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Why Your Disinfectants May Not Be Working

Sept. 13, 2017

Popular disinfectants may not be effective at eliminating germs because of user error. 

Sealed Air’s Diversey Care division of sustainable cleaning, sanitation and hygiene solutions newly released a groundbreaking study on the bactericidal efficacy of disinfectants.

This study investigated the influence of contact time and concentration on bactericidal efficacy of three types of disinfectants (accelerated hydrogen peroxide [AHP], quaternary ammonium compounds [Quats], and sodium hypochlorite) on stainless steel surfaces using Environmental Protection Agency procedure MB-25-02.

The research, conducted with Purdue University, found that the three tested disinfectants were significantly less bactericidal at lower than label use contact times and concentrations.

Other highlights from the study:

  • The bactericidal efficacy of the sodium hypochlorite disinfectant was most tolerant to the decreases of contact times and concentrations, followed narrowly by accelerated hydrogen peroxide disinfectant and quaternary ammonium compounds disinfectant is most affected.

  • In healthcare facilities, deviations from disinfectant direction of use, such as shorter wet contact time, could result in suboptimal disinfection.

“In busy healthcare facilities, disinfectants are often applied once and left to dry, regardless of the unique label instruction,” says Peter Teska, Infection Prevention Expert from Diversey Care. “As this study shows, disinfectants don’t live up to their claims if they get over diluted or are not reapplied as directed”

“Understanding the antimicrobial efficacy of disinfectants under different conditions offers healthcare facilities valuable information on disinfection limits, opportunities and corrective actions,” says Haley F. Oliver, associate professor, Department of Food Science, Purdue University

The full study results is available at the AJIC web site here

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