We have all heard the food recalls because a product is or may be contaminated with one of the various bacteria that can lead to what’s referred to as food poisoning. This term is a broad, generic one and includes things like salmonella and e.coli. These are the most common ones, but there are others.

Improper Food Handling Can Lead to Food-Borne Illnesses

Would you be surprised to know that a significant percentage of food poisoning results not from commercially prepared food but from home cooking? Random testing of home kitchens that appeared extremely clean showed high concentrations of bacteria and viruses, the most common places being the kitchen and the bathroom. (Believe it or not, the kitchen is worse.)

The National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) found that areas where food is stored or prepared had more bacteria and fecal contamination than other places in the home.

Source: Healthline.com

As you probably realize, people often look to social media as the source of information. The problem is, it’s usually just opinion and not necessarily accurate or reliable unless it’s from a reputable source. We caution people about relying on what they see on Facebook or elsewhere when it comes to safe food handling.

We recently saw a post from a food blogger that alarmed us. She posed the question, “Do you wash your raw chicken before cooking it?”

First of all, we’d comment that was probably a very irresponsible question. Just because lots of people do it doesn’t make it right. And as you might imagine, there were two sides in the answers, both very vocal. And those who were diehard poultry washers refused to believe information posted from the CDC, the USDA, the FDA and other official sources. One vehement individual commented that “if you want to make your family sick because you don’t wash your chicken, go ahead.”

You may have learned from mom or grandma or whoever taught you to cook that you should always wash that slimy meat before you prepare it. But doing so is highly advised against. Much like flushing a toilet without the lid closed sends hundreds of droplets of bacteria-contaminated water airborne, washing a chicken in your sink can spread that invisible bacteria all over your kitchen, including up your nose.

The basic issue here is clean vs. disinfected. That washed chicken may look clean and no longer feel slimy, but appearance can be deceiving. Microorganisms are generally too small to see (except for mold), and they usually don’t smell.

That’s why our biohazard cleanup and remediation technicians don’t rely on just cleaning products, and neither should you. Know the basic safe food handling rules and use disinfectants to regularly treat your kitchen, both before and after food preparation. And don’t forget your hands!

As a biohazard remediation company, we do a variety of tasks to make sure that surfaces are not only clean but are free of any hazardous residue that might cause health problems. Often that involves the same sort of thing you’d do to maintain your home. It starts with cleaning, of course. Clean surfaces are not only more visually appealing but also are easier to work with for the next step: Disinfecting.

And no, just because it’s clean doesn’t mean there are no infectious organisms present. And there’s often confusion or misunderstanding on that issue. Never assume that because something looks clean that there is nothing hazardous lurking on it. Particles of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are microscopic and cannot be detected with the naked eye. And what’s worse, if the surface is a porous material such as carpet or fabric or even wood, getting what you see clean doesn’t deal with what may have been absorbed into it.

That alone is why we often have to pull out carpet when there is a major blood spill or human or animal fluids like urine. A wet substance will be wicked into the material and drawn beneath the surface. In the case of a carpet, it might even soak into the wood sub-floor and require a tear-out and replacement of the wood.

This is kind of a long explanation, but perhaps you’ll understand now why ‘clean’ doesn’t always mean disinfected. And vice versa.

Unless a product is labeled as a ‘disinfecting cleaner,’ it won’t do both. Disinfectants may not clean. For example, if a surface is greasy, a disinfectant may neutralize infectious organisms but don’t deal with the grease. Same thing with a stained spot. And cleaners won’t necessarily disinfect. That’s why our biohazard crews use both types of products.

What about sanitizing, you may ask. That’s another issue for another post. But you should be aware that disinfecting and sanitizing may be similar, but they are not the same thing. Watch our blog for our upcoming article discussing these two processes. (You can also read an earlier article on the three processes with some detailed information by clicking here.)

The EPA just announced it has approved two Lysol spray disinfectants as effective against the COVID-19 virus (technically SARS-CoV-2). The announcement indicates the sprays will kill the virus when sprayed on hard surfaces that are not porous. (This excludes cloth surfaces, carpet, furniture, etc.).  According to the EPA – which lists over 400 products on its list as effective against what they term ‘harder to kill’ microorganisms, these two are the first to be tested against this particular virus and shown to be effective.  They are:

  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray
  • Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist

This video from ABC7 news shares the information:


But there is a catch – spray and wipe won’t do it.  Disinfecting is a different process than cleaning, and you need to use different techniques. We’re used to spraying and then immediately wiping when cleaning, but using that method for disinfecting simply wastes the product and does not disinfect.  (Most disinfectants need to remain wet on a surface for an extended period – usually about 2 or three minutes.)

With these Lysol sprays, it takes 2 minutes to be effective, which means that the surface sprayed needs to remain wet the the product for at least 2 minutes. We want to point out that use of these disinfectant sprays – as well as any other disinfectant product – will only achieve the desired results when the instructions on the label are followed. 

