Understanding Disinfection Terminology

Disinfectants play a major role in the professional cleaning industry.  They are not only used in healthcare settings, but in schools, offices, as well as large and small public facilities.  

Disinfectants play a major role in the professional cleaning industry.  They are not only used in healthcare settings, but in schools, offices, as well as large and small public facilities.

However, unlike other cleaning products, disinfectants have their own terms and terminology.

Jennifer Meek, Director of Marketing for Charlotte Products Ltd, helps sort through the jargon and lists some common disinfectant-related terms and what they mean.

Disinfection efficacy: Lists the pathogens that are killed by properly using the disinfectant.  This is approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or for Canada, Health Canada (DIN).   If a pathogen is not stated on the label, such as Staph, HIV, HBV, E-Coli, MRSA, VRE, Influenza A, etc. the product can not claim to kill it, nor should anyone assume kill claims.  Therefore the more claims on the label, the better the disinfectant as it has a more broad ability to disinfect.  If you require a disinfectant with a specific kill claim – for example Influenza A – make sure it is stated on the label.

Contact time required: Sometimes referred to as dwell time, this refers to the amount of time the product must remain wet on a surface for the active ingredients to be effective.

Parts per million (ppm): Disinfectants are considered to be efficacious if the ppm is above 300-350.  More effective disinfectant concentrates are designed to yield almost twice that amount.  The easiest way to calculate ppm is by taking the total percentage of all active disinfectant agents multiplied by the number of ounces needed per gallon; this number is then divided by 128 and then multiplied by 10,000.   As soils and pathogens are introduced to the solution, the PPM decreases.  For rooms, a rule of thumb is 0.5 PPM per square foot cleaned with a mop and bucket.  Therefore, the greater the PPM, the better the disinfectant.

Cleaning efficacy: The cleaning efficacy of a disinfectant refers to its ability to clean (remove soil).  Some disinfectants are not designed to clean (be used as a cleaner or to be used to first pre-clean the surface prior to applying it or another disinfectant).    To determine the product’s cleaning efficacy, it’s important to carefully read product labels.  In general, the greater the cleaning efficacy of a disinfectant, the better.

Cost in use: This refers to the actual costs associated with using a product and is determined by analyzing the cost of using the solution after dilution.  Everyday housekeeping operations in most facilities are very sensitive to costs.  As such, the proper disinfectant to implement should be matched to the required protocols to keep costs minimized.  At times a product may have different dilution rates for different kill claims or for cleaning, so it is important to calculate all the different applications cost in use.

To use disinfectants properly requires considerable product knowledge.  An astute jansan distributor can prove to be an invaluable resource when it comes to enhancing customers’ disinfectant lexicon.

 

For more information on our products supporting disinfection:

Enviro-Solutions: http://www.charlotteproducts.com/envirodisinfectant.html

Custom Solutions: http://www.charlotteproducts.com/cs_disinfectants.html

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