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Clean and Disinfect Surfaces with “Dwell Time”

Actualizado: 2 nov 2021

In its simplest definition “Dwell” means to wait. Most cleaning professionals can tell you dwell time is the period of time a chemical needs to sit on a germ, bacteria or pathogen in order to kill it. The industry calls it “contact time.” Most folks do not understand disinfectant requires 30 seconds to 10 minutes or more of “contact time,” to kill a germ.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) definition of dwell time is "the amount of time that a disinfectant must be in contact with the surface, and remain wet, in order to achieve the product’s advertised kill rate." Each disinfectant has been approved with a different set dwell time. Understanding the possible pathogen in what being clean will help determine what cleaner will work best.

Three ways to best use Dwell Time:

Spray & Wait

If you’re using a disinfectant to kill germs, bacteria or pathogens but your un-sure of the dwell time here’s a pro tip. Evenly cover the infected area with a coat of disinfectant spray. Wait 5 minutes then clean area. If spots are left behind, you can always use more cleaner to wipe clean the area that has been disinfected.

Two-Step Cleaning and Dwell Times

Considered by most cleaning professionals as the most effective process to kill germs.

Step 1: Clean and remove unwanted debris from surfaces using a cleaning chemical with a microfiber cloth (any rag or cloth would work but to get the best look use a microfiber cloth).

Step 2: Apply a disinfectant to surfaces, allow for dwell time. Remove any unwanted chemical residue with a microfiber cloth.


For Maximum pathogen killing power use the Top-to-Bottom cleaning tactic. This type of dwell time cleaning is recommended for areas where a person with an infectious disease was.

Top-to-Bottom cleaning refers to deep cleaning the whole e area, from the ceiling fans to the floor broads. As an example, when cleaning a restroom, begin by cleaning and removing all unwanted soils from sinks, toilets, urinals, and other microbial hotspots. Then apply your disinfectant solution to the same areas to allow for proper dwell times.

Below are dwell times for some of our most popular cleaning and disinfecting products.

Disinfectant Products

EPA Recommended Dwell Times

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