How To Disinfect Hard Surfaces

Disinfecting hard surfaces prevents the spread of viruses, germs and bacteria and helps keep everyone safe.
20 March, 2023 by
How To Disinfect Hard Surfaces
XO2® Pty Ltd, David Blamire

Why disinfect surfaces?

Keeping our facilities clean and germ-free is more important than ever before. The public is increasingly vigilant and likely to notice (and comment on!) a less than pristine public space. In addition, you protect yourself and your staff from sickness by keeping the entire workplace as clean as possible and ensuring germs and bacteria have nowhere to multiply.

Germs can live on hard surfaces for some time. COVID-19 is particularly hardy with C19 germs able to live on surfaces for several days in the right conditions. Now don’t be scared – just be motivated! Regular cleaning and disinfecting will kill virus cells and other nasties and help prevent illness and infection.

XO2 have a range of commercial-grade and hospital-grade disinfectants suitable for both commercial and home use. Our anti-microbial and anti-bacterial disinfectants are all laboratory tested (and TGA listed if hospital-grade) so you can be sure surfaces will be thoroughly hygienic when disinfected with our products.

What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

Cleaning and disinfecting are two important but separate steps in keeping surfaces clean. Cleaning is usually carried out with soap or detergent and removes dust, dirt, and some germs from the surface being cleaned. Disinfecting should be done after cleaning to kill any remaining germs and ensure the surface is as sterile as possible.

For routine cleaning, an all-in-one disinfectant cleaner may be all you need. When deep cleaning or cleaning critical high-risk areas, disinfectants should not be used on surfaces which have not already been cleaned as any dirt or grime present can limit the effectiveness of the disinfectant.

The steps for thoroughly disinfecting surfaces:

1. Clean the surface first to get rid of any visible dirt, dust, or grime.

2. Ensure good ventilation in the area being cleaned. Put on any personal protective equipment required as some products can irritate skin and eyes. Gloves should always be used.

3. Ensure you have chosen the correct disinfectant for the surface and that dilution is correct. 

4. Apply the disinfectant following the instructions provided. Products may be sprayed or mopped directly onto the surface, sprayed onto a wipe, or applied using an antibacterial wipe already pre-loaded with the disinfectant.

5. Leave the product on the surface for the specified time. Different products have different “dwell times” - this is the amount of time needed for the disinfectant to sit on the surface to ensure all contaminants are eliminated.

6. Wipe down the surface with a cloth or paper towel and allow it to dry.

7. Smile in satisfaction.

Voila! You now have a beautiful clean surface free from germs and safe to use.

How often should I disinfect?

This depends partly on usage. High-traffic areas are most likely to facilitate the spread of germs, bacteria and viruses, and should be disinfected and sanitised more often.

Disinfection is especially important for “touch points”, or anything that people touch with their hands, and these should be cleaned daily. This includes countertops, cabinets, door handles, switches, stair rails, lift buttons, phones, keyboards, tables and chairs, or anywhere hands touch. Disinfectant wipes are especially useful for these areas as they are convenient and make wiping non-flat surfaces much easier.

More frequent cleaning should also be employed in the cooler months of the year when germs are more prevalent and have a longer life on surfaces.

If your workplace operates with shift workers, where multiple shifts are using the same spaces within a 24-hour period, you may want to consider cleaning between shifts to reduce the chance of spreading germs between shift groups.

If someone has been unwell in the area extra disinfecting and sanitising should be completed as soon as possible, particularly if there was any vomit or bodily fluids involved.

You may also be directed by health authorities to disinfect more frequently and deeply in times of high disease risk, such as during an outbreak.

Disinfectant spray or disinfectant wipes?

