Cleaning to Reduce Viral Pathogens

by Lawton Brothers | Sep 08, 2022


In the workplace, viruses can spread rapidly without the proper precautions. Not only can this cause labor shortages while workers are out sick, but this can also spread to customers and the outside community. It’s extremely important to have a daily cleaning regimen to reduce the likelihood of disease in your facility.

Especially this year, while we are still working to recover from COVID, a new virus is spreading and making its way into the United States. Monkeypox, belonging to the same group of viruses as smallpox, is not fatal but is contagious through close, personal contact. Even touching objects or fabrics that have been used by someone with monkeypox can cause contraction of the virus. That being said, there are a few ways to prevent the spread of monkeypox and other emerging viral pathogens. 

Emerging Viral Pathogens

Emerging infectious diseases are defined by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as those that have newly appeared in a population or have a rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range. Many emerging viruses are less common and less predictable than well-known or established pathogens. That means that we aren’t as knowledgeable about their reactions to disinfectants and also that disinfectant products can’t specify use against the pathogen in question. However, in 2016 the EPA provided a voluntary, two-stage process to enable the use of registered disinfectant products against emerging pathogens not identified on the product label. Thanks to this program, companies can apply for an emerging viral pathogen (EVP) claim, even before an outbreak occurs, by testing it on specific hard-to-kill viruses. 


Monkeypox belongs to a group of viruses that is more susceptible to disinfectants than others. While there aren’t any chemicals registered for use specifically against monkeypox, all products with EVP claims have been tested against viruses that are more difficult to kill than monkeypox. The use of products with EVP claims can supplement your infection control practices to help reduce transmission in the workplace. For the list of disinfectants for EVPs, including monkeypox, check out the EPA website. 

Cleaning and Disinfection

Many of those with monkeypox can be isolated at home. The disease spreads through direct contact with an infectious rash, body fluids, or by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. Transmission of monkeypox is possible from the onset of the first symptoms until all scabs have separated and the skin has formed a new, healthy layer. 

During the infectious period, bodily fluids and respiratory secretions can contaminate surfaces and the surrounding environment. Poxviruses can survive in clothing and on environmental surfaces for upwards of two weeks to a few months, especially in dark, cool, low-humidity areas – and porous materials can harbor the virus for even longer. Despite this, they are extremely perceptible to UV light and many disinfectants. 

Using an EPA-registered disinfectant for EVPs, wash all surfaces with soap and water, and follow the directions posted on the labels. Pay extra close attention to the contact time – wiping off a product too soon can render it useless (the surface should remain wet for the time indicated, before removal). This goes for all workspaces employees and customers may come into contact with, as well as those isolated at home. While cleaning and disinfecting, make sure to avoid dry dusting and sweeping and fully cover the skin. Clean the clothes after disinfection and thoroughly wash hands.

Looking for a Disinfectant?

Lawton Brothers can help you identify the best cleaning product for your needs and budget. Give us a call today and let us walk you through our catalog. Or, find out how you can get a free cleaning audit: 800.432.0813.

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