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What Is In Your Disinfectant And Why Should You Know?

August 26, 2021

What Is In Your Disinfectant And Why Should You Know?

Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the use of disinfectants has skyrocketed. Many people are now concerned about the ingredients of the cleaning products they are using. One of the main reasons behind this notion is to understand whether they can use these disinfectants and sanitizers on a daily basis or not.

In Canada, disinfectants are regulated by either Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) or the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD). All products regulated by these authorities are safe to use as directed.

Nevertheless, to make an informed decision, it is important that you know what has gone into your disinfectant. According to a recent report, most do not check the ingredients of the cleaning products they use, nor understand what different ingredients mean.

In this blog, we have detailed why it is important to check the ingredients of your disinfectant and what they mean.

Why Is It Important To Know What Ingredients Are In Your Disinfectant?

The active ingredient in your disinfectant is what gives it antimicrobial power. The main product in most disinfectant cleaners is bleach or quaternary ammonium chlorides.

Where bleach disintegrates membranes of the bacteria and virus, the quaternary ammonium chlorides poke holes in bacterial membranes. However, know that in order to perform properly, these ingredients need helpers. They are not completely active on their own.

For example, Hydrogen peroxide can be a very powerful disinfectant but the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution you get at the pharmacy will not be as good at killing microbes since it does not have the required helpers. On the contrary, a disinfectant product that contains less than 1% hydrogen peroxide is better at killing microbes since it is mixed into an appropriate formulation.

Hence, in order to ensure that the disinfectant you are using is working well against microbes, you have to check that the right buffer ingredient is present.

Formulation Of A Disinfectant

The ingredients and formulation of a disinfectant change the way it works. In addition to increasing the product’s ability to kill microbes, formulations can create products with a wide variety of special skills.

Based on the way they are formulated, disinfecting products can often do double, or even triple duty.

A hydrogen peroxide disinfectant can become a much better oxidizer in the presence of a buffer. Similarly, bleach, or sodium hypochlorite, will be better at killing microbes at different pH conditions. Sodium hypochlorite becomes hypochlorous acid at a low pH making it a much stronger antimicrobial.

Similarly, there are many other differences that can be attributed to the formulation of a disinfectant.

What Should You Expect From A Disinfectant?

If you are using a cleaner that is also a disinfectant, here is what you should expect:

  • It should effectively clean dirt, grime, and grease
  • It should have a pleasant odor
  • It should disintegrate the surface it is being used on
  • It should have a long shelf life
  • It should be safe to use around pets and children

Hence, ideally, your cleaner should have the following main ingredients:

  • An antimicrobial (disinfecting) agent like Sodium Hypochlorite (Bleach), Hydrogen Peroxide, or Dimethyl benzyl Ammonium Chloride (Quat)
  • A solvent like water, alcohol, or Ethanolamine. This helps cover surfaces and deliver active ingredients to microbes.
  • A surfactant or a detergent, like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Glycolic Acid, or Propylheptyl Ether (PEG/PPG) to break up dirt and grease and for aid spot cleaning.
  • Additives like Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Carbonate, or Phosphoric Acid that improve product stability and provide greater surface compatibility.
  • A fragrance like Limonene, Myrcene, or Linalool.

Every disinfectant is formulated for a specific purpose which is why it should be used only for the intended task, otherwise, the results can be hazardous.

About Us

At Smith’s Sanitation, we work to provide you with an online purchasing experience that is unique to you. We provide specialized and personalized pricing of our products available on our website to fulfill your unique business or personal needs.

In doing our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we are offering curbside pickup and free local delivery with no minimum order. We work with our trusted suppliers to deliver you quality maintenance products and equipment at comparable prices.

We also maintain, service, and repair your commercial cleaning equipment to ensure the continuity of your operations and protect your investment. For more information on our services, contact us.

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