Understanding Disinfectant Fogging: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Understanding Disinfectant Fogging: What Is It and How Does It Work?

Disinfectant fogging has become an increasingly popular method for sanitizing and decontaminating indoor spaces. But what exactly is disinfectant fogger and how does it work to kill germs? Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Disinfectant Fogging?

Disinfectant fogging, also known as misting or fumigation, refers to the process of dispersing a disinfectant chemical as a fine mist or vapor throughout an enclosed area. This allows the disinfectant to reach hard-to-clean nooks and crannies.

The disinfectant used is typically an EPA-registered antimicrobial chemical solution. Common active ingredients include hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid, hypochlorous acid or sodium hypochlorite (bleach).

How Disinfectant Foggers Work

Specialized fogging equipment is used to disperse the disinfectant as an airborne mist. Handheld foggers, backpack misters, and industrial-grade fogging machines are common options.

These devices use mechanical pressure and airflow to aerosolize the chemical solution into particles ranging from 10 to 50 microns in size.

The tiny particle size allows the disinfectant fog to remain suspended in the air long enough to treat all exposed surfaces.

Maximizing Surface Coverage

Since fogging relies on the ability of the aerosolized disinfectant to reach and deposit on surfaces, application techniques are important for maximizing coverage.

Strategies include:

  • Fogging from varying angles and room entry points
  • Ensuring proper dispersal airflow and particle size
  • Fogging from top to bottom of rooms
  • Removing obstacles/equipment that can obstruct surfaces

Dwell Time For Proper Disinfection

Once surfaces are treated with the disinfectant fog, an adequate contact or dwell time is required for proper disinfection.

This allows sufficient contact between the deposited disinfectant and any pathogens present so disinfection can occur.

Dwell times range from 10 minutes to an hour depending on the disinfectant used. Rooms are kept vacant during this period before the disinfectant is dried/ventilated.

Advantages of Disinfectant Fogging

Compared to manual disinfection, fogging offers several advantages:

  • Treats hard-to-reach surfaces that are often missed
  • Quickly treats large areas and entire rooms
  • Reduces human exposure to chemicals
  • Requires less labor and operational costs

Potential Drawbacks to Consider

While useful, fogging also has some limitations to keep in mind:

  • Upfront equipment costs can be high
  • Training is required for proper application technique
  • Some disinfectant residues may require wiping or rinsing.
  • Must vacate areas during treatment and dwell periods


When performed correctly using proper disinfectants and application techniques, disinfectant fogging provides a thorough and efficient method for disinfecting enclosed spaces. The ability to treat hard-to-reach areas makes it a valuable infection control tool. As with any chemical process, training and safety are vital for getting the most out of this sanitizing method.

Disinfecting your facilities shouldn’t be an arduous process. With Applied Physics advanced disinfectant foggers, you can quickly treat entire rooms for maximum infection control. Contact Applied Physics today to learn more about implementing our disinfectant fogging systems for optimal sanitization and decontamination.


What are the main components needed for disinfectant fogging?

The main components needed are 1) EPA-registered disinfectant chemical solution, and 2) Specialized fogging equipment for dispersing disinfectant particles.

How long does disinfectant fogging take?

The fogging application itself only takes a few minutes per room. However, required dwell times range from 10 minutes to an hour. Overall process times depend on the size of space being treated.

What industries commonly use disinfectant fogging?

Healthcare, hospitality, schools, airports, public transit, theaters, cruise ships, food processing plants, athletic facilities, and offices.

Can fogging fully replace manual disinfection?

It cannot replace all manual cleaning. However, fogging can supplement and boost disinfection in hard-to-reach areas.

What safety gear is needed for disinfectant fogging?

PPE including respirators, protective eyewear, gloves, full-body covering, and foot covers are required during fogging and dwell times.