Safety Precautions When Using Electrostatic Sprayers, Foggers, Misters, or Vaporizers for Surface Disinfection During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Carefully select cleaners and disinfectantsexternal icon and application methods for use in facilities, businesses, and public indoor spaces to ensure that you can clean and disinfect safely and effectively.

In most situations, cleaning surfaces (using soap or detergent) is enough to reduce SAR-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Clean surfaces before disinfecting.

Disinfection (using a product or process designed to inactivate SARS-CoV-2) is recommended in indoor community settings where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours; when the presence of infectious virus is more likely. When disinfecting, choose the safest method that is also effective. For most situations, using traditional disinfectant methods, such as liquids, wipes, or disinfectant spray bottles, is sufficient to reduce virus exposure. Be sure to use products safely and according to label instructions, and use products that are on EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19)external icon.

Electrostatic sprayer: A device that works by applying a small electrical charge to aerosols when passing through the nozzle. These charged droplets adhere easier and stick to environmental surfaces.

Fogger (also known as mister): A device that uses a fan and a liquid solution to create a fog (aerosol with small droplets) or mist.

Vaporizer: A device used with hydrogen peroxide disinfectant solutions. Doors and ventilation systems must be sealed while in use. Should be used only in healthcare or laboratory settings.

Choosing to use an electrostatic sprayer, fogger, mister, or vaporizer:

If trained professionals are available to apply them, people may decide to use newer technologies that either spray disinfectant electrostatically, or disperse it through fog, mist, or vapor. Cases where these technologies could be more practical include situations where there might be a confirmed case of COVID-19, use of the space is needed quickly, and some surfaces could be very hard to reach to disinfect by hand. These are sometimes used in healthcare settings after a patient is no longer using a room.

These devices aerosolize chemicals, or suspend them in the air, and they can stay in the air for long periods of time, especially if the area is not well ventilated. Aerosolizing any disinfectant can irritate the skin, eyes, or airways and can cause other health issues for people who breathe it in.

CDC does not either recommend, or not recommend, use of these devices for disinfecting community spaces for COVID-19. If they are used, they should be used with extreme caution. A disinfectant product’s safety and effectivenesspdf icon might change based on how you use it. If electrostatic sprayers or foggers are used, they should be used:

  • Only by trainedexternal icon professionals
  • With disinfectants approvedexternal icon for this method of application
  • According to manufacturer instructions for safety, use, and contact time
  • With appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety measures to ensure safety for the operator, others nearby, and for people who might use the room afterward
  • When rooms are not occupied
  • With extreme caution if using around food preparation or areas where children play

For information about the application of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) List N disinfectantspdf icon with electrostatic sprayers and foggers, refer to the EPA’s “Can I use fogging, fumigation, or electrostatic spraying or drones to help control COVID-19?” websiteexternal icon. If the product’s label does not include disinfection directions for use with fogging, fumigation, wide-area or electrostatic spraying, EPA has not reviewed any data on whether the product is safe and effective when used by those methods.

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