How next generation hydrogen peroxide sterilising is better and safer than you think

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Sterilising is way better than it was – a new generation of safe

Next generation is right – a long way from the days of steam.

Remember that?

Battling like crazy to get keep  the temperature high enough. Burned hands in spite of the gloves and paint flaking off everything that came near. And the impossible – maintaining enough contact time.  Plus of course, the dripping moisture everywhere afterwards.

Yes, so hydrogen peroxide was a big step forward back then. The old new generation. And the revolutionary idea of fogging the place up. Hydrogen peroxide vapour. Mind-blowing, but it worked. Even though it was a bit clunky.

First was the concentration level of hydrogen peroxide. Potent stuff, not to be played around with – like a 90% solution was used as rocket fuel. And the Royal Navy even used it to power  their “blonde” submarines back in the 1950s.

Back in the bad old days

OK, the 35% solution used for sterilising was a lot milder. But still strong enough to be a hazard to health. Handling it needed protective gear – and complete evacuation of the place being treated. Pretty disruptive in a busy hospital, shutting whole areas off for days at a time.

Impossible in business – sterilising offices, that sort of thing. A revolutionary thought, yes – but too hazardous, too bulky, and too lengthy a procedure.

Plus of course even at 35%, hydrogen peroxide was highly corrosive.

And still is today. Sensitive materials or equipment have to be removed first, or run the risk of damage. Surfaces bubble, melt or simply crumble away. Effective sterilising treatment, but truly a double-edged sword.

But the major problem as always, is the moisture.

At 35% concentration, any fogging solution can only become a vapour (HPV). Basically airborne water drops flavoured with peroxide. Even sprayed super-fine, it is heavier than air. Dispersal is limited to the pressure from the pump. And being basically water, it’s wet.

Fog a room up with that stuff and it will kill a lot of germs – very efficient with those it comes in contact with.

Wet, wet, wet

But very quickly, the place is laden with moisture. Like a Turkish bath, or a shower cubicle in a room with all the windows shut.

Water is everywhere – in the air, on all surfaces. Sometimes gathering in pools as the moisture-laden droplets sink to the floor after spraying. Not good for electrical connections or IT equipment. Or expensive diagnostic equipment, thinking of hospitals.

But that’s the price with HPV. Either live with the moisture, or add another machine to dry the place out. And hope like crazy nothing gets too damp before it does so.

Which is why more advanced hydrogen peroxide sterilising systems are truly next generation.

There is no moisture – or at least very little. And what there is evaporates before it can settle. Effectively a dry mist.

Concentration levels are next generation too. Only 6% versus 35%.

That makes it no more hazardous than the stuff at the chemist – also 6%. Still something to be handled with care, but not so potent. Enough to cause coughing or eyes to smart – not good for an asthma condition. But safe enough to be handled by untrained or casual personnel.

What about fire-power? Isn’t it too mild? Can it really kill germs? Doesn’t 6% pull its teeth?

Surprisingly, no. Which is what makes it new generation.

Goodbye hydrogen peroxide vapour (HPV). Hello IONISED hydrogen peroxide(iHP)

The ionising game-changer

Ionising is the game-changer.

First, it electrostatically charges the hydrogen peroxide particles, forcing them to repel each other. Not just sprayed out, but driven by power dispersal. The exiting mist spreads rapidly in all directions, trying to escape itself. Which shoves it through the air and hard up against all surfaces – pushing behind, under and through – forcing itself into every crack and crevice.

Second, that charge is opposite to the natural charge of pathogens. So the particles actively grab at bacteria, viruses and fungi – attracted like magnets. Clamped in a death grip, they are attacked by oxygen atoms and ripped to pieces.

Third, its not just hydrogen peroxide doing the job. Although only a 6% solution, ionising it changes its state – like ice becomes water, and water becomes steam. Except in this case the mist becomes a plasma – the fourth state of matter. This releases other antimicrobials – hydroxyl radicals, reactive oxygen species, reactive nitrogen species, ozone and ultraviolet.   It might be only 6%, but it’s turbo-charged more like 600%.

Fourth, because it’s a milder solution, the mist it makes is finer, lighter – and held easily aloft by its electrostatic charge. So fine, it’s almost not wet at all. So that when it dissipates to become oxygen and water after germs are killed, the water evaporates immediately. No moisture, no damp, no dripping threats to power cables or sensitive connections. And no drying necessary either.

Contact time? Two minutes at room temperature is all it needs to takeout most pathogens, like this lot here.   Stack that up against steam, which needs to maintain 120⁰C for 30 minutes. Or VHP, which needs around 10 minutes to be effective.

On top of which the whole job can be done by a roll-in and press-button mobile unit that does it all automatically. To a 6-Log Sterility Assurance Level – 99.9999% germ-free.

Like we said, next generation.

And definitely better and safer.

Picture Copyright: luismolinero / 123RF Stock Photo