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Types of Disinfectants: How to Make the Best Choice for Your Facility

The spread of the COVID-19 virus has changed the conversation around sanitation and disinfecting. We are focused on having clean spaces, whether it is the office, factories, classroom, and homes. Many businesses are also reviewing how they clean and disinfect facilities to prevent the spread of the virus.

It is now more than ever essential to make sure we are using the right type of disinfectant. Though you will see countless disinfectants in the market, not all are made equal. Understanding how each works as well as their advantages and disadvantages will help you make the best decision.

Categories of Disinfectants

Many commercial and industrial facilities use a broad category of disinfectants. Notably, when fighting an emerging pathogen like COVID-19, the regulatory authority gives very strict guidelines for disinfectant use. Below are some of the categories of disinfectants that you will find in the market.

Hydrogen Peroxide

These types of disinfectants are environmentally friendly and safe to use. They break down into H2O2 (Oxygen and water) elements, and they kill a wide variety of viruses such as the SARS-CoV-2 and bacteria. They are also mildly acidic and effective for cleaning surfaces. Exercise caution when handling this type as it can be dangerous and unstable.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Many hospitals and institutions choose this disinfectant as it acts quickly against microorganisms and has a low cost. You can mix this type of disinfectant with many detergents to achieve the best cleaning ability. Quats are also highly effective against coronavirus.


Diluting various types of alcohol can help fight against bacteria and microorganisms. However, you will need a higher level of alcohol content when disinfecting wet surfaces. Alcohol also evaporates very quickly and may not remain on the surface long enough to kill the germs. These disinfectants may also not be highly effective when organic matter such as blood is present. It is also highly flammable.

Chlorine Compounds

Chlorine-based disinfectants are ideal when one is cleaning bodily fluids and are effective for killing highly resistant viruses. Though they are corrosive, chlorine disinfectants act quickly against bacteria and are also inexpensive. It can also cause discoloration.


This disinfectant is useful in fighting bacteria that cause Tuberculosis.  However, they require a high ppm (part per million) ratio to be an effective disinfectant. Also, some bacteria are resistant to aldehydes, and it can also cause asthma and other medical conditions. They also leave a grease residue necessitating an alkaline solution to clean.

Factors to Consider when Choosing a Disinfectant

If you want to get the best disinfectant for your facility, you can look at four main considerations.


Your preferred disinfectant should be able to kill pathogens and microbes. You can choose an EPA-approved disinfectant that fights and kill bacteria. Since pathogens can have variants, the chosen product should also be effective against the various strains. Also, different facilities such as health institutions, schools, hospitality will have different needs and requirements.

Kill Time

When choosing a disinfectant, you want one that will kill specific pathogens quickly. The product should also keep the surface visibly wet in compliance with the kill times. All disinfectant formulas indicate the specific kill times for each pathogen which is usually 30 seconds to 5 minutes. The surfaces stay wet during the stated duration to achieve the results. Alcohol-based disinfectants evaporate before the required time.

Ease of Use

Reading through the instructions on how to use the product helps you know whether it is practical for your facility. Some of the disinfectants have several steps of use that may not be practical with your organization. The hardness of the water can also influence the effectiveness of the disinfectant formula.


Like all other products, you want to consider how safe it is for people and surfaces. As discussed earlier, you saw some disinfectants are toxic, corrode, and some that stain surfaces. Some also have a bad odor. Been keen to check the flammability and toxicity ratings of the products that you choose. Also, check the PPE (personal protective equipment) requirement.


It can take time to choose the best disinfectant for your facility. However, going through all the information about the products can help you make the right choice. Having the most effective product is crucial in preventing the spread of diseases and keeps your staff safe.