4 Terms to Know When Selecting Disinfectants
Contributed by ProNatural Brands
When selecting disinfectants, cleaning professionals must know as much as possible about the products they choose, according to Hannah Jonasse of ProNatural Brands, LLC, marketers of citric-acid-based cleaning solutions, sanitizers, and disinfectants.
“For instance, how often do cleaning professionals inquire about the ‘shelf stability’ of the disinfectants they select?” asks Jonasse. “It’s something that rarely comes up, but it can be a very important consideration when protecting human health.”
Shelf stability, also known as shelf life, refers to how long a disinfectant can sit on a shelf at room temperature and still be effective.
An EPA-certified citric-acid-based disinfectant typically has a shelf life of two years; a chlorine-based disinfectant may only have a shelf life of one year; and quat-based disinfectants may have a shelf life of three years and still effectively eliminate pathogens as listed on the product’s label.
Additional terms Jonasse says cleaning professionals should be familiar with are the following terms:
Germ Mutation Potential. Also called germline mutation potential, this refers to the possibility of a disinfectant changing DNA cell structure, which can affect the user and be passed on to human offspring.
The newly changed cell structure can cause cancer and increase the risk of certain tumors. In this case, chlorine-based and citric-acid-based disinfectants have a low potential, but quat-based disinfectants have a high potential to cause germ mutations.
Naturally Derived. In our comparison, the only disinfectant that is “naturally derived” is a citric-acid-based disinfectant. Naturally derived or “plant derived” refers to disinfectants that have a high percentage of ingredients made from natural sources, such as plants, vegetables, and fruits.
Chlorine-based and quat disinfectants are synthetically derived. They are formulated from chemical ingredients, including petrochemicals, making them not naturally derived.
Risk in Handling. A critical designation, but again, one that is often overlooked. “Risk” refers to the likelihood that something living or inanimate could be harmed or damaged. In this case, chlorine-based disinfectants have high risk; citric-acid-based disinfectants and quats are low risk.
“Another matter often overlooked is the issue of hard water,” adds Jonasse. “Hard water can negatively impact the efficacy of disinfectants, especially chlorine-based disinfectants and quats. Citric-acid-based disinfectants, on the other hand, meet high efficacy standards in soft and hard water.”