cleaning companies in June of 2020. Still, some professional cleaners can be wary of high-tech methods, saying that while drone cleaners can be useful for covering large areas, humans trained on how to disinfect and ensure cleanliness are essential. 5. Self-cleaning surfaces reduce the need for frequent deep cleaning
Image Source: https://www.ft.com/content/c4de006e-c483-4a9c-88d7-0373e2a3c9c0
Since the length of time viruses can live on a surface is dependent on the surface material, changing the material properties can increase safety. On plastic and steel, the novel coronavirus can live for up to 72 hours. By contrast, silver and copper are known to kill viruses within four hours. Still, this is too long a timeframe to truly eliminate the danger of human-to-surface contact. NitroPep is a new product being developed by the University of Birmingham that features tiny, spikelike particles that puncture and kill viruses within minutes. This material can be added to desks, walls, and other surfaces to rupture anything with a membrane that lands on them. Personally, I want this over everything! 6. Transparent coatings can be added to surfaces to break down microbes
Image Source: https://act.global/products/act-cleancoat/
A less permanent method can be used to coat surfaces and make them more virus-resistant. Danish company ACT.Global sells a transparent coating that reacts when illuminated by light to break down microbes. The coatings last up to a year, but the effectiveness rests on how much light is available and needs about 8 hours of light to activate. It doesn’t need to be sunlight or any special lighting, normal indoor lighting works just fine. The coating uses titanium dioxide to turn natural humidity and oxygen into free radicals, which continuously decompose bacteria and viruses. This could be an interesting solution for places such as hotels, which can have a longer turnover time before rooms are needed for new customers. Travel is likely to increase before a vaccine is available, making a solution that can guarantee hotel safety incredibly valuable. We all need all kinds of solutions for all kinds of scenarios, from the home to the store and beyond.

Leave a comment