The Facts About Disinfecting

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With properly disinfecting businesses and homes being more important than ever, we share some of our top insights into the facts and the myths revolving around the two, in order to help keep people safe.
Disinfecting Myths and Facts

With global events being what they are, cleaning and sanitising is more integral to safety than ever, and getting it right is becoming increasingly important.

Knowing what it is you’re using, how it works, and what’s in it can mean the difference between having a sanitary space and putting people at risk.

And with something this important, businesses and consumers alike need to know the facts and myths around using cleaning products, what it is each of them is designed to do, what it is they’re just not going to achieve and halt the spread of misinformation.

Are Cleaning and Disinfecting The Same?

Cleaning and disinfecting are often used synonymously, and even can be misconstrued into meaning the same thing. The reality is they are two completely different things with two completely different processes involved.

Cleaning is simply the removal of surface dirt, dust etc.

Reproduction of Bacteria

An important first step in making sure an area is sanitary and pathogen-free – but doesn’t go any way to removing pathogens, and can be considered the least effective standalone method of making sure an area is safe.

Disinfecting is exactly the opposite, with the use of chemicals to kill viruses and bacteria in an area but doesn’t generally pertain to the removal of said pathogens.

You can quickly see how they are different, how they can be misconstrued as the same and how they go hand in hand.

The difference between sanitising and disinfecting is a matter of 1 millionth of a percent, however when it comes to the reproduction rate of a bacterium or virus, can make a big difference.

Do Non-Toxic Disinfectants Work?

Legally speaking, if something is retailed as a disinfectant then it must eliminate 99.9999% of bacteria within a 10-minute window of uninterrupted, direct contact.

The efficacy of any disinfectant can vary wildly within this timescale, with some working within a minute and others taking up the full 10 minutes.

It’s important to read the manufacturer’s instructions to properly use your disinfectant, as it isn’t as simple as apply and wipe off.

There’s no direct correlation between the efficacy of a disinfectant and whether it is based on harsh chemicals (ethanol, ammonia and bleach) and one such as our BioBarrier which has a water base.

Whilst how effective a disinfectant is doesn’t depend on the base, its applications do.

It is highly inadvisable to use a chemically based disinfectant in an area in which food is prepared as it is toxic and will leave a toxic residue, and if you are fogging an area with a chemically based disinfectant, correct PPE must be worn at all times, with nobody allowed to enter the area until at least an area after the treatment has finished.


Do Disinfectants Work Instantly?

Obviously this was touched on in the previous point, but disinfectants do not work instantly.

It can take anywhere up to 10 minutes for disinfectants to kill pathogens, and if you’re not using them to the manufacturer’s recommendations by removing it before the required time then chances are your area is not fully disinfected.

From our experience, particularly on the consumer side of things, people don’t leave their sanitisers of for the correct amount of time.

We cannot stress enough how integral it is for companies and consumers alike to always follow manufacturer’s recommendations before cleaning or sanitising if you want the best results.

Do Cleaning Products Disinfect?

If something is labelled as a cleaner, then that’s what it is.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that because something cleans, it disinfects, as already stated the two are not synonymous and it is the biggest mistake people and companies make.

Whilst all-in-ones, or two-in-ones do exist, both cleaner and disinfectant must be clearly stated on the label, don’t get tricked into thinking otherwise as you will be exposing yourself when you think you’re safe.

Do Vinegar or Lemon Juice Disinfect?

A common misconception is that both lemon juice and vinegar disinfect due to their acidic pH, and probably because lemon is a popular scent in disinfectants.

This is entirely not true. Neither acetic acid (vinegar) or citric acid (lemon juice) are strong enough to disinfect.

Disinfectants work differently depending on what the base is, however most commonly by destroying the cell wall, or in the case of viruses destroying the genome, neither of which occur whilst these two acids are present at these concentrations.

Are Disinfectants Toxic?

10 years ago, this was probably the case. But as consumers have become more conscious about the effects their lifestyles are having on the environment, companies have adapted.

These days it’s much easier to find non-toxic alternatives that are eco-friendly and won’t leave your area with harmful chemicals that require wiping down after, such as our multi-surface sanitiser spray.

And whilst chemically-based disinfectants are still a thing, we wholly advise against using these in a populated environment without being properly aerated after, and even then users should be aware that toxic elements may remain afterwards.

Enjoy this blog? Check out some of our others here, and as always get in contact with one of our experts if you have any questions or queries relating to this.

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StereX products present a big leap forward for domestic & commercial cleaners. Working in synergy, the provide hard & soft surfaces with 24/7 protection against bacteria & viruses including all known coronaviruses.


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