Choosing The Right Disinfectant
A clean looking surface doesn’t necessarily mean it’s actually “clean”. For areas where disinfectants are regularly used, such as in the food service industry or hospitals, proper disinfectant choice is imperative. Choosing the right disinfectant is important because it can optimize disinfectant use and reduce overall facility cost. The rules below can help guide you in choosing the proper disinfectant.
- Contact Time. Choose a disinfectant with a short contact time if possible, and make sure cleaning procedures allow adequate contact time. Contact time means that the disinfectant should remain wet for at least as long as the specification on the label. This is to ensure that the claimed pathogens are killed and that the surface is adequately disinfected. Example disinfectants include Millennium Q, which has a contact time of 10 minutes at 2 oz/gal, Century Q Wipes, which have a contact time of 4 minutes, and Microcide TB, which has a contact time as low as 30 seconds. Concentrates typically have a contact time of 10 minutes while RTU products can be quicker. Avoid disinfectants with alcohol because they can cause the product to evaporate quicker than the EPA contact time and reapplication may be required.
- Intended use and application. Disinfectants can damage surfaces, depending on the surface and their pH. Read and understand the disinfectant compatibility as this is a way to avoid damaging surfaces or tools. The application process is also important. For example, a cotton or a microfiber cleaning tool can reduce the efficacy of a quaternary disinfectant because a quat can bind with these cleaning tools.
- Product safety. Some disinfectants require the use of personal protection equipment (PPE). Choose a disinfectant that’s not irritating to the skin, eyes, or respiratory tract, as this may defer the use of the product.
Not only is it important to choose the right disinfectant, it is also important to have a cleaning program that defines specific cleaning roles and responsibilities.
For a listing of Multi-Clean liquid disinfectants or disinfecting wipes, please visit Multi-Clean’s Disinfectant webpage.