At a time when hygiene and cleanliness are of utmost importance, it is vital that we practice disinfecting surfaces, such as tabletops, door handles, buttons we press to open lifts, or even our mobile phones and other objects we may touch. It is surprising how many things we come in contact with using our hands without consciously thinking about it.
The pandemic has certainly made us all aware that our hands are the biggest culprit to making us ill as we subconsciously pick up and touch things. Thus it is advocated that we disinfect potential germ-carrying surfaces and keep our hands cleaned with disinfectant too to ensure optimal health.
What is disinfectant made of?
Disinfectant is described in the dictionary as “a chemical liquid that destroys bacteria”, however, Wikipedia’s explanation delves even deeper and explains that disinfectant is actually a chemical agent that is designed to destroy or to render micro-organisms inactive on surfaces.
While disinfectants are not able to kill all micro-organisms, sterilization is more effective in killing resistant bacterial spores.
The most active ingredient in most disinfectants for hard surfaces such as walls, floors, tables, etc. is derived from regular bleach, which itself is made up of sodium hypochlorite, derived interestingly enough from common table salt, sodium chloride, sodium hydroxide, and sodium carbonate and water.
Ethanol alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are also highly effective disinfecting agents. In the case of alcohol, it is important to note that cleaning products usually contain about 70 percent of alcohol in the solution and if people are using hand sanitizers they should ensure that it contains at least 60 percent in order for it to be effective, bearing in mind that alcohol dissipates fast.
Hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant can kill viruses and bacteria in thirty seconds when applied to surfaces, but is most effective on hard surfaces, although it is equally effective on softer surfaces but could damage soft materials, such as paper, cardboard, or softwood.
What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
Soap alone cannot disinfect surfaces. For it to be effective it has to be mixed with water and rubbed thoroughly until it becomes a lather, and since soap usually doesn’t contain chemicals, it might not kill all germs, although it will certainly lower the numbers and help combat the risk of spreading viruses.
On the other hand, disinfectants actually kill germs on households and other surfaces or objects.
While hydrogen peroxide is not as effective as bleach or alcohol, it also contains disinfectant properties that can kill viruses and bacteria. The recommendation is to use the 3% concentration of it to mix with water and disinfect surfaces.
Bleach, however, seems to remain the ‘go-to’ disinfectant for most people, so cleaning and then disinfecting with bleach would ensure the surface is at least 97 percent germ-free.
The way it works is that the sodium hypochlorite in the bleaching liquid comes in contact with the bacteria or virus and oxidizes molecules in the virus’s cells, killing it.
Hillcrest Hygiene offers an innovative solution to keeping household surfaces and even surfaces in your car germ-free with its anti-viral protective coating. Treatment with the coating ensures that it inhibits the growth of microbes and can last up to ninety days, guaranteeing treatment on all surfaces in homes, cars, offices, and educational facilities.