As a bio-hazard cleanup and remediation company, we understand the importance of reading and following label directions for any products we use, regardless of whether they are for cleaning or disinfecting.  If you have questions about COVID-19 approved cleaners and disinfectants and how to use them, we encourage you to visit the EPA website.

MedTech Cleaners is currently offering COVID-19 cleanup and disinfecting in a number of areas of the Pacific Northwest, specifically in the greater Spokane and Seattle areas, but we also have other locations in Idaho, Oregon, and Montana.  To find out if we cover your area, please callus at (877) 691-6706.  Our phone is answered 24/7. 



With the empty shelves at stores everywhere – a shortage of toilet paper, hand sanitizers, hand soap, and disinfectant cleaners, people are understandably concerned about protecting themselves from the spread of COVID-19.  We’ve seen lots of reports and social media posts showing people using disinfectant cleaning wipes (most of them improperly).  Here is some basic information on cleaning and disinfecting that is generally applicable to any infectious agent.

  • Cleaners and disinfectants are two separate things.  Cleaners don’t disinfect, nor do disinfectants clean.  Anything you do to take care of germs in your home requires two steps: clean first, then disinfect.
  • Most people use disinfectants improperly.  Simply wiping and drying off the surface accomplishes nothing.  In fact, you may make things worse.  Whether you use sprays or wipes, wipe in ONE direction only. Otherwise all you are doing is spreading the germs by wiping back and forth.  You’re dragging a cloth or wipe that is now germ-laden over a surface you’ve previously applied disinfectant to, effectively re-contaminating it.
  • Disinfectants must remain wet to be effective. Once a surface is clean, if you use a disinfectant product, it MUST remain wet on the surface for a sufficient amount of time in order to kill the germs.   For example, a bleach solution requires about a 10-minute time frame of remaining wet to be effective.  Other disinfectants may recommend 3 minutes. Whatever you use as a disinfectant, read the label for the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Wear gloves when cleaning or disinfecting – disposables are best. If you use non-disposable gloves, they will need to be disinfected as well, such as soaking in a bleach solution.  If you are not wearing gloves, your hands can become infected, and then whatever you touch (like your face) will be contaminated.
  • Sponges, wiping cloths, etc. should either be disposed of properly or sanitized. The best method? Your microwave.  Research shows that 2 minutes in a microwave will effectively kill bacteria and viruses.
  • Wipes or sprays? Previously it was felt that wipes were a better way to disinfect than spray cleaners, mostly because they were a one-use item that was convenient and could be easily disposed of.  However, many experts believe that spray disinfectants are a better way to go.  In fact, Dr. Oz today stated when he guest hosted on “The View” that he believed using wipes did more to spread it than kill germs.  (He has said this in other interviews as well.  You can read more of his coronavirus survival tips in this article.)
  • Don’t forget to sanitize items your hands touch. This includes phones, tablets, computer mouses, keyboards, etc., and even your car keys – not just hard surfaces in your home.  Keep in mind that certain solutions should NOT be used on digital items, so check with the manufacturer for their recommendations.

As a company who professionally cleans and disinfects to address the presence of viruses, bacteria, and other biohazards, we take every precaution to make sure we’re killing germs and not just cleaning surfaces. If you’ve got questions about our services or the area we cover, please contact us.  



Thought to have been all but eradicated in 2000, measles has reared its head again, in some places in almost epidemic proportions.  Active outbreaks have been reported in the past year in at least 23 states, one of them being Washington. (The first confirmed case was in 2018 Clark County in the southwest part of the state, including Vancouver. Since then it has spread.)  Measles is highly contagious; in fact, the CDC states that approximately 90% of unvaccinated individuals who are near to a person with the disease will contract it themselves. (However, if you contracted measles as a child, you have developed a natural immunity.)

A small number of individuals who were previously vaccinated have also developed the measles. Part of the reason is that the measles vaccine used to be a one-dose procedure; but it is now given on a two-dose basis to increase protection. But it’s still not 100% effective. About 3% of those who received the MMR vaccine do not develop an immunity to measles. So there is a very slight possibility that even if you and your family have had the two-dose measles vaccine, you might develop it anyway if you encounter someone with an active case.

Why is measles such a health threat?  The virus responsible can live on hard surfaces and in the air for up to two hours after an individual has been in the space. Should that person cough, the virus is dispersed into the air in very small droplets. Simply breathing within the area or touching a hard surface like a door knob where the person coughed means you may come into contact with it without even being aware. And what’s even worse, a person who has developed the measles may be contagious for up to four days BEFORE the rash even appears. So someone might have an active case without being aware of it. Fever is usually the first symptom, but because so many things can cause a fever, you might not even suspect measles as the culprit.

So what can you do if measles has been brought into your home, either because someone living there has come down with it, or someone has brought the microorganism in?  Here are some things you can do to disinfect your home.

