COVID-19 and Beyond: Antimicrobial Surface Protectants

The COVID-19 pandemic is just the most recent world event bringing to light the importance of cleaning, sanitation and hygiene to business continuity and employee health and wellbeing. For the better part of three decades, antimicrobial surface protectants (ASPs) have shown to be effective against a variety of bacterial and viral threats. Even as knowledge about COVID-19 evolves to focus on airborne aerosol transmission, ASPs remain an important part of cleaning protocols now and in the future.

C&W Services’ review of ASPs is focused on better understanding the variety of products in the marketplace available to mitigate infection risk. Integrating ASPs into your cleaning protocols ensures the cleaning efforts you’re investing in are as effective as possible, and even an incremental increase in safety is an important and worthy investment.

ASPs were originally developed to reduce the number of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) plaguing the healthcare industry. In medical settings and beyond, they have shown to be very effective against pneumonia, MRSA and c.difficile (c.diff), all of which pose dangers beyond to the workplace and workers.

For example, MRSA’s ease of surface to human cross-contamination has been known to severely effect workers in hot/humid, poorly maintained manufacturing space, refineries and ‘dirty’ industrial spaces. A MRSA outbreak in a facility can bring production to a halt, the same way COVID-19 brought the global economy to its slowest growth period in decades.


COVID-19 prevention measures such as widespread mask wearing, hand hygiene and social distancing efforts have helped suppress other common respiratory and gastrointestinal viruses over the past year. However, experts say they could make a vigorous comeback when coronavirus cases eventually decline. Viruses and bacteria such as norovirus are harder to combat on surfaces, but ASPs work well against surface borne threats. Taking a proactive approach with proper cleaning protocols with Level I and Level II cleaning plus the addition of the proper ASP can go a long way in reducing surface to human cross-contamination

  • Dispersion of cleaners and disinfectants are not always reliable even with an electrostatic sprayer. ASPs provide an extra layer of protection against unforeseen human error when cleaning and disinfecting.

  • Proper placement of polymer-based ASP films can help reduce potential bacterial cross-contamination from doorknobs, to shared tools, push-plates, elevator buttons, and handrails.

  • Some ASPs have hydrophobic properties, i.e. they repel water/moisture. These hydrophobic ASPs have been used on buildings as a coating to reduce mildew and algae buildup. Algae on an untreated surface will retain moisture that leaches into walls and can cause heat loss. ASP use can create a radiative response difference and therefore an ‘energy gain’, reducing energy costs.

  • Paints from our efficacy study have been shown to retain their antimicrobial properties for up to a decade. These paints are an excellent choice to reduce mildew growth in high moisture areas such as gyms, locker rooms, shower rooms and restrooms.


  • A leading global computer software producer is actively treating more than 125 of its facilities with ASPs as they plan for the eventual return of 50,000 personnel

  • A major aircraft manufacturer is actively treating their corporate headquarters, manufacturing facilities and planes rolling off the assembly lines as part of their expanded ‘return to work’ plan

  • Most sports teams, both collegiate and professional, are using ASPs in their team locker rooms as a precautionary measure. Beyond COVID, historically, locker rooms have been a breeding ground for staph infections. ASPs will prove to be beneficial in keeping athletes healthy


To learn more, download our report, “A Demonstrated Layer of Protection: A Review of Antimicrobial Surface Protectants.” C&W Services subject matter experts worked with Andrew Havics, a certified industrial hygienist and engineer, to produce a thorough and leading-edge review of understanding products aimed at protecting against infection by the novel Coronavirus, COVID-19. Our review consisted of selecting manufacturers of ASPs who have provided public review of their lab tests, lab studies, field studies and peer reviews. Our review of ASPs, along with real time analysis of regulatory directives for PPE, disinfecting products, alternative approaches to maintenance and hygiene protocols are part of our continued effort to stay at the forefront of assisting our clients during COVID-19.

A Demonstrated Layer of Protection

Listen to the Podcast

Contact Our Team 

Chris Johnson

Vice President