Disinfectants are commonly a staple that is used in households to disinfect or clean the objects in their homes. Disinfecting is a process where you use chemicals on surfaces in order to destroy and kill bacteria and viruses. Today, disinfectants are more than just a staple in households but in every establishment that you know. This is one of the precautionary measures that different countries are implementing in order to reduce the transmission of bacteria and viruses. There are also a lot of stores selling disinfectants since the demand for them increased this year but there are various types of disinfectants and these have different uses and strengths. How can you choose which disinfectant is the right type for your home?
1 CHECK THE EFFECTIVITY OF THE DISINFECTANT.
You need to ensure that the disinfectant that you will buy is effective against bacteria and viruses or depending on what you prefer. For example, the following chemical compounds are effective on different common microorganisms.
Alcohols are highly effective against a wide variety of bacteria and germs. Ethyl alcohol and Isopropyl alcohols are very effective against microorganisms like E.coli and Salmonella at a concentration that is 60% - 95% percent. However, they also have the disadvantage of evaporating too quickly which can affect the effectivity of its activity against microorganisms.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs) or Quats are considered to be the top choice and widely used disinfectants in hospitals. They are considered a popular choice because of how cheap they are and they have quick action against a variety of microorganisms. However, these compounds should be applied using materials that are not made out of cotton or cellulose-based materials as they can affect the amount of active ingredient that is present in the compounds.
Chlorine compounds are commonly found in our households in the name of bleach. Bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite are widely used as they have a broad and wide spectrum of antimicrobial activity. In high concentrations, chlorine compounds can kill the microorganism M. tuberculosis which causes Tuberculosis. However, these compounds can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat.
2 TAKE NOTE OF THE DISINFECTANT’S KILL DURATION.
Kill duration refers to the amount of time before a microorganism gets completely destroyed. It could differ per microorganism and note that there are already some that are resistant to some disinfecting agents. Different disinfectants have different kill durations. Some notable disinfectants with short kill duration are the following:
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs) or Quats such as Benzalkonium chloride, have a kill duration of 10 minutes. Once it is applied on a surface, allow it to stand for 10 minutes before you wipe or clean it off to get the maximum ability out of these compounds which are able to eradicate a lot of pathogenic microorganisms.
Chlorine compounds have a kill duration of 30 minutes to an hour. It is said to be effective against numerous strains of viruses and bacteria. Just like with Quats, it is important to let the disinfectant stand on the surface it was applied in order to completely eradicate the microorganisms.
Hydrogen Peroxide has a kill duration ranging from 60 minutes to 150 minutes depending on the strength of the hydrogen peroxide you are using. Since there is 3%, 5%, and 10% strength of hydrogen peroxide in the market, the higher the concentration, the shorter the time duration it needs to eradicate the microorganisms.
3 ENSURE THAT THE DISINFECTANT IS SAFE AND NOT TOXIC.
Keep in mind that all disinfectants are composed of chemicals. Too much exposure to these chemicals may cause toxicity to your home or exposure of these chemicals with other compounds can risk the safety of you and your family. The following disinfectants are efficient in getting rid of harmful microorganisms but unfortunately may impose harm to your family as well.
Aldehyde compounds are effective against the microorganism that causes tuberculosis, however other microorganisms have developed a resistance against this disinfectant. It has been noted that that aldehyde compounds can cause pulmonary complications, skin irritations, and irritations to the eyes, nose, and throat due to poor ventilation since they turn into vapor.
Iodophores are compounds that possess an antimicrobial activity that is similar to povidone-iodine. They are used for disinfecting some medical equipment but they cause staining. Iodophores has a strong distinct smell of iodine in it which can be unpleasant and uncomfortable if you are exposed to it for too long.
Phenolic compounds are highly germicidal, meaning that they are effective in killing germs. They are primarily used as a sterilizer for medical equipment before they are disinfected again using a stronger disinfectant. However, phenolic compounds are highly toxic and corrosive which is why its use has been already limited.
4 CHOOSE DISINFECTANTS THAT ARE EASY TO USE.
A good disinfectant is also useless if it is hard to use or if the container it comes with is hard to open. Since you will be using disinfectants to clean surfaces often, it’s better if they come in packaging that is easy to use. The following are brands that are easy to use and are commonly found in the market.
Lysol Aerosol Spray. This brand contains 60% of Ethyl alcohol as its active ingredient. It is mainly used to sterilize and disinfect surfaces and areas that are always exposed to bacteria and germs.
Clorox Cleaner + Bleach. This brand contains diluted amounts of chlorine compounds. It comes in a spray container allowing the user easy use.
In some cases, disinfectants are placed in gallons which you can then dilute according to the instructions that are on the container. The ratio of dilution depends on the instructions stated by the manufacturer which is why you need to make sure to read and understand it well. You may place your diluted solution in a nozzle spray bottle so that you can easily use the disinfectant when you are cleaning.
It is always important that you are checking the label for all the products that you will be using in your own home especially disinfectants and other products that are used for cleaning and hygiene. It may take tedious time and effort, but this is better rather than spending time in a hospital. Proper canvassing will not only make you be able to make the right choice as to what disinfectant to use in your home, you will also be knowledgeable regarding the active ingredients in those products which can help you distinguish legit products from counterfeit ones especially during these times where there are still people who takes advantage of others.
Since the pandemic began, disinfecting has been a key part in our daily lives in order to lessen the risk of contracting the virus. Although it has some downsides to it like our skin being a bit drier because of constant disinfecting, it is always better safe than sorry. In this situation, we must consider using products that are effective in eradicating different bacteria and viruses. This way, we can maintain our homes as a safe haven for us to live in allowing us to survive this crisis and prevent the spread of these microorganisms. Always remember to disinfect and observe proper hygiene during these times. Stay safe and stay healthy.