Disinfecting Your Home After the Measles

If measles has affected your home, it’s important to take steps to decontaminate it and continue to disinfect so long as someone in your home has the measles. The virus is contagious for four days after the rash appears, so keep up your cleaning regimen even after the rash fades, if it is within that time period.

The most important thing you and those who live in your home can do to prevent the spread of measles is to frequently wash your hands. Adding hand sanitizer can help even more.  Wear a particle mask and avoid touching your face.  Also:

  • Immediately dispose of used tissues, since the virus can remain on them for up to 2 hours. Place them in a covered trash can to cut down on the possibility of microbe transmission.
  • Use cleaners approved by the EPA as disinfectants to clean hard surfaces.  Follow the label instructions carefully, because some cleaners may need to stay wet on the surface for a minute or longer, some up to 10-15 minutes.  Pay special attention to things like door knobs and sink faucet handles.  Also, all flat surfaces that are horizontal (such as tables and counters) should be cleaned with a disinfectant in case airborne particles have landed on them. Toys also need to be disinfected.
  • Use spray mists to disinfect the air.  Not all air fresheners are disinfectants, so look for one that has confirmed disinfecting capability, such as Lysol spray.  Many hospitals in Europe are now using mists made of a combination of essential oils that are believed to carry germs (these include rosemary, cajeput and pine needle oils).

The measles virus is highly susceptible to kill-off from ultraviolet light, so letting sunshine into your home can help. So can high heat, so laundering clothing and soft items like stuffed animals and then running them through the dryer should kill any viruses on their surfaces.

Some public facilities that have experienced active measles contamination may opt to have a professional biohazard cleaning company like ours come in and handle the disinfection, but most likely you won’t need to resort to that for your own home.  Hopefully following our tips above should do the job.







As a bio-hazard cleaning company, one of our primary goals is to stop the spread of germs on whatever project we’re working on.  That often involves use of industrial strength cleaners and our technicians generally wear protective hazmat suits.  But what about cleaning in your own home?  This flu season, you can use these tips to stop the spread of germs that can lead to colds and flu. Yes, germs are everywhere, and it’s very easy to come in contact with them. But there are things you can do to reduce your exposure.

Germ Transmission 101: How Cold & Flu Germs Get Spread

Sure, you and everyone in your family went out and got your flu shot, so your home is protected, right?  Wrong.  One reason colds and flu proliferate at this time of year is that germs are easily spread.  And while you might not contract an illness, you can be responsible for spreading those germs.  And unless you lock yourselves indoors all winter and don’t allow guests to enter, there are going to be germs. You carry them in from the outside, and they get spread around your home.

There are four main types of what we call germs

  • Bacteria (one cell microorganisms that can reproduce inside or outside the body)
  • Viruses (can only reproduce inside the living cell of a host)
  • Fungi (multi-celled, plant-like)
  • Protozoa (one-cell microorganisms that live in moist areas and are spread via water)

The amount of time each of these can live varies.  For example, viruses that cause colds can only survive a short amount of time on the exterior of your body, such as your hands. Some survive only moments, but the rhinoviruses – those responsible for colds – can live up to an hour. The same is true for viruses on hard surfaces. The average on a tissue is only 15 minutes.

Flu viruses are a little more resistant than those responsible for colds. They can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours.  But they may only last on a tissue for about 15 minutes, and in the air a couple of hours.  Some aggressive bacteria and viruses such as c. difficile and the norovirus can last for days, even weeks. In one study, c.diff was found to survive for 5 months on a hard surface. The best advice is to assume those little bugs are going to hang around for awhile unless you get rid of them.

How to Cut Down on the Spread of Germs

Here are some simple steps you can do to reduce the spread of germs this season:

  • The most effective thing you can do to stop the spread of cold and flu germs is to wash your hands – often and properly.  A simple water rinse isn’t enough.  Using soap and water whenever possible, wash your hands for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice. If soap and water isn’t available, use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your mucous membrane areas – eyes, nose, mouth.
  • Take steps to keep your immune system strong (good nutrition, adequate sleep, hydration, and exercise)
  • Be proactive with cleaning: Use a disinfectant spray or wipe that specifically is labeled as effective against cold and flu viruses.  Don’t like chemicals? A mix of hot water and vinegar has been shown to be effective.  (Chlorine bleach does not always work on germs involving organic matter, but the CDC says it is effective against cold and flu viruses.) Wear rubber gloves to reduce skin contact.
  • Allow cleaned surfaces to air dry; resist the urge to speed things up by wiping afterward with a paper towel. The disinfectant continues to work as it dries.
  • Eliminate damp areas, since germs often will multiple in moist conditions. That means things like clothing, bath towels, and dish-cleaning implements like dish scrubbers and wands.

And finally, if you are sick, stay home! It doesn’t do any good to go see your doctor for an antibiotic, because colds and flu are viruses and antibiotics don’t help.  Your clinic will appreciate it if  you keep your germs at home.







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