Experts agree that frequent handwashing is one of the first lines of defense against illness. But what about the surfaces our hands touch? When it’s important that germs be killed, you might choose disinfectants and disinfectant cleaners.
Why are disinfectants different from other cleaning products?
Most surface cleaners are designed to help remove unwanted contaminants and dirt from a surface while disinfectants irreversibly inactivate pathogens.
Learn more about the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
Should you clean or disinfect?
If your goal is to reduce the germs that cause illness, especially on frequently touched surfaces, you should do both. It may not be necessary, but that will depend on the number of people using a space, how they use it and if there are any known illnesses.
Learn more about how to properly clean and disinfect.
What are in disinfectants and disinfecting products?
A disinfecting product will say so on the label. It will also note its active ingredients on the label. These can include sodium hypochlorite, ethanol, pine oil, hydrogen peroxide, citric acid and QACs (quaternary ammonium compounds). There are a variety of QACs used in disinfecting products. Many will end with “chloride.”
Learn more about disinfectant ingredients and QACs, or quats.
How are these ingredients regulated?
Disinfectants and disinfecting products are carefully regulated in the U.S. by the EPA (for wipes, liquids and sprays) or the FDA (for hand sanitizers and antibacterial soaps). Products are reviewed to make sure they work well and are safe for use.
Learn more about disinfectant ingredients and their regulation.
Many hours of research have gone into every product to make sure it will help keep you and your family safe.
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