What are Disinfectants?

After the occurrence of Coronavirus at the end of last year, disinfectants have become one of the most sought items on store shelves. How could it not when Covid-19 is expanding at incredible speed and everyone wants to protect themselves and their loved ones. But do you know what disinfectants really are and how to identify how effective some of them are? Unfortunately, in today’s world, many seek to sell anything as an effective disinfectant without any empathy, whether or not it is effective against the Covid-19 virus. Through this text we will introduce you to disinfectants and explain to you how to choose quality and effective ones.

Products for disinfection or disinfectants

Many people don’t know what disinfectants are and how to recognize if a disinfectant is effective against the virus. Disinfectants are substances that remove various harmful microorganisms from the body or other surfaces. Their mission is to destroy viruses and bacteria, and to protect the body from possible infection. Viruses end up on the surface by touching an infected person or coughing, and a healthy person may become infected with the virus after touching that surface. The world is currently ruled by a pandemic of the Covid-19 virus, which is spreading at an incredible rate, so extra attention is needed to protect yourself against the virus. This virus is wrapped in an enveloped which is destroyed by disinfectants and you can read more about it in What is COVID-19 ?. The virus can survive on various surfaces for a long time, so it is very important that, besides your hands, you disinfect various critical points in your apartment or car. Keep in mind that disinfectants will destroy the virus from surfaces or the body, but will not prevent the virus from a drip spread, so be sure to avoid close contact with other people.

Unfortunately, in today’s world, many seek to sell anything as an effective disinfectant without any empathy, whether or not it is effective against the Covid-19 virus. Through this text we will introduce you to disinfectants and explain how to choose quality and effective ones. 

Briefly about disinfectants

There are various disinfectants on the market and besides them it is very important to use shampoos and soaps for body and hand washing. The most famous disinfectant is ethanol 70%, which is available in pharmacies. In addition to protecting your body, it is very important that you regularly wash your clothes, shoes, and other surfaces that you often come in contact with, such as a cell phone or door handle. Below, we bring you more about the various types of disinfectants and how to use them effectively. Each has different substances, which you can read in detail in the text What are the differences between active substances in disinfectants?.

Detergents protect against coronavirus

Not only disinfectant protect and destroy the Covid-19 virus. Ordinary detergents, various foaming detergents, will also destroy the viruses with an envelope. This group of viruses is very sensitive and can be destroyed by the active substances contained in shampoos or detergents. One of the main active ingredients in detergent is Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES) or Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), which kills Covid-19 and the common flu virus, and various other viruses protected with an envelope. Bacteria, on the other hand, are much more resistant and some are impossible to destroy without disinfectants. In recent years, many have turned to organic hygiene products. Of course, this is a much better option for skin health because it has less unnaturally active substances, but does it protect against viruses? In most cases, no. They are much milder, and currently it is much better option for you to go back to classic shampoos and soaps that will surely remove the virus from your skin.  Plus, you will get a much better deal, because organic detergents are a lot more expensive. Because some dangerous bacteria can be found on the plates (such as raw chicken, which is often contaminated with dangerous bacteria), dish detergents are much stronger than soap and remove many more bacteria and viruses.

Disinfectants must be tested

Disinfectants are medicinal products, and EU regulations require that they must be tested before they are placed on the market. According to EN 14476, all disinfectants acting on viruses are tested and the products to be tested are registered. If a product on the shelves that is classified as a disinfectant does not contain instructions for use and details of the norm according to which it was tested, it may not be effective against bacteria and viruses. In case you can’t find tested disinfectants, untested are better protection than nothing, but be sure to use only those microbiocide-tested disinfectants in accordance with EN 1276 or at least 14476, which are guaranteed to work against the virus. A bacterial cell is harder to kill than a viral cell, so if the disinfectant was tested in accordance with EN 1276 or identical to our standard HR ISO 1276 it certainly acts on viruses but not vice versa. 

Liquid disinfectants are not the only protection, disinfectant wipes can also serve. You can use them to erase the areas you frequently touch, such as your computer keyboard or cell phone screen. For hand disinfection, liquid disinfectants are much more effective, and according to the expert’s advice, it is recommended that you first wash your hands with soap and only then use them.

Biocidal products require authorization before they are placed on the market, entry into the biocidal product registry maintained by the Ministry of Health and upon that registration a number of criteria must be met and the active substances contained in a particular biocidal product must be pre-approved. When entering the biocide register, it is necessary to have the correct declaration on which the group and types of products must be defined, and for us the most interesting is basic group 1.

BASIC GROUP 1: Disinfectants and general biocidal products

These types of products exclude cleaners not manufactured with the intention of causing a biocidal effect, including washing liquids, powders and similar products.

Product type 1: Biocidal products for human personal hygiene

The products in this group are biocidal products used for personal hygiene purposes.

Product Type 2: Disinfectants and other biocidal products for household use and on public health surfaces

Products used for the disinfection of air, surfaces, materials, accessories and furniture which are not in direct contact with food or animal feed in the household, public and commercial areas, including hospitals, as well as products used as algacids (anti-algae agents). Areas of application, among the other things, include swimming pools, aquariums, bathing waters and other waters; air-conditioning systems; walls and floors in health and other facilities; chemical toilets, wastewater, hospital waste, soil and other substrates (on playgrounds).

The declaration must not be misleading to users given the risks that the product may pose to human health, animal health or the environment. The following indications are not allowed: “non-toxic”, “harmless”, “natural”, “environmentally friendly”, “animal friendly”, low-risk biocidal product or the like.

Expiration date of disinfectants

Although, in most cases, each bottle has an expiration date, this is due to the provisions of the European Union, according to which each product in a free sale must have a stated expiration date. So you will find an expiration date on brooms or other long-lasting things. As a rule, disinfectants do not have an expiration date, but it is important that they are not opened. In case it is left open for a long time, its effectiveness may be reduced or disappear. Alcohol can evaporate if you keep the bottle open, so always close it. Make sure that, in the case that a shelf life was exceeded, you buy a new product, because its ingredients may be concentrated in smaller quantities due to long standing.

Disinfectants are not just for your protection

Just like masks, which protect you from infection or the spread of viruses, disinfectants protect not only you but others as well. Keep in mind that viruses spread very easily and can be present on surfaces for a long time. Try to follow the instructions on precautions and companionship and try to touch as little things as possible in public. While the virus is on your hands you are not infected, so avoid touching your face, nose or eyes. Using disinfectants will greatly increase your chances of protecting yourself from the virus.

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