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There is no room for quasi-science in the certification of environmental claims. In the long run, environmental marketing can only be effective if it is backed by sound scientific methodology.
By Nancy Goodyear, Robert DeMatteo, Daniel Warden, Jason Marshall
A surface disinfecting study conducted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA, is noteworthy in that it demonstrated consistent disinfection of surfaces by application of TANCS® steam vapor even when using a variety of different cloth or textile applicators. The data was presented by Dr. Nancy Goodyear - Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, Toxics Use Reduction Institute, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA - during a poster conference, “The Effect of Fabric Softeners on Disinfection by the AVT MondoVap 2400” at the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) AEC Conference, Friday, June 29, 2012, in San Diego CA.
The MondoVap 2400 (Advanced Vapor Technologies, AVT, Everett, WA) is a dry steam vapor system for sanitation and cleaning various surface types in homes, schools, and other institutions. This high temperature (-240° F at nozzle tip), low moisture (5 - 6% water) system requires no chemicals, only tap water. The device has been shown to be effective at disinfecting a wide range of microorganisms, including C. difficile spores and MS2 bacteriophage, a non-enveloped virus surrogate. The recommended procedure when using the larger cleaning attachments is to wrap the tool head with a cotton towel and to launder towels with laundry detergent, but without fabric softener. Users may not follow this recommendation. The purpose of this project was to compare the performance of cotton and microfiber towels when washed without fabric softener, with liquid fabric softener, and with dryer sheets.
Cotton towels were supplied by AVT. Quickie Clean Results microfiber cloths were purchased commercially (Quickie Mfg. Corp., Cinnaminson, NJ). Separate groups of cotton towels and microfiber cloths were laundered 10X using a standard household washer and dryer. One set of each was laundered with only laundry detergent, a second set with Ultra Downey Free and Sensitive liquid fabric softener, and a third set with Bounce Free and Sensitive dryer sheets (both Proctor & Gamble).
An overnight culture of E. coil (ATCC 21214) or S. aureus (6538) were spotted onto stainless steel coupons and air-dried. Coupons were cleaned for 5 seconds using the towel-wrapped triangular tool head. Cleaned coupons were placed in 15 mL PBS and mixed on a wrist action shaker for 5 minutes to ensure complete removal of any residual microorganisms. PBS aliquots were serially diluted and spread plated on TSA. After overnight incubation, colony counts were performed. Each test was performed in triplicate and positive (uncleaned) and negative (sterile) control coupons were tested with each run.
Results and Conclusion
All tests resulted in a 5 log reduction with 100% kill for both E. coil and S. aureus. Laundering cotton or microfiber towels with liquid fabric softener or dryer sheets had no impact on disinfection by the AVT MondoVap 2400.
This work was partially supported by Advanced Vapor Technologies (Everett, WA).
Nancy Goodyear - 1
Robert DeMatteo - 2
Daniel Warden - 2
Jason Marshall - 3
1 - Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
2 - Department of Biological Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
3 - Toxics Use Reduction Institute, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA
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