To spray or to wipe? That is the question. At least, it is the question you need to answer when determining how best to disinfect surfaces in your facility. Both options will clean, disinfect and sanitise. Both kill bacteria and germs. There are also specific benefits to each, so let’s look at them below:

Disinfectant Sprays & Liquids

• Great to use on large surfaces

• Versatile, with effectiveness across a range of different surfaces

• Reduced costs (especially if a concentrate is used)

• Can be purchased in a range of fragrances or fragrance-free

Disinfectant Wipes

• Quick and convenient, with no other products or cleaning aids required (gloves are recommended)

• Hygienic single-use wipes almost eliminate cross-contamination risks

• No RSI with spray trigger use

• Ready to use – no messy mixing or dilution is needed

• Work well on curved or vertical surfaces where it may be difficult to get coverage with a spray bottle

Wall mounted and mobile dispensers are available

The right choice for you depends on the situation and the nature of the surfaces you need to disinfect. XO2 manufactures many antimicrobial and antibacterial disinfection products, and we know you’ll find something perfectly suited to your needs in our range.

A note on reusable cloths, wipes, and paper towels

When using a liquid disinfectant (including in spray bottles), a cloth or wipe is used in conjunction with the product to spread it across the surface and ensure full coverage. Reusable cloths can be used here, but be aware they can carry germs from place to place and are not the most hygienic solution. If reusable cloths are being used be sure to wash them frequently at high temperatures and use them only once before washing them again.

A single-use wipe or paper towel can also be used with liquid disinfectants to eliminate the risk of surface cross-contamination from a dirty cloth. Dry disposable wipes and paper towels are recommended for cleaning spaces where hygiene is important. Or, for an even easier option, select some of XO2’s range of pre-loaded disinfectant wipes, available in convenient wipe dispensers.

Disinfecting for COVID-19 and Influenza

COVID-19 and Influenza are both airborne viruses. This means they can be spread when people cough or sneeze and droplets travel through the air to others. These droplets can also settle on surfaces, leading to the infection spreading when people touch the contaminated surface.

Luckily these viruses can easily be killed using quality disinfectants. To ensure effectiveness the product must be spread across the entire surface and allowed to sit for the period of time specified by the manufacturer. XO2’s Disso hospital grade disinfectant & cleaner is TGA tested and proven to kill both Coronavirus and Influenza.

Any hard surface where droplets may have settled or where hands touch must be disinfected, not just counters and benchtops. Don’t forget surfaces on remote controls, light switches, handles, phones, chairs, and stair rails. These surfaces may be easier to disinfect with pre-loaded wipes, rather than a spray. XO2’s hospital-grade disinfectant & cleaner wipes are perfect for any curved or awkward surfaces.

Using a fogger for disinfection

If you have a large area or many surfaces requiring regular disinfection, consider using a handheld or backpack fogger. Foggers create a fine mist, or “fog” of disinfectant that floats in the air and then settles on surfaces, killing germs, bacteria, and viruses.

Using this method cuts down on labour time and allows multiple surfaces to be disinfected quickly and thoroughly by one operator. XO2’s cordless electrostatic handheld sprayer provides a thin, even spray of disinfectant over surfaces. The electrostatic charge allows particles to wrap around non-flat surfaces, including underneath, so that coverage is complete and effective.

Our whole room disinfectant fogger – Fog It, is another effective and low-labour option. It comes in a single-use sanitising bomb loaded with enough disinfectant for as much as 120m³ surface sanitisation. The can releases a super fine dry fog which penetrates all the hard-to-reach corners and crevices in a room.

Disinfecting in food areas

If you are disinfecting areas where food is prepared, it is especially important that surfaces remain clean and sanitary at all times. In addition to germs and bacteria spread by people, food surfaces must be kept clear of pathogens that come from food, especially raw meat, poultry, and fish.

Food preparation areas should be cleaned and disinfected regularly throughout the day. In a facility where customers eat, such as a restaurant, the eating area and surfaces should also be cleaned and sanitised between customers.

A food area approved disinfectant must be used, as general disinfectants may contain substances that are not safe to ingest. Our sanitiser Cleansan is fragrance-free and approved for use in food preparation. Cleansan not only disinfects but has outstanding grease-cutting ability, and is well suited for use in commercial kitchens, restaurants, canteens and lunchrooms.

Disinfecting in hospitals or high-risk locations

If you are disinfecting in hospitals, or other high-risk locations, or need to deep clean an area, hospital-grade disinfectants should be used. These products are specially formulated to kill bacteria and viruses and are essential in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.

