Cleaners & Disinfectants

Disinfectants, Disinfection 101, Best Practices


Disinfectants

Aerosols

Aerosol sprays cover more area for a faster clean.

Ready-To-Use

Ready to use disinfectants do not require dilution to use.

Concentrated

Concentrated cleaners offer more cleaning for your buck.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide cleaners are considered a more natural cleaner.

Carpet Cleaning Chemicals

These carpet cleaning products clean disinfect and deodorize in one labor saving step.

Carpet Cleaning Disinfecting

These floor cleaning products clean disinfect and deodorize in one labor saving step.

Bleach

Kills viruses that cause the common cold and flu.

Cleaner with Bleach

Bleach cleaners kill more germs and viruses.

Cleaner with Pine

Cleaners with added pine are great for restroom and kitchens.

Disinfectant Quarts

Quarts store easily and most are refillable by available gallon jugs.

Disinfectant Gallon

Refill your cleaner spray bottles with gallon size bottles.

Bathroom Foam

Foam cleaners cling to surfaces, often leading to more effective cleaning and disinfecting.

Bathroom Spray

Bathroom spray cleaners help kill germs and viruses from surfaces.

Laundry Sanitizer

Use this non-bleach additive to kill bacteria on clothes.

Fabric Sanitizer

Kills 99.9 percent of bacteria on soft surfaces and prevents mold growth for up to 14 days. Deodorizes as well.

Quat Based Cleaners

Quat-based formulas for use on hard, nonporous environmental surfaces.

Electrostatic Sprayer Disinfectants

These disinfectants are recommended for use in electrostatic sprayers.


Disinfection 101

There are many types of disinfectants, and many forms of delivering, or applying them. Many cleaning products include disinfectants to clean and disinfect in one step. Cleaning removes dirt and germs, reducing the risk of spreading infection. Cleaning alone does not kill germs or sanitize surfaces, while disinfecting does, further reducing the risk of spreading infection.

Surfaces can be more effectively disinfected when they are clean. Heavily soiled areas should always be cleaned first, as dirt creates uneven surfaces that make it harder to disinfect. It is always a best practice to wear gloves when cleaning and disinfecting, and depending on the application, other personal protective equipment (PPE) like gowns. It is also always good to have adequate ventilation when cleaning and disinfecting.

The EPA provides a list of registered disinfectants that can be used against Covid-19. It includes ready-to-use sprays, concentrates and disinfecting wipes. All disinfectants are supposed to be registered with the EPA. If EPA registered disinfectants are not readily available, bleach and 70% alcohol solutions can be used to disinfect. The EPA regulates disinfectants as they are considered “pesticides” as they kill microorganisms. The FDA regulates hand sanitizers as they are in contact with the body.

Surfaces that are frequently touched are most in need of disinfection. In the office, some of the more commonly touched areas include countertops and tables, door handles/buttons/touch screens, light switches, faucets, sinks, toilets, soap and paper towel dispensers, coffee brewers, refrigerators, and microwaves. In personal work areas, some of the most commonly touched areas include desk surfaces and handles, keyboards, mice and phones. These are the areas where you want to set up frequent routines of disinfection.

Hard, less porous surfaces are easier to disinfect, so you may want to consider replacing objects with porous surfaces. Also consider removing frequently handled objects that are not truly needed as this would help avoid cross-contamination.

Disinfectants destroy or inhibit the growth of harmful organisms. They typically attach to the cell’s surface and disrupt the cell activity of the microorganism. This eliminates the food source for the cell, causing the cell to die. Based on their function, none are considered Green by organizations like Green Seal. The most common disinfectant chemicals include quaternary ammonium chloride compounds (also called quats), sodium hypochlorite (bleach), hydrogen peroxide, benzalkonium chloride, and pine-based solutions. They can be found in general cleaning products, bathroom cleaning products, and carpet and floor

Quats are absorbed by cells, but as they can’t digest them, the calls effectively starve to death. They are considered a “broad spectrum” killer, killing a wide range of germs. They are user friendly, being less corrosive than other disinfectants. They combine well with surfactants/cleaners to allow one product to both clean and disinfect, and some products also include deodorizers. They are cost effective and represent approximately 95% of all disinfectant products.

Sodium hypochlorite is the main active ingredient in bleach. While comparatively inexpensive, it tends to kill everything and is considered corrosive (make sure you use gloves). It is not an effective cleaner, and it can react poorly with other chemicals, creating toxic gas. Therefore it typically is not used for general cleaning. It also has a string odor.

Hydrogen peroxide is a versatile, user friendly disinfectant. Some consider it the “new” version of bleach. It is not corrosive and can be used safely on window cleaning, carpets, hard surfaces, and floors when neutral.

Pine oil is considered “nature’s disinfectant”. It is inexpensive, but it is not a broad spectrum killer. Not a very good cleaner. However, some people associate odor with clean.

Alcohol is typically used with hand sanitizers and surface sprays. It does not provide much contact time as it flashes off quickly. It is usually used in small use containers as it is flammable. Some hand sanitizers are made with benzalkonium chloride. It is generally considered less reliable than alcohol in killing viruses.

Each chemical and product may have very specific “kill” claims as to what germs it kills. In addition, each product may require a different amount of time in contact with a germ to kill it. The same product may require different times for different germs. This may be referred to as “wetting” time, or “dwell” time. Always be sure to follow directions, allowing the needed contact time for the disinfectant to work. Disinfectants are generally not targeted to kill mold. Only products with mold killing claims should be considered for performing this task.

Always follow all manufacturers’ guidelines for diluting and applying products. When using bleach, keep in mind that it is not safe for all surfaces, so you may wish to test their reaction to the bleach first. Do not mix bleach mixed with ammonia or any other cleaner. Ensure that your disinfectant is not past its’ expiration date, which is typically 2 years.

Cleaners/disinfectant solutions are available in “Ready-To-Use” (RTU) packaging, or in concentrated solutions that need to be diluted with water, according to the instructions on the package. Ready-To-Use products typically come in a quart size bottle with a sprayer. Concentrated solutions tend to be much more cost effective, but you do need to ensure that the product is being properly diluted for them to work properly. Disinfectants are also available in aerosol sprays.


Best Practices

We have collected some helpful disinfecting resources, which are highlighted below

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Related Information // Maintaining Employee Health // Re-envisioning Your Workspace // Industry Specific Solutions // Best Practices