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Reactive Disinfection vs Routine Disinfection

Reactive disinfection

Reactive disinfection includes disinfecting an area as a response to the area being contaminated by an infected individual. The disinfection process would undergo standard protocols and disinfect the entire area regardless of what the infected individual did or did not touch. The reason for this is because cross contamination can happen very easily. For example imagine the infected individual (we will call him john) coughed into his hand and proceeded to pour himself a cup of coffee from the pot in the breakroom. Ten minutes later Susan comes along and pours herself a cup. Now not only do the things that John touched need to be disinfected, but  the things Susan touched as well. For these reasons it is very important to disinfect an entire area to prevent the spread of contaminants.

Routine disinfection

Routine disinfection is similar to reactive disinfection in the protocol but different in the overarching objective. Like reactive, routine disinfection uses standard disinfection protocols to disinfect an entire area rather than just common touch points. The difference lies in the thought process behind the two. Reactive disinfection is exactly that, reactive. Routine, however, is implemented to “maintain” a healthy environment rather than “restore” an already contaminated one. A routine disinfection would include regular disinfection of things like phones and door knobs, as well as semi-regular and thorough professional disinfection.

The residual effect

When developing a disinfection plan and selecting a product or company, residual effect is something that you should pay attention to. The residual effect is the ability for a disinfectant to continue working long after it has been applied. For example Green Home solutions use an Enzymatic hospital grade disinfectant. The plant based enzymes in the product will continue to work as long as there is organic material ( bacteria, pathogens, mold etc.) to breakdown. The enzyme treatment is known as an active or catalytic treatment meaning they continue to work after initial delivery. Chemicals are typically stoichiometric, meaning they are consumed up all at once with no residual effect. Finding a product with some residual benefits can help maintain a healthy environment especially when coupled with a routine disinfection strategy.

Which is better for me?

As with most things, the answer depends. Germs spread easier in some environments than in others. For example the risk level of a gym is higher than the risk level of a cubicle style office. In a gym there is an excess of metal surfaces and  people are constantly picking things up that other people just put down. If you work in a cubicle style office space, there are fewer common touch points than in a gym. Things like the printer, door knobs etc. would have a few people touching them a few times a day, whereas in a gym that dumbbell you just picked up could have been touched by 50 people in the last few hours alone.


The safest bet when it comes to disinfection would be to use the routine method. With this method, not only do you disinfect areas after a known contamination has occured, you also disinfect areas that have been contaminated by someone who didn’t know they were contagious. Researchers conducted a study by randomly selecting 249 people. These people were observed and it was noted how often they touched common objects and how often they touched their face. The researchers found that the subjects typically touched common objects about 3.3 times per hour and their face about 3.6 times per hour. You may find it tough to track contamination across the many points of contact in your building and nearly impossible to know the exposure people had before coming into the building. With that being said, it just depends on the specific environment. Some factors to consider are types of surfaces, amount of traffic, open floor plan or private offices etc. Talking to an expert like Green Home Solutions can never hurt and as a general rule of thumb, better safe than sorry.