When the COVID-19 outbreak ramped up in March, public facilities like airports started focusing on measures to augment daily cleaning routines in an effort to combat the virus. The Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) Custodial team likewise boosted its cleaning and sanitizing of the airport’s 3.3 million square feet of terminal complex by adding deep cleaning of the facility and sanitizing of high touch point areas like elevator buttons and hand rails with germicides and other potent disinfectants.
This week, PHL welcomed a new weapon in its virus-fighting arsenal. The airport began training Custodial personnel in using the Clorox Total 360 System, which uses electrostatic technology to disinfect surfaces in less time and more comprehensively than traditional cleaning methods.
“We are utilizing this equipment with the intentions of making our passengers feel confident that they can return to a clean airport,” said PHL Maintenance Manager Milton Robinson. “As we continue to disinfect high touch points in the airport, these machines will make our process more efficient.”
According to Cleaning and Maintenance Management, “Electrostatic sprayers work by charging liquids (cleaners, sanitizers, disinfectants) as they pass through a sprayer nozzle. This generates charged droplets that repel one another and actively seek out environmental surfaces, which they stick to and even wrap around to coat all sides. The result is a uniform coating of sanitizer or disinfectant on sprayed objects, including hard-to-reach areas that manual cleaning can miss. The technology also helps avoid liquid pooling often associated with trigger sprayers.”
The airport has purchased six units at a cost of $4,000 per unit.
“The electrostatic technology charges the particles so that they wrap themselves around objects without having to point the nozzle behind objects so it’s easier to reach behind and underneath objects and hard to reach areas,” noted Leah Douglas, PHL Director of Guest Experience. “It’s also safe to spray on papers and electronics left on top of employee desks and there’s no mixing of chemicals for our employees, which is safe for everyone.”
According to Dwayne Brown, PHL Custodial Operations Manager, the Clorox 360 System will kill bacteria in five seconds and the virus in two minutes. The surfaces dry in five minutes, which allows custodians to disinfect restrooms between flights without closing them down for a long period of time.
The electrostatic spraying will be done daily in restrooms, hold rooms, Division of Aviation administrative office areas, pantries, breakrooms, conference rooms, bag claim areas, elevators and checkpoints. The work will take place primarily at night but also during the day.