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Electrostatic Sprayers and Their Disadvantages

Over the last several months I’ve seen numerous cleaning services now offering electrostatic spraying. While it sounds fancy and good in practice, there are several drawbacks to using an electrostatic sprayer. I outline those disadvantages of electrostatic sprayers below.

Large Droplets

Droplet size. This is my biggest concern when it comes to electrostatic sprayers. These sprayers produce large droplet sizes over 80 microns. While that may seem small, in the disinfectant world, that size droplet is pretty large.

Why does droplet size matter? It has to do with float time. The smaller the droplet, the longer amount of time it stays in the air to combat germs floating in the air. Conversely, the larger the droplet size, the lesser amount of time a droplet stays in the air to combat germs. Picture a cloud of fog versus a squirt from a spray bottle. Which one do you think has a better chance of fighting airborne germs? In this way, electrostatic sprayers are no more effective at fighting airborne germs than a standard spray bottle.

Positive Charge

The only thing that separates an electrostatic sprayer from a standard spray bottle–besides automatic spraying–is a missing electron. As the disinfectant passes through the nozzle, it is hit with an electrostatic charge. This positive charge allows the large droplets to cling to many negatively charged surfaces and provide “even” coverage. Pretty neat, but it has its drawbacks.

What about positively charge surfaces? Don’t like charge repel each other? You see, with electrostatic sprayers, you may not be getting the coverage you want because it is impossible to determine the charges of all surfaces and particles in your environment. Using an electrostatic sprayer means you are making a pretty large assumption about the area you are treating as well as the type of germs that are living there. As someone who has been in the disinfecting services industry for almost 15 years, I can tell you that a one-size-fits-all approach to disinfecting is a dangerous game to play.

Just Spray and Walk Away

Much of the hullabaloo about electrostatic sprayers is this claim their sellers make that all you have to do is spray and walk away. Can’t reach an area by hand? Spray it! Tired of wiping up the microbes after they die? Just spray it! Don’t want to do a thorough job? Spray it! I’m all for “easy”, but not at the expense of “thorough”.

While electrostatic spraying of disinfectant can be beneficial, there is always one critical step before disinfection can happen: cleaning. A surface must be cleaned first in order for it to be disinfected. That is, the dirt and debris on a surface must be removed before a disinfectant can be effective (just read the label on any disinfectant).

Therefore, this notion of simply spraying a disinfectant and walking away is not the same as cleaning and properly disinfecting. The manufacturers of electrostatic sprayers know this and I’m sure some kind of verbiage is buried in the instruction manual that folks won’t read. But you should be aware that there is and will be a degree of manual labor involved in any true disinfection process.

Hefty Price Tag

The price of electrostatic sprayers is as large as their droplet size. Most units cost over $2,000 a piece. For a service company to recoup that cost, they have no choice, but to charge their clients an arm and a leg or skimp out on service elsewhere. For a do-it-yourself-type company, it’s probably a hard sell to management to splurge on such a thing.

The Disadvantages of Electrostatic Sprayers

To summarize, electrostatic sprayers are more useful and efficient than the traditional spray bottle, but they do have some shortcomings:

  • They produce large droplet sizes that don’t float in the air long enough to combat airborne germs like coronavirus.
  • Their positive charge means they won’t be as effective on positively charge surfaces or particles.
  • Cleaning is still required before you disinfect with the machine.
  • A hefty price tag may trigger a cutback in service elsewhere by a service company, creating an unwanted scenario for the customer.

One can likely assume that if the cleaning service is using an electrostatic sprayer, they probably don’t believe in doing a thorough job for the client. In contrast, at Germz Be Gone we use foggers that produce small droplets (between 5-50 microns) so our disinfectant can combat airborne germs and allergens while penetrating the most unseen, hard to reach corners–still providing a “360”-like coverage. We don’t stop there though; we then apply a layer of probiotics to replace and restore what the disinfectant destroyed as well as eat up the dead microbes and provide days of benefits.

I believe in doing the right thing. I believe in doing a thorough job. I believe in providing value and friendly, customer-oriented services. My team believes the same. What can we do for you today?!