Choose the best by taking an informed decision

by Arun Kumar 10th January 2020

Choosing the best Disinfectant

In the post Covid world, you have been given the go-ahead to open your facility for operations. You have selected a reopening date and are considering the right disinfectant to stock up for your facility. You talk to your colleagues and get to know that there are 3-4 different kinds of disinfectant solutions available in the market. You realize there’s a lot of chemistry involved in selecting the correct disinfectant. So here we make this task easier for you.

The best disinfectants for viruses are: Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Sodium Hypochlorite and Quaternary Ammonium Compounds. These ingredients are the most popular on the EPA’s list of registered disinfectants against the Coronavirus. Here's what you need to know about these disinfectants and which ingredients to look for when you want to use an effective cleaning product.

What are disinfectants?

Disinfectants are chemical agents designed to inactivate or destroy microorganisms on inert/non-living surfaces. They essentially kill all germs on contact and are frequently used in hospitals, clinics, offices, industries, schools, colleges, and other public places.

Some pointers you should consider while purchasing a new disinfectant:

  1. Kill time/Reaction time: You might have a fast-paced facility where people are continuously going in & out. In such a scenario, you want a disinfectant that just needs to be wiped down once to be effective. The reaction time is the time a disinfectant agent needs to inactivate viruses. The reaction time should be short.
  2. Safety of the product: Does the product cause corrosion and abrasion on surfaces? Can the product be used on delicate surfaces? Does the product cause any irritation/rashes on the skin? Is the product toxic to use? Does the product have a bad odour? These are questions you need to find answers for before purchasing any disinfectant. You don’t want your staff to compromise safety while using the product. By making sure the product has lower risk, the staff would be more willing to use it.
  3. Ease of use: Is the product easy to use? Your staff will require to use the product several times a day, so make sure the product is easy to use.
  4. Odour: Some disinfectants have a bad odour. So, choose a disinfectant that has a refreshing scent or odourless products. Don’t let your disinfectant dictate what your jobsite is going to smell like.

Alcohol VS Hydrogen Peroxide VS Sodium Hypochlorite VS Quaternary Ammonium Compounds: Let’s have a brief comparison to have better understanding. As it’s said “Half Knowledge is more dangerous than full 😉”

  1. Alcohol: Isopropanol or Ethanol are the most widely used alcohol disinfectants. These are effective when used at a higher concentration, hence alcohol disinfectants contain at least 70% solution. But they become less effective over time as alcohol evaporates. Being highly flammable their storage becomes great difficulty. Prolonged and repeated use of alcohol as a disinfectant can also cause discoloration, swelling, hardening and cracking of rubber and certain plastics.
  2. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds: Quaternary ammonium compounds are the most commonly employed broad-spectrum hard surface disinfectants. They are the most effective of all disinfectants discussed here. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds are widely used as surface disinfectants and can be found in many household cleaners including disinfectant wipes and sprays. Research has shown these compounds effectively kill most bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Quats, are a top choice among hospitals and institutional cleanings because of their quick action against a wide range of microorganisms.
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide: 3% Hydrogen Peroxide is used as a stable and effective disinfectant when used on inanimate objects. Being a powerful oxidizer, it reacts with variety of substances. It is therefore diluted during transport, as a safety measure. However, high concentrations of it are required as it slowly decomposes into water and oxygen. It too comes with a range of side effects like irritation, redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of skin.
  4. Sodium Hypochlorite: This is the highly low-cost and easily available disinfectant. It has rapid bacterial action, and it is easy to use. However, it’s highly corrosive (Corrodes metals such as stainless steel and aluminium) and can cause discolouration if not used as directed. They come with an unpleasant odour and are unstable. It’s rendered highly unsuitable for human skin and sensitive areas.

Be aware and choose for yourself, as a wise decision ever leads to a healthy choice!!