Frequently Asked Questions...

Q: What is the difference between cleaning, sanitising, and disinfection?

A: CLEANING is the physical removal of inorganic and organic material. Cleaning can also physically remove microorganisms. It is accomplished with water, detergents, and mechanical action. 

SANITISING is actually an approved scientific claim (tested in an accredited microbiology lab) that indicates the product lowers the number of bacterial pathogens on surfaces or objects to a safe level. A product that states to be a Sanitiser does not mean it is effective against viruses. 

DISINFECTING is the inactivation (killing) of disease-producing pathogens on surfaces and devices.  


Q: We already have a commercial cleaning contract – do I still need to disinfect?

A: Disinfection is a supplementary action to cleaning. Cleaning is carried out by wiping down surfaces with a hard surface cleaner which may or may not include an effective anti-viral disinfectant. Cleaning typically will only cover 25% of surfaces and generally wont include chairs, upholstery, keyboards etc.

Disinfecting by misting/fogging ensures all surfaces are adequately disinfected, including hard to reach areas and upholstered objects such as divider screens etc.

For the highest level of infection prevention, it is recommended that disinfecting is carried out on a regular basis, with frequency dictated by the amount of multi-user use the area has. For instance, areas like meeting rooms, taxis, Gym equipment etc, hairdressing chairs, café/restaurant tables, commercial aircraft etc should be disinfected after every use, frequently used public spaces such as lift lobbies, doors & entry points would be disinfected several times per day, while for general office space, childcare centres, construction sites & equipment, daily disinfecting may be sufficient.

Q: Are most cleaners effective against COVID-19?

A: Not necessarily – there are many cleaners, detergents, and disinfectants on the market with varying claims of effectiveness against COVID-19, but it is recommended that only disinfectants that are registered by a recognised agency (eg EPA, TGA etc) as approved for use against emerging viral pathogens are used to ensure effective viricidal action.

Q: What is disinfectant dwell time/contact time and why is it important?

A: Tested and approved disinfectants will have a stated dwell or contact time, which is the length of time the disinfectant needs to remain wet on a surface to provide an effective kill against pathogens. Many disinfectants will have a contact time of 10 minutes, which means it either has to be applied very heavily or re-applied to ensure it doesn’t evaporate before it has achieved an effective kill.

Vivotec’s disinfectants have the fastest tested and registered Virus kill times of 1-2 Min, meaning less disinfectant has to be used, minimising risk of saturation damage, dripping, streaking or residue, while also minimising costs.


Q: Some disinfectants claim to provide a residual disinfectant barrier which continues to work for days or weeks – is this correct?

A: Potentially in a controlled lab situation this may be possible, but practically in the real world it depends on many factors such as how much dirt or dust build-up will occur, and whether the surface will be cleaned again, potentially wiping off the residual chemical.

Many active ingredients of disinfectants also need to be wet to work so may not have ongoing effectiveness once dry.

Due to these factors there are no approved protocols for establishing or validating residual Viricidal activity, therefore any viricidal residual activity claims are not TGA approved, and are in breach of the Therapeutic Goods Act, so such claims should be treated with caution.


Q:What do we do to keep our work area clean and safe?

A: All surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected frequently every day. This would include doorknobs and push or panic bars on exit or fire doors, light switches, scanners, lunchroom tables, bathrooms, workstation surfaces, keyboards, telephones, cell phones…any surface that might be touched by multiple people. Also surfaces frequently touched in break rooms or eating areas, such as coffee pot handles, refrigerator handles, etc. If you wear work gloves during your shift, it is still recommended to wash or sanitize your hands after removing those gloves before touching other objects.

Q: How do I make sure I don’t get the virus at work?

A:  Good hand hygiene is the cornerstone of staying healthy. Everyone must either wash their hands with soap and water (if they are visibly dirty) or use hand sanitizer (if the hands look clean) before touching their face, before eating, after coughing, sneezing or blowing their nose, before entering a shared space such as a lunchroom or breakroom and at the start and end of a shift. If using soap, lather for 20 seconds before rinsing off the soap. If using hand sanitizer, your hands should remain wet for at least 20 seconds, while rubbing the sanitizer on all aspects of your hands. 

Q: Seeing as there are now only a few cases of the virus in NZ, can we stop sanitising?

A: World Health experts predict COVID-19 will continue to be a significant threat until populations either achieve herd immunity or alternatively there is an effective vaccine widely available, which is expected to at least 12-18 months away.

