POLAND, Ohio – As he sprayed a disinfecting solution inside the police cruisers at the Poland Township Police Department, Alex Sullivan, with a large tank strapped to his back connected to a hose, bore a striking resemblance to one of the GhostBusters.
“I’ve heard that like four times today,” he said.
His boss, Dan Welsh, joked that they should have named their company “GermBusters.”
“And our logo could have been the three of us standing there,” posing with their mist guns, he said.
Instead, Welsh and his two partners, Steven Sullivan and Dr. Robert Simerlink, named their startup Contagion-CLEAN. Germs and viruses, particularly COVID-19, should fear the company all the same.
During a demonstration Wednesday, Sullivan disinfected about one dozen police cruisers in about 10 minutes. The demonstration was a prelude to a webinar Wednesday June 10 at 11 a.m., during which Contagion Clean will demonstrate its products and methods. REGISTER
“When COVID-19 started to be a problem, we started looking at what we could do,” says Simerlink.
A nurse anesthetist by trade, he also has a Ph.D. in medical science, so he immediately thought about a product he’d seen used in hospitals and long-term care centers: hypochlorous acid.
“The basis of our solution is something that the body produces to kill germs,” he says.
Hypochlorous acid has been used as a cleaner for years but isn’t widely used commercially because it has a short shelf life, Simerlink says.
“They don’t feel it’s marketable,” he says.
On the plus side, the product is completely nontoxic, making it a safe alternative to other chemicals that can build up and potentially make people sick.
“There’s a lot of companies out there that are using product that, while it kills similar things to COVID-19, they say right on their labels that it’s unsafe for humans,” Simerlink says.
Contagion-Clean’s product is so safe, Simerlink says the man they purchase the hypochlorous acid from even sprayed it into his mouth.
“So it’s that safe,” he says with a laugh.
The solution used by Contagion-Clean has been approved by the Centers for Disease Control to kill COVID-19, as well as several other viruses, including SARS, MRSA and H1N1.
While the product has been on the market for years, Simerlink says they have modified the solution and perfected a way to dispense it.
The solution comes out of the dispenser as a fine mist, which completely coats any surface it’s sprayed on, and then dries in three to five minutes.
“We source everything from the United States,” Simerlink says.
Based in Poland, Contagion-Clean has six employees and is poised to grow.
Simerlink says their supply chain is strong – there are three manufacturers in the U.S. that will make the solution for them – and they have people ready to invest, “both time and money,” if needed.
“We do have the ability to scale up relatively quickly,” he says.
Welsh, who worked in the oil and gas industry for 50 years, handles the sales side of the business.
He says during the couple of months they’ve been open, they’ve disinfected several types of businesses, including medical offices, funeral homes and country clubs.
“Every type of business is a candidate. The one thing that’s hurting is everyone is saying, ‘I’ve been out of business for two months,’ ” he says.
Still, Welsh says businesses are showing interest and he’s confident many will become clients as they get back on their feet.
Contagion-Clean offers one-time cleanings, as well as plans for regular cleanings.
“A one-time deal is the most expensive. But if we’re doing it quarterly or monthly the cost is significantly less,” Welsh says.
Businesses or individuals can also purchase the product and apply it themselves, though Simerlink cautions against it, since they aren’t trained to identify all the high-touch areas and likely don’t have the proper equipment.
Conventional sprayers won’t provide enough coverage and will usually create puddling that can damage electronics and leave watermarks, he says.
“We recommend we do at least one cleaning. After that it’s up to you how you want to proceed.”
Pictured: Contagion-Clean’s Alex Sullivan sprays down a Poland Township Police Department vehicle with the company’s disinfecting spray.
REGISTER for webinar Tuesday June 9 at 11:00 a.m.