What are disinfectants?
Disinfectants are the chemical agents that either inhibit microbial activities and growth or are lethal and kill the microorganisms. Disinfectants work by adversely affecting the microbe’s cell by either disrupting its physical makeup or by blocking its energy-yielding or synthetic processes. Disinfectants are consumed or expended during this process.

Which microbes are we trying to kill?
Disease-producing microorganisms are known as pathogens. Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, as well as viruses are the pathogenic microorganisms we attempt to control. Bacteria are microscopic single cell organisms. Mold and mildew are types of fungi. Common protozoan diseases include malaria and amebiasis.  Some of the most well known diseases caused by viruses are the common cold, influenza, hepatitis, measles, mumps, rabies,and smallpox.

What are the types of disinfectants?

  • Bleach (Chlorine) : Generally speaking, kills just about everything, but is highly corrosive, unstable, and has a short shelf life. Carefully consider where it is used, how it is stored, and NEVER mix it with other chemicals.
  • Phenols (Carbolic Acid): less corrosive than chlorine and often preferred in healthcare environments because they are effective against spore forming bacteria. However, phenols are not selective and attack all surfaces.
  • Pine Oil: While pine oil is a natural disinfectant,products require such a high concentration of oil that you’d better really like the smell of pine. Again, their solvent action is non-selective in that it attacks everything, and the cost can be rather steep.
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats): By far the most popular because of their low cost and selective aggression. They have broad spectrum effectiveness against a range of microorganisms, can be formulated to target specific issues, and provide the highest overall value.

Which type should I use?
At times, your concern for total kill will outweigh the negative impacts of the product used. Many kennels use bleach to control parvo virus. Some health care institutions will demand phenolic cleaners against tuberculosis.  Overall, which type of product you should choose depends on the needs of the particular application. Michco can match those desires with a product to gain the benefits you desire.

How long does it take to work?
Allowing proper dwell time for the chemical agents to effectively kill the microorganisms is one of the most important steps in the disinfectant process. Be sure to read the label on each product. Kill times can vary widely, from 1-10 minutes or more. Make sure that you are allowing your product enough contact time to truly disinfect your surface, in accordance with manufacturer specifications.

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