The Differences Between Disinfectants
Contributed By AFFLINK
Disinfectants are not all the same.
“And now with COVID-19, we must be very careful,” says Michael Wilson, vice president of marketing for AFFLINK, a leading distributor-member sales and marketing organization. “Just because a disinfectant has been proven to be effective against COVID, does not mean it is doing the job.”
According to Wilson, “some disinfectants are alcohol-based, others are chlorine- or phenol-based, and still others have quaternary amines (quats), and they all work slightly differently.”
Wilson adds that there are many more differences between disinfectants, such as the following:
- Some disinfectants do not need to be diluted, others must be mixed with water, and dilution ratios can vary.
- Some are certified “green” in certain areas of the world, but in the U.S., there are no “green” disinfectants.
- Most disinfectants sold in the U.S. are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); however some disinfectants used in medical facilities are also regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- Disinfectants often fall into different categories such as “general,” “limited,” “broad-spectrum,” and “hospital-grade.”
- Certain disinfectants are designed to clean and disinfect surfaces; however, in most cases, disinfectants do not clean surfaces; they are designed to kill pathogens.
- The effectiveness of a disinfectant varies depending on the surface where it is applied.
- Surface contact (dwell) times differ.
- As used, some disinfectants can permeate work gloves faster than others (referred to as “breakthrough times”); this can damage the glove, harm skin, and allow exposure to harmful pathogens.
- Different types of disinfectants, if inhaled, are more toxic than others.
“So, the first step in selecting and using a disinfectant properly is to understand as much about it as possible,” says Wilson.
Most of this information is on the product label or enclosed with the disinfectant. But once again, another difference emerges: some product labels are easier to read than others.
“Right now, with COVID, these differences can quickly become barriers to protecting human health,” says WIlson. “We strongly encourage building managers and cleaning contractors to work with jan/san distributors during this crisis. They can be your best source when it comes to protecting human health.”
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