The Facts About Airline Cleanliness & Cleaning Standards

As businesses start to reopen during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it’s important to know what companies are doing to keep their customers safe. Although people have been doing their part to flatten the curve, experts predict that a spike in cases is unavoidable, once businesses start to reopen. Meanwhile, companies such as Southwest Airlines try to give peace of mind by touting that they use anti-microbial sprays on each flight, but those types of sprays actually do NOT kill the coronavirus. This misleading information can put people at unnecessary risk.

Enhanced Cleaning is Only as Good as the Products Used

It’s important that businesses understand the intricacies of the coronavirus because there is no room for error. The virus is extremely contagious — one infected person, on average, will infect over three more people. It’s crucial to use EPA-approved disinfectants that are proven to kill viruses like COVID-19 as Aftermath Services does. Otherwise, you’re putting people at risk. 

Southwest Airlines claims, “both an electrostatic disinfectant and an anti-microbial spray are applied on every surface of the aircraft, killing viruses on contact and forming an anti-microbial coating or shield for 30 days.”  However, this information is misleading, as while the anti-microbial coating is very effective at preventing growth of bacteria, fungus and mold on the surface, it is not EPA listed to inactivate viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. 

If you need to travel, be sure to wear your personal protective equipment (PPE) and carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol for maximum effectiveness; use it liberally and frequently.

Types of Cleaning Products that Kill Viruses Like SARS-CoV-2

We recently covered some of the myths surrounding coronavirus, and one of them is quite persistent — that soap and water will not kill it because it’s “antibacterial” not “anti-viral.” This is not the case. Soap and water actually dissolve the bilipid layer that holds the virus together, effectively dismantling it and rendering it ineffective. Understanding how the virus functions is crucial in knowing how to kill it. That’s why the EPA has a list of disinfectants that are effective at killing COVID-19. 

The EPA has this to say about the list:

While surface disinfectant products on List N have not been tested specifically against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, EPA expects them to kill the virus because they:

  • Demonstrate efficacy (e.g. effectiveness) against a harder-to-kill virus; or
  • Demonstrate efficacy against another type of human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2.”

Cleaning Products Require Dwell Time

Killing a virus as insidious as COVID-19 isn’t a one-time deal. So long as it’s still spreading and there’s no widely available vaccine, daily disinfection regimens are crucial. This will take effort, and most importantly, time. Effective disinfectants have dwell time, meaning they need time to soak and work their magic. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information:

“Many products that actually kill the virus on surfaces require keeping the surface wet for a period of time. All disinfectants have specific dwell times, (the amount of time they’re required to remain on a surface) that must be met in order for the germs to be killed at the 99.9 percent level.”

Cleaning Is Not the Same as Disinfecting

Did you know that cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing are not at all the same thing? While these distinctions used to be left to the experts, this terminology is relevant and important these days. Knowing what businesses are doing to keep their customer base safe gives you an advantage, so pay attention to the terminology people use. According to the CDC:

  • Cleaning uses soap or detergent to wash away dirt, grime, and grease to give a good appearance but does not necessarily kill germs. It merely physically removes them from a surface.
  • Disinfecting uses specialized chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. Although it does not necessarily give a “clean” look, it is highly effective in neutralizing active germs to stop the spread of infection.
  • Sanitizing is simply lowering the number of germs on a surface to a safe level, as prescribed by public health authorities.

Importance of Completing Commercial Remediation Properly

At Aftermath Services, we take our responsibility to disinfect and remediate your business very seriously, and we communicate how and why we’re doing so throughout the whole process. We also adhere to all OSHA regulations, are certified by the Institute of Inspection Cleaning & Restoration Certification (IICRC), and strictly follow the most state-of-the-art procedures when it comes to disease cleanup and disinfection. 

Complete remediation is just one step toward flattening the curve and eradicating COVID-19. We all need to work together to stay safe. Part of that means knowing how companies are making their workplaces safe to frequent.


Additional COVID-19 Resources