Can You Use a Fogging Machine for COVID-19 Disinfection?


Cleaner in an office environment using a fogging machine for COVID disinfection while wearing the appropriate PPE.

Early in the pandemic, a confirmed case of COVID-19 meant a space was sealed off so that a team of cleaners could disinfect every surface. The world is learning to live with COVID-19 and alternative methods are now being used to reduce the cost of evacuated spaces.

Fogging machines are a cost effective, fast method for disinfecting a contaminated space. While fogging machines are suitable for most areas, the operator should be experienced and ensure the use of the right disinfectant.

How Disinfectant Fogging Works   

Disinfectant fogging is the process of using a fan-operated device to distribute fine droplets of disinfectant throughout a room. Fogging machines can disinfect an area much faster than physical cleaning, but as the disinfectant is aerosolized, humans are at risk of breathing or absorbing the tiny particles through the skin.

Benefits of Fogging Machines

Fogging machines offer several benefits, including: 

  • Being ideal for disinfecting large spaces (up to 600 cubic metres).

  • Being less physically demanding than traditional cleaning (that involves touching every surface). 

  • Accessing spaces that may be difficult to access when cleaning and disinfecting traditionally.

  • Being ideal for spaces that have many potentially contaminated surfaces that can’t be cleaned by hand.

  • Dispersing disinfectant more effectively than using a cloth and disinfectant spray.

What to Be Aware of With Fogging Machines

While fogging machines can be an extremely effective and efficient method of disinfection, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering the use of a fogging machine.

Use a Disinfectant Designed for Fogging Machines 

Fogging machines aren’t designed for all cleaning solutions. Only use disinfectants that state they are suitable for fogging machines. Aerosolizing some disinfectants can cause irritation to the eyes, skin and airways. Fine mist particles can stay in the air for long periods.

Helix Solutions supplies Sanosil for use in certain fogging machines. Sanosil treats water to make it drinking standard, so it’s perfectly safe to use in the right fogging machine. The active ingredients used in Sanosil are hydrogen peroxide and silver.

Fogging Machines Aren’t Suitable for Hospital Settings

Disinfectant fogging is not recommended for use in hospitals or residential care facilities. The federal health department’s environmental cleaning and disinfection principles for health and residential care facilities notes that fogging may mean the ‘required chemical concentration and application times may not be achieved’.

Hospital and residential settings should be cleaned to remove any organic matter before a disinfectant is applied. Hospital grade two-in-one products such as Chlor-Clean that both clean and disinfect are also suitable. Using this product cuts cleaning time in half because each surface only needs treating once. With a simple ratio of one tablet dissolved in one litre of water, the product is effective.

Care When Fogging in Food Preparation Areas

Fogging can disperse disinfectant in every nook and cranny of a commercial kitchen. Whole room disinfection means the disinfectant product can land on equipment that is used to prepare food. Only food safe products should be used when fogging near food contact surfaces.

Fogging Conducted by a Trained Person

Fogging machines should be used by trained operators. The machines should only be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions for safety, use and contact time. The operator should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and ensure other people’s safety while spraying. It’s also important to consider those people who may enter the space after spraying when the disinfectant particles may still be present in the air.

If you're looking for a fogging solution or a hospital grade disinfectant, give Helix Solutions a call on 1300 29 32 32 or contact us online.