It only takes one person to start a cluster, so until these milestones are reached, there is risk of further outbreaks, especially once borders are opened again. It is important to minimise chances of potential community transmission through maintaining good hygiene standards and pre-emptive measures such as social spacing and effective sanitising programmes.

Q: Is COVID-19 the only reason to sanitise?

A: The COVID-10 virus is only one of the many pathogens which are eliminated by disinfecting. Approved disinfectants such as Vivotec’s PREempt, Klorsept, and Netbiokem, are all highly effective against a broad spectrum of virus’s, bacteria, spores, and other pathogens, including the H1N1, common flu virus, HIV, Staphylococcus, Hepatitis B, Norovirus, Salmonella, E.Coli etc.

According to Forbes Magazine the loss of productivity through absenteeism through illness costs American businesses over $575 billion dollars every year. Case studies involving schools and Universities in America have shown significantly reduced illness absenteeism following the implementation of a regular disinfecting programme.

Q: Many cleaning and/or disinfectant products on the market have pleasant smells such as citrus, lime etc. Why don’t Vivotec’s disinfectants have a scent?

A: A reason for creating a scent-free product is to avoid the masking of odours. In most cases, the smell of a cleaner and disinfectant has the effect of masking the odour of the chemical and ultimately the odour in the room or facility. Clean really has no smell. It is the absence of smell due to the absence of any odour causing materials. When you clean and disinfect with PREempt AHP or Netbiokem there isn’t a scent to mask the cleanliness, and with the Klorsept NaDCC there is just a faint chlorine scent which quickly dissipates. Your room or facility will eventually just smell clean.

Addition of scents which very often contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s) to cleaning and disinfectants is also one of the leading causes of fragrance sensitivity and negative affects to indoor air quality. By creating a product that is scent free there are fewer negative reactions by end users, fewer complaints by occupants of the facility and therefore, from an Occupational Health & Safety standpoint a better product to use.

The Hydrogen Peroxide component of AHP is an oxidizing agent, meaning it will oxidize and destroy certain compounds. Typically, the scents used in most cleaners fall into this group. It would be difficult to find a scent that would stay stable in the solution.

Q: What surfaces can Vivotec’s disinfectants be used on?

A: PREempt AHP can be used on virtually all surface types if label instructions are followed. Surfaces that are composed of brass or copper or other non-ferrous metals, may show signs of discoloration or pitting with use. AHP shouldn’t be used on raw metals such as carbon steel or cast iron. PREempt AHP breaks down into oxygen and water minutes after application and leaves no residue.

Klorsept is compatible with most materials other than carbon steel and cast iron. Unlike bleach, Klorsept NaDCC does not discolour fabrics, but should not be used on non-colourfast fabrics, wool or silk fabrics, or any fabric with a special finish. If applying around fabrics, test on an inconspicuous area prior to use. At the high strength 1 Min COVID kill dilution rate, there may be some slight powdery residue visible on smooth surfaces such as glass, plastic and stainless, which can be easily wiped off once dry.

Netbiokem DSAM disinfectant is approved by AIRBUS and BOEING for use in aircraft interiors and will not harm or damage fabrics, plastic, metals, rubber or other surfaces, and does not leave and visible residue.

Q: What is the probability of contracting an infectious disease in the course of daily activities?

A: Higher than you would like to think! – every public surface can potentially be contaminated with bacteria or viruses including, staph, hepatitis, norovirus, strep, HIV, salmonella, Influenza H1N1, rhinoviruses, C.Diff spores and much more.

Research has shown that:

  • The average desk was found to have 400 X more bacteria than a toilet seat
  • Tests proved that in just a few hours, viruses can spread to 60% of a building occupants from a single door knob.
  • Studies determined that 28% of gym surfaces tested positive for contamination
  • Statistics showed 3 out of 4 norovirus outbreaks occur in long term care facilities and nursing homes.
  • Norovirus is the #1 cause of acute gastroenteritis outbreaks worldwide.
  • The common cold Rhinovirus is the main reason the majority of our population misses school or work each year.
  • Every year one in four people are infected with influenza in New Zealand. Around 80% of these people are asymptomatic carriers who could have spread the virus among their family, co-workers, classmates and patients without ever realising it.
  • Flu accounts for over 30,000 GP visits and 2000 hospitalisations each year
  • It is estimated flu causes 500 deaths a year in New Zealand – more than the road toll.