“At the beginning of the pandemic, nobody really knew much about how best to clean,” recalled Liz Metzger, director of the Canastota Library. “We were told to clean whatever we could. We found some spray sanitizers that were supposed to kill 99.9% of germs. We all wore our gloves and masks.” But, after spending $3,000 on personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, spray cleaners and hand sanitizing stations, the library was at a loss for how to sustain this high level of diligence over the long-term.
“We needed to find a fast, easy, cost-effective way to do significant cleaning,” Metzger said. Seeking a solution, the Madison County Library System received a community grant from us to purchase several fogging sanitizers.
The X9 Cordless Atomizing Foggers are used much like a painter’s power sprayer. They were purchased in conjunction with G1 Disinfectant Generators and pH strips to test the solution. In about 30 minutes, Liz can create non-toxic Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) in the generator by mixing salt, water and vinegar in the machine’s basin. After testing quickly with a pH strip, she pours the solution, which will kill 99.9% of germs, into the fogging sanitizer.
The librarians use the fogger to spray all hard surfaces in the bathrooms, kitchen, stairwells, and elevators. They are not able to fog the books or their fabric-covered chairs, but otherwise, they cover everything. After the librarians spent months walking around carrying rags and sprays, this was a great relief.
“We were wiping down every possible surface: countertops, handrails, doorknobs, keyboards, chairs, tables and every surface in the bathroom. Everybody on staff was doing it,” remarked Metzger. A complete cleaning was taking upwards of three hours and now it only takes 20 minutes to clean an entire library.
Metzger has learned to really appreciate the machine, calling it cost-effective and easy-to-use. The fogger has a rechargeable battery, so the only additional cost beyond the machine and solvent producer is the salt and vinegar, which are both very inexpensive.
The only downfall of the sprayer is the loud noise. Since libraries are known to be on the quiet-side, patrons won’t see the sprayer used during business hours. However, the sprayers are available to be borrowed, just like a library book. Metzger’s machine has a bar code sticker and can be checked out to any organization or individual with a library card. The library will concoct the solution and the fogger will be ready for patron use. While schools, churches, doctors’ offices and stores can benefit, individuals can also borrow it to clean their home, especially if they are having visitors.
“I love that today’s libraries have items that are a little out of the ordinary,” added Metzger. “Every library in our system has a unique thing: one library has a power tool selection for loaning, another has fishing poles and we have disc golf sets. So, adding foggers to this list makes us even more useful to the community.
Along with the Canastota Library, Cazenovia, Chittenango, DeRuyter and Oneida each have foggers that are for library use and available to borrow.