A new electrostatic cleaning sprayer in use by a Facilities Operations and Development custodian. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State

When campus buzzes back to life in the fall, students, staff and faculty will be joined by the low buzz hum of electrostatic cleaning sprayers.

The new sprayers are part of Ohio State’s effort to sanitize high-touch surfaces in academic halls, research buildings and administrative buildings during COVID-19. The sprayers have a mixture of disinfectants and use an electrical charge so the cleaning particles stick and wrap around surfaces, such as light switches, door handles, desks, chairs, and other shared spaces and surfaces, according to the university’s Facilities Operations and Development.

University spokesperson Dan Hedman said in an email that the new cleaning regimen meets or exceeds recommendations for cleaning requirements from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and includes guidance from state and local health authorities and recommendations from the safe campus and scientific advisory subgroup of the university’s COVID-19 transition task force.

FOD custodians will clean the high-touch surfaces at least twice a day with a chemical called Vital Oxide, which has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use against the coronavirus.

To clean academic, research and administrative buildings twice a day, Hedman said, other cleaning tasks, such as vacuuming and emptying trash cans in offices, may not be done as regularly.

Ohio State was unable to provide an estimate for the total cleaning cost, but Hedman said the university expects cleaning costs to be higher than normal.

Staff and faculty may still be responsible for cleaning their workspaces, and a full list of individual cleaning requirements can be found on FOD’s website. Some places individuals will need to clean on their own include:

Individual offices — Staff and faculty who have their own offices will need to empty their trash cans and recycling bins into centrally located containers. They will also be responsible for wiping down and disinfecting their personal workstations.

Research labs — Those in research labs are responsible for cleaning personal and shared workstations, lab benches and sinks before and after every use. 

Kitchen and break rooms — Staff and faculty are responsible for disinfecting kitchen equipment they use and wiping down surfaces.

Conference rooms — When in-person meetings are required, everyone is responsible for disinfecting the room’s high-touch surfaces.

Classrooms — Although FOD will clean classrooms, the university encourages everyone to wipe down desks, high-touch surfaces and other shared equipment before and after use.