Can I Use Paint Sprayers to Disinfect or Sanitize Surfaces?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has challenged businesses, schools and other public places to come up with efficient and effective ways to disinfectant, sanitize or deodorize surfaces.

With paint sprayers and electrostatic technology already widely used, maintenance staff, equipment distributors and many others are asking about using airless and/or electrostatic paint spray guns. Here’s how Graco industrial finishing experts are answering their questions.

I have an airless paint sprayer. Can I spray disinfectant or sanitizer with it?

No. The atomization produced by most airless paint sprayers is too strong, making most disinfectants, sanitizers and deodorizers less effective and possibly harming people nearby.

The chemicals also corrode commercial paint spray gun parts. (Units made for factory use usually hold up to acidic chemicals.)

Sanitation professionals should only use equipment made specifically for applying disinfectants, sanitizers and deodorizers. Using the right equipment ensures safe, reliable operation. It also minimizes maintenance and keeps people safe during application.

What about electrostatics for spraying disinfectants?

Many manufacturers prefer electrostatic applicators in their factory paint lines or paint booths because of improved transfer efficiency.

If electrostatics generally means more paint on parts and less waste, wouldn’t the same apply to disinfectants? That’s why maintenance staff and sanitation professionals consider commercial disinfectant electrostatic sprayers, especially for large jobs.

Using electrostatics for disinfecting has its positives and negatives (pun partially intended).

Using electrostatics for disinfecting has its positives and negatives (pun partially intended).  Positives include: Using electrostatics for disinfecting has its positives and negatives (pun partially intended).  Negatives include:  Problematic grounding: Effective and safe electrostatic application relies on proper grounding of the sprayer and the surface being sprayed. This is difficult to achieve outside of a controlled environment like an industrial paint spray booth.   The Faraday cage effect: When electrostatically spraying into recessed areas, the charged spray is attracted to the grounded area closest to the applicator, not the corner. To compensate, operators tend to: turn off or turn down the voltage of their electrostatic sprayers, or choose not to use an electrostatic gun

When it comes to using electrostatics for disinfecting, only use equipment made to apply waterborne material. (Most sanitizers are 99 percent water.)

Putting disinfectant, sanitizer or deodorizer in an electrostatic paint spray gun does not work well and can be dangerous.

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