Technology Briefing: Electrostatically Augmented Disinfectant Spray Devices

September 16, 2020 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's a briefing on electrostatically augmented disinfectant spray devices, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. We review how and where the technology is used, which applications it is best suited to, the strength of the evidence to support its use, and more.

Electrostatically augmented disinfection spray devices, also known as ionic spray devices, are used to apply low-level disinfectant on precleaned surfaces 0.5-1.2 m (2-4 ft) from the operator. They are appropriate to use on noncritical medical devices, which may contact intact skin but not mucous membranes (Spaulding 1971). Electrostatic augmentation provides more uniform dispersion than standard sprays or disinfectant wipes. Moreover, these systems require less time and disinfectant than spray bottles to apply a sufficient level of disinfectant to thoroughly cover the same surface.

To be considered in this category, a product must be designed and marketed for disinfection purposes. To distinguish this category from other disinfection spray systems, items in this category must also include an ability to apply an electrical charge to the spray to increase the effectiveness of the spray.

Electrostatically charged droplets are attracted to grounded surfaces per Coulomb's law and repulsed by similarly charged objects, such as other charged droplets and surfaces on which they have been recently applied. The difference in charge between the droplets in the spray and on the unsprayed item will cause an attraction that can increase droplet penetration into crevices as well as encourage them to travel to areas that are not directly sprayed. The similarity of charge between droplets in the spray causes them to repel one another, which leads to a more uniform distribution than with standard spray. Areas that have received spray will accumulate the same charge as the spray, reducing its attraction—which also leads to more uniform distribution.

Electrostatic augmentation of fluid spray has been put to use for painting since the late 1940s and for agricultural pesticide use since the late 1970s. Systems that apply the same principle to disinfectants have become available within the past five years.

Major components of these systems are:

  1. A tank for the liquid disinfectant

  2. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved chemical (e.g., quaternary ammonium, hydrogen peroxide, peroxyacetic...

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