A regular schedule for cleaning and disinfection should be implemented and monitored in high-risk areas, and staff should be thoroughly trained in the correct use of disinfection products.

For critical area cleaning, infection control, and deep cleaning we recommend Disso, XO2’s hospital-grade disinfectant. Disso is TGA listed, microbiologically tested, and proven to kill a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. Disso comes ready-formulated to eliminate the chance of dilution errors and is available as either a disinfectant spray or disinfectant wipes.

Important: Medical devices and therapeutic goods.

Be aware that a hospital-grade disinfectant may not be suitable for some medical devices and therapeutic goods. Select a disinfectant that is TGA listed and specific to the task in critical healthcare areas.

Disinfection mistakes to avoid

A hand is only as good as the one who plays it, and a disinfectant is only as good as the one who sprays it – so make sure you do it right! In all seriousness, disinfection is an important and potentially life-saving matter, and there are some common mistakes people make that can decrease its effectiveness. See them below so you can be sure to avoid any of these pitfalls.

1. Dilution errors

Perhaps the most common mistake made when using disinfectants. If you are using a concentrate, it is imperative that dilution instructions are followed precisely. Too dilute and the product may not be effective, not dilute enough and it can cause skin and eye irritation or even damage surfaces.

Check out this article: How To Quickly Calculate Cleaning Chemical Dilution Rates And Ratios

2. Cutting short the dwell time

Most disinfectants require the product to sit or dwell on a surface for a specified amount of time. This can be as much as 10 minutes for some products. Failing to observe the correct dwell time can limit the product’s effectiveness.

3. Using expired products

Products that have expired will not be as potent. Look for products with longer shelf lives to reduce the chance of using something that no longer works as it should. XO2’s products all have excellent shelf lives, making this problem one our customers are much less likely to experience.

4. Using inferior products

A product that is not high quality may not do the job as advertised. XO2’s disinfection products are rigorously tested, proven to be effective in recognised 3rd party laboratories, made using the highest quality ingredients, and in the case of our hospital-grade disinfectants are TGA listed.

5. Applying to a dirty surface

If a disinfectant is applied to a surface that is grimy or dirty this can inhibit the action of the disinfectant. For a deep clean and disinfection, always make sure to clean surfaces first before applying disinfectant.

6. Failing to observe safety protocols

Some strong disinfectants can be irritating to the skin, eyes, or lungs. Wear gloves or other protective equipment as required and ensure ventilation in the area is adequate before disinfecting.

Disinfection is easy at XO2

Whatever your hard surface disinfection needs, XO2 is here to help. For general-purpose applications, we recommend our super concentrated 5 in 1, available in a range of awesome fragrances. For around the office, Disso Wipes and IPA wipes are brilliant on phones, keyboards, the computer mouse and desks.

We have products specifically designed for certain industries, like Cleansan for food preparation areas, and Disso for hospitals, touchpoints and other high-risk settings. And if you want a labour-saving solution check out our disinfectant foggers or our Fog It full-release can.

Here at XO2, it’s not just disinfection products – we also offer a handy splash-resistant wall chart displaying a visual guide to disinfecting surfaces. This is a great reminder for staff and a reassurance to customers that you value hygiene and prioritise safety as an organisation.

Disinfecting with XO2 means you can rest easy knowing your workplace, staff and customers are safe and protected.

David Blamire, CEO at XO2

David is one of Australia's leading cleaning industry innovators. He's spent his entire working life solving cleaning challenges others thought were impossible. He's best known for his product creation and development skills along with a deep knowledge of business operations and all things ERP. In his spare time, David's a keen fisherman and adventurer. And he doesn't mind if you call him Davo.

Get in touch with David at He works from XO2's national headquarters and manufacturing centre in Queensland, Australia.

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17 Disinfectant Safety Tips Everyone Should Know
The Power of Disinfectant Wipes: Benefits You Need to Know
Are Disinfectants Septic Safe?
- Is It Safe to Use Cleaning Chemicals & Disinfectants During Pregnancy?
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How to Use a Disinfectant Fogger to Clean Your Facility, Workplace or Home

Research references: (not including the XO2 website)

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