Conor Clifford

By: Conor Clifford on December 27th, 2021

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Choosing the Best Disinfectant for Your Facility: 6 Factors to Consider

Commercial disinfectants are important to killing illness-causing germs and bacteria on surfaces that the people in your building touch regularly. Having the right chemical disinfectant can help ensure that your facility is clean and safe.

There are several types of chemical disinfectants that can be used by your janitorial staff to maintain the cleanliness of the surfaces in your building 

The type of chemical disinfectant your cleaning team uses in your facility depends on a few factors. These factors will help you decide which chemical disinfectant is most compatible with your businesses’ unique needs.

In this article and video, we’ll review the 6 factors you should consider when selecting a commercial disinfectant for your facility. These factors include:

  1. Kill Claims
  2. Dwell Time
  3. Chemical Compatibility with Surfaces or Other Materials
  4. Cost
  5. Ease of Use
  6. Staff & Occupant Safety Concerns

What Factors Should You Consider When Choosing A Disinfectant?

1. Kill Claims

Coronavirus COVID-19 Under MicroscopeKill claims are also known as the pathogens or other bacteria, spores, or viruses that the product eliminates. The germs and bacteria that each chemical targets vary based on the active ingredients, dwell time, and a few other factors.

Kill claims are one, if not the most important factor to consider when selecting a chemical disinfectant. Not all chemical disinfectants are effective at killing the same bacteria, viruses, or germs. For example, one product may be effective at killing Norovirus, MRSA, C.Diff, & Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), while other commercial disinfectants may not. 

2. Dwell Time 

proper dwell timeDwell time is another critical consideration when selecting a disinfectant. Dwell time is the amount of time a disinfectant needs to remain wet on a surface to effectively kill germs.

Understanding the product’s dwell time for specific organisms is important because one commercial disinfectant may kill the flu and norovirus in 30 seconds while others may take as long as 5 minutes. If you are disinfecting a high-traffic area, you’ll likely want to opt for a product with the shortest dwell time possible to ensure maximum germ kill. 

Not allowing a chemical disinfectant to dwell for the recommended time means it will not be killing all illness-causing germs on the surface or area, putting your occupants at greater risk of illness or even an outbreak. 

Additionally, a product with a long dwell time could cause areas in your facility to be closed until surfaces have been properly disinfected. Closing areas to the public leads to downtime, lost productivity, lower sales, and more. 

3. Chemical Compatibility with Surfaces or Other Materials

Some chemical disinfectants can damage surfaces if not handled with care. If you choose a chemical disinfectant that is harsh on the surfaces in your building, you could damage your surfaces, leading to expensive repairs or replacements.

Some damages include staining, rusting, corrosion, or dissolving. These damages can be avoided with the right chemical disinfectant.

4. Cost

Labor CostsYour facility’s budget is important when choosing the chemicals and materials you should add to your cleaning program. 

Chemical disinfectants will vary in cost, not only based on the active ingredient but also based on how the product is packaged and used.

Active Ingredients

Some active ingredients in a chemical disinfectant may be more expensive. Ingredients, like quats and hypochlorites, are more affordable than others. 

Depending on the financial budget of your business, you may benefit from using a less expensive active ingredient.

Product Packaging

Concentrated chemicals can save you money because they last longer and the cost per use is lower. These chemicals should be diluted using a controlled dilution system to provide your business the best value and eliminate human error during manual dilution.

Disinfecting Surfaces5. Ease of Use

To disinfect, you must either use the 1 or 2 step disinfection method which is determined by the commercial disinfectant you have. 

What is 1 step disinfection?

The 1-step method uses a cleaner/disinfectant to both clean and disinfect a surface. 

This one-step method allows your disinfectant chemical to be used to clean light soil loads on a surface without using a separate cleaning product.

While a cleaner/disinfectant may seem like the better option because it doesn’t require a second product, you should consider the common soil load on your surfaces. If your surfaces are usually covered in heavy soil or grease, you may benefit from a disinfectant that requires 2-step disinfection.

What is 2 step disinfection?

When your surfaces are covered in visible soils or grease, some disinfectants will require that you remove the soil load first with a cleaning product. Once the surface is cleaned, you can apply the disinfectant.

This is commonly referred to as 2-step disinfection.

In the 2-step disinfecting method, your staff has to complete thorough surface cleaning to remove the soil load from surfaces before they can be disinfected or the product won’t be effective. Disinfectants cannot kill germs through an existing soil load because the chemicals cannot disinfect through dirt, grease, or other soil.

6. Staff & Occupant Safety Concerns 

Poision SymbolThere are some chemical disinfectants that are harsher than others. When choosing a chemical disinfectant for your facility, you should take care to make sure the ingredients do not put your staff or guests at risk.

Some active ingredients used in chemical disinfectants may cause skin and respiratory irritation if not used properly or with the correct personal protection equipment (PPE).

You should be sure that you are using a disinfectant that doesn’t give off Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that may cause discomfort to your staff and other building occupants.

If you’re in a school or hospital, you probably don’t want to use a product with high VOC content because it could negatively affect the health of the vulnerable people in your facility.


Final Thoughts

You’ll need to decide the factors that are most important for your facility. 

By narrowing down which of these factors need to be prioritized, you can decide which disinfectant is best for you to use on the surfaces in your building.

If you’re looking to add the best chemical disinfectant for your facility to your cleaning program, EBP and other Imperial Dade locations have a wide range of disinfectant products that meet your facility’s wants, needs, budget, and other considerations.

Whether you’re located in the United States, Puerto Rico, or the Caribbean, contact an EBP Specialist today for help identifying the best disinfectant chemical to achieve effective germ kill in your building.

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About Conor Clifford

Conor Clifford is an Account Executive for EBP Supply Solutions, with over 6 years of experience in helping customers find the perfect solutions for their janitorial and sanitation needs. He is a CMI-certified specialist with knowledge and expertise in enhancing floor care programs to optimize facility cleanliness, achieve maximum productivity, and provide the most innovative solutions for each business’s needs.