Dwell Time: What Is It And Why It's Important - Unisan Columbus
Dwell Time: What Is It And Why It’s Important

Dwell Time: What Is It And Why It’s Important

The vast majority of people when they’re cleaning a surface spray a cleaner or disinfectant and immediately wipe it up. However, when you do this you’re likely leaving lots of germs behind. This is because cleaners and disinfectants have specific dwell times.

What is dwell time?

Dwell time is the amount of time a disinfectant needs to sit on a surface in order for it to properly disinfect. This means the disinfectant needs to stay wet on the surface for the duration of the dwell time.

Why is dwell time important?

Dwell time is imperative because most disinfectants need to sit on a surface anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes in order to disinfect the surface. However, most people using a disinfectant don’t read the specific directions or don’t have the time to sit and wait for the disinfect to work. This means the vast majority of time, surfaces are not disinfected the way they’re supposed to be.

How do you find the dwell times of disinfectants?

You can find dwell times on the label of the disinfectants you use. It’s important to remember the dwell time can vary greatly depending on the product so you need to read every label.

To help you, we’ve outlined the dwell times of some common disinfectant sprays and disinfectant wipes below. 

Dwell times of common disinfectants and sanitizers. 

Disinfectant

Dwell Time To Sanitize

Dwell Time To Disinfect

Lysol Disinfectant Spray

10 seconds

3 minutes

Fantastik Disinfectant Degreaser

10 seconds

3 minutes

Spic & Span All-Purpose Cleaner

5 minutes

10 minutes

Purell Foodservice Surface Sanitizer

30 seconds

1 minute

Clorox Clean-up with Bleach

30 seconds

6 minutes

Soft Scrub with Bleach

Information not available.

3 minutes

Scrubbing Bubbles Disinfectant Multi Surface Bathroom

1 minute

5 minutes

Mr Clean Multi-Purpose Cleaning Solution

Information not available.

10 minutes

Clorox Hard Surface Sanitizing Spray

2 minutes

Information not available.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

Information not available.

4 minutes

Lysol Disinfecting Wipes

10 seconds

4 minutes

Sanitizing vs Disinfecting

You may be looking at the chart above and wondering, “what’s the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting?” While sanitizers and disinfectants are commonly used interchangeably, the two types of cleaners are actually different and should be used in different situations.

According to the CDC, here are the definitions of sanitizing and disinfecting:

  • Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
  • Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.

Essentially, sanitizing lowers the number of germs by removing them, while disinfecting kills germs. So, when you’re looking at various cleaning products for your facility make sure you understand whether it’s a sanitizer or disinfectant, the various dwell times for sanitizing vs disinfecting, and whether the product will kill viruses.