Things to look for in a disinfectant cleaner

The onslaught of Covid 19 has seen numerous households embrace the use of disinfectants for cleaning surfaces and objects. However, when purchasing a disinfectant, you should question the disinfectant’s effectiveness by

1. Efficacy

Firstly, the disinfectant should be effective against most bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It should also be effective against spores resistant to most cleaning agents. The disinfectant should kill the bacteria without causing damage to the object that is being cleaned. The latter is crucial when cleaning objects used by children and babies because they may be more susceptible to any damage caused by the cleaner.

2. Safety

Disinfectants may contain chemicals that are harmful to people, animals, and plants. Therefore, when using a disinfectant, it is always advisable to use protective gear such as protective glasses or masks to avoid inhaling or coming into contact with the chemical directly.

The EPA recommends that you use household cleaners in ways that protect your health and reduce risks to your family’s health and the environment. Follow these tips for safer use of household cleaners:

  • Read and follow label directions
  • Use products in a well-ventilated area
  • Wear personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, or goggles as recommended on the label
  • Do not mix products unless the labels specifically instruct you
  • Avoid using products on surfaces that are not intended for cleaning
  • Do not use products in a way that will contaminate water supplies (this includes runoff from roofs and driveways)
  • Clean up spills immediately; if possible, use a product that contains an ingredient to help neutralize or break down the spilled material
  • Never dispose of unused product down the sink or toilet; take it to a recycling center

3. Contact Time

For commercial disinfectants, the length of time that a surface is in contact with the disinfectant is usually as important as the concentration of the disinfectant. For example, if a surface is not in contact with an effective concentration of a disinfectant for at least 20 minutes, then the surface may still have some pathogens on it after being treated. According to the experts at Jon – Don Janitorial and Building Services, “Commercial disinfectant spray can also help clean up small messes as they happen for a constant clean.”

Five minutes of exposure to a 1:10 dilution (1 part household bleach to 10 parts water) for disease-causing bacteria will kill 90% of them. After 15 minutes, 99% are killed, and after 30 minutes, 99.99%. All bacterial spores are destroyed after 1 hour of exposure to this concentration. Note that most household bleaches containing 5.25% sodium hypochlorite will lose strength over time.

4. The Concentration of the Disinfectant

Most disinfectants have a concentration of between 0.5% and 4%. If a disinfectant is not at least 1%, it may not be effective. The pH of a disinfectant is important. Most disinfectants are acidic, with a pH of 5.0 or lower. Such pH levels help the disinfectant kill bacteria by disrupting their cell walls. Disinfectants with a higher pH (more basic) are less effective because they do not work as well on protein-based stains like blood and feces.

For example, the household bleach sold in the U.S. usually has about 5% sodium hypochlorite, which has a pH of 12. However, if you add more than one part of household bleach to ten parts of water, the mixture will have a low pH (1). This is because water neutralizes the acid in household bleach. This lower-pH mixture will be more effective at killing bacteria than the higher-pH mixture.

So, now that you have an understanding of these factors, you will be able to pick a disinfectant cleaner that will be suitable for your requirements.