Disinfectant, any substance, such as creosote or alcohol, applied to inanimate objects to kill microorganisms. Disinfectants and antiseptics are alike in that both are germicidal, but antiseptics are applied primarily to living tissue.
The ideal disinfectant would rapidly destroy bacteria, fungi, viruses, and protozoans, would not corrode surgical instruments, and would not destroy or dis-colour materials on which it is used.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Disinfectant?
There are four primary considerations you should evaluate when choosing a disinfectant to best meet the needs of your facility. Answering these questions will give you a framework for helping determine the best product(s) to use in your organization.
Does a disinfectant kill the microbes and pathogens that are of top concern in your facility? For example, you may be highly concerned about Staphylococcus aureus Methicillin Resistant (MRSA). Some disinfectants are TGA approved as effective against this bacteria. Viraclean is one such disinfectant. Keep in mind that pathogens can have multiple strains, and disinfectants are certified for specific strains.
Pending your industry and facility – healthcare, education, long-term care, hospitality – you will have varying needs and requirements.
2. Kill Time
How quickly does a disinfectant product kill? Does the product keep surfaces visibly wet in order to comply with these kill times? Again, disinfectant formulas are registered to kill specific pathogens in a specific amount of time, and they need to be wet on a surface the entire time to be actively working. Thirty seconds to five minutes might be a typical kill time. If a disinfectant needs 10 minutes though, be sure it will actually stay wet that long. Alcohol-based disinfectants may very well evaporate before their required contact time. Read and follow all directions for use and rewetting if necessary.
Is the product safe to use for people and safe for the surfaces it is being applied to? As you learned earlier in this article, some categories of disinfectants are toxic, some stain, others are corrosive, yet others have an undesirable odor. Check toxicity and flammability ratings on products, as well as any personal protective equipment (PPE) recommendations for disinfectants you apply. Be sure a disinfectant will not damage any surface it is intended for.
4. Ease of Use
Are the steps required to use a given disinfectant practical for your venue? Some applications require multiple steps that may not always be feasible. Water hardness is one factor that can impact the effectiveness of some disinfectant formulas. Some products clean and disinfects in just one step, making them an easy choice for a ready-to-use disinfectant that addresses a broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and mildew in hospitals, institutions, and industry.
Sorting through information about the various types of disinfectants takes time, but it’s a critical step to ensure you are making the best maintenance decision for your venue. Having the right products on hand along with a solid plan to prevent disease and infection will save effort and expense down the road, and give added peace of mind to you, your staff and any visitors that come through your doors.
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