Foggers (devices that create a fog) are often associated with pest control. When activated, they release an ultra-fine, insecticidal spray that fills the room, killing mosquitoes and a variety of other pests.
However, foggers are not solely confined to the realms of bug control. In fact, these versatile tools can create a fine mist of almost any kind of solution. When loaded with disinfectant, they can be used to clean and sanitize rooms around the home, office and other commercial spaces.
But which type of fogger is best for disinfection and sanitization purposes, and can you do it at home?
Can you use a mosquito fogger to disinfect or sanitize a room?
Using a mosquito fogger to sanitize a room is often called whole room fogging (WRF).
Whole room fogging involves filling the entire room with a disinfectant mist, which is intended to sanitize every corner and surface.
This is rather an extreme cleaning measure for the average home, and foggers are most often used to disinfect commercial food manufacturing spaces, where avoiding microbial contamination is of utmost importance. They may also be used to tackle mold problems or to sanitize areas that are known to be contaminated with infectious agents.
Home use of fogging devices is usually reserved for tackling large numbers of mosquitoes, roaches or other pests. However, foggers may also be used to disinfect a room in the aftermath of a heavy infestation.
Some pests, such as rats and cockroaches, harbor a wide variety of potentially harmful bacteria that they trail over every surface of your home. If you’ve just dealt with an invasion, a fogger may be the best way to quickly and efficiently disinfect surfaces around your home, thereby reducing your risk of getting sick.
What are the different types of foggers, and which is best for room disinfection?
Foggers come in many shapes and sizes, but they all fall, broadly, into one of two categories: thermal foggers and cold foggers.
Cold foggers are more commonly known as ultra-low volume (ULV) foggers.
The main difference between the two is how they create liquid particles. Thermal foggers use heat to produce a fine mist, while ULV (aka cold) foggers use pressure to achieve this effect.
Thermal foggers often produce smaller liquid particles than ULV foggers, meaning the droplets take longer to fall to the ground. This is useful if you’re spraying for mosquitoes, as the longer the droplets are suspended in the air, the more likely they are to come into contact with and kill the bugs.
When fogging for disinfection, however, this effect isn’t necessary. Sanitation occurs when the disinfectant droplets land on surfaces, so the amount of time they spend in the air isn’t as important.
Another benefit of using ULV foggers for disinfection over thermal foggers, however, is that you can easily adjust the droplet size using the machine’s settings. This makes it a more versatile tool than the thermal fogger, with a wider range of potential uses (from disinfection to mold removal to mosquito control).
What’s more, cold foggers are considered safer to use indoors. This is because they don’t heat up like thermal foggers and, therefore, present less fire risk.
Both thermal and ULV foggers can be used indoors, but ULV foggers are generally considered to be more suitable (and safer) for disinfection purposes.
Tips and tricks for effective fogger disinfection
If you’ve decided to use a disinfectant fogger at home, it’s vital that you follow the instructions for your chosen device to the letter. Thermal foggers can create a fire risk if used indoors, and the chemical-containing mist produced by all foggers can be hazardous if inhaled.
Utilize the following tips and tricks for safe and effective fogger disinfection:
- Do your research: Before you set off any kind of fogger, it’s important to know exactly what type of device and disinfectant you need to use. This will largely depend on the size of the area you want to disinfect, as some foggers can only be used to sanitize one room at a time, while others can be used to treat larger areas.
- Prepare the area: Remove everything that may be damaged if it becomes damp (for example, electronics or books). Furniture should also be covered before the treatment, as the spray may damage or stain fabrics and other surfaces. Remove and store any food items that may be contaminated by the treatment (including pet food). Finally, ensure the area is completely evacuated of all humans and animals before setting off any kind of fogger.
- Wait: Do the treatment, carefully following the device’s instructions when doing so. Keep people and pets out of the area while the treatment is in progress, and for at least an hour afterward to allow the mist to settle and dry. Once again, follow the instructions on your device/disinfectant label carefully to avoid mishaps.
- Air out the room: When it is safe to return to the sanitized area, open all the windows and doors to air out the room. This will disperse or dry out any remaining liquid particles.
Both thermal and ULV foggers can be safely used for disinfection purposes. However, it is important to observe the following safety precautions when using any type of fogger or when choosing the best fogging insecticide or disinfectant:
- Always read the labels’ directions carefully before using any type of fogger.
- Make sure all people and pets have been evacuated from the area to be treated.
- Remove or cover any items that could be damaged or contaminated during the fogging treatment (e.g. food, furniture, and electronics).
- Avoid returning to the treated area until the appropriate amount of time has elapsed.
- Once treatment is complete, ventilate the area thoroughly by opening all windows and doors.
A sanitizing fogger can be a valuable tool for disinfecting houses, offices and other spaces. These versatile tools have many uses and can effectively kill mosquitoes, microbes (such as fungi, bacteria, and viruses), and other pests.
When using a fogger for disinfection purposes, it is very important to do your research first! The type of fogger, whether that will be a mosquito sprayer backpack or commercial fogger, and disinfectant you use will depend on the size and nature of the space to be treated.
On top of that, always follow the directions on the device and disinfectant labels carefully to avoid injury or illness and, when in doubt, seek professional advice.