Infections that develop during hospitalization can be prevented by using proper surface disinfectants. Various key factors needed to be considered while selecting surface disinfectant. Some ultimate characteristics of disinfectants utilized on environmental surfaces include user safety, material compatibility, low toxicity, maintained efficacy combined with protein or blood. Some disinfectants have limited use due to unmeet aforementioned criteria.
Generally, disinfectants are cidal in that they kill susceptible potential pathogenic agents. Disinfectants should be selected on the basis of function the disinfectant is anticipated to perform. Especially, a disinfectant should be broad spectrum, nontoxic, inexpensive, noncorrosive and nonirritating. Moreover, Safety to people, impact on equipment, expense and environment are key selection decisions that need to be taken into consideration. A number of disinfectants are available in the surface disinfectant chemicals market.
There are various disinfectants, classified on the basis of chemical nature. Each class has its unique hazards, efficacy, characteristics and hazards against different microorganisms. Action of disinfectant is also can be impacted by some environmental conditions like presence of organic matter, and pH or water hardness, etc. Here are some key classes of chemical disinfectants and their characteristics.
Acidic disinfectants destroy the bonds of nucleic acids. Acids also helps to change the pH of the environment making it detrimental to many microorganisms. Acetic acid, citric acid are some examples of acid disinfectants. Acetic acid is generally sold as glacial acetic acid, which is diluted with water to prepare working solution concentration. The acetic acid is usually applied by misting, spraying or immersing an item in a diluted solution.
Alcohols are used for topical antiseptic, hand sanitizing tools and surface disinfection. Isopropanol and ethanol are some examples of alcohols. Alcohols are capable of killing most bacteria in the time spam of five minutes of exposure. Alcohols evaporate quickly but doesn’t leave any residue behind. They are highly inflammable and damages rubber and plastic and can cause irritation to injured skin.
Biguanides have wide antibacterial spectrum but their effectiveness is limited. They are not effective against viruses and are not fungicidal, mycobacteriocidal and antibacterial. These products are poisonous to fish and should not be discharged in the environment. Chlorhexidine is an example of Biguanides.
Halogens compounds are wide spectrum compounds, which are considered as easy to use, low cost and low toxicity. These are not active above temperature 110 degree Fahrenheit. These compounds leave activity quickly as soon as they come in presence of sunlight, organic debris and some metals. Chlorine and iodine compounds are best examples of halogens.
Oxidizing agents function by denaturing lipids and proteins of microorganisms. Peroxygen compounds have wide range of varieties in terms of microbiocidal however, they are considered effective on hard surfaces and equipment. Hydrogen peroxide, Virkon-S and Peracetic acid are some examples of oxidizing agents.
Aforementioned surface disinfectants have significant differences, which are classified on the basis of their characteristics. Thereby, these products should be opted depending upon the expected application. Among these, acids are dangerous if these are used without diluting in water whereas, alcohols are user-friendly, which are volatile in nature.
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