5 Things Beginners Need to Know About Disinfectants

by Schneider Jean-Francois on Jul 06, 2023


Disinfectants are essential products for maintaining hygiene and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. They are chemical substances that destroy or eliminate harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi. 

However, not all disinfectants are created equal, and beginners should know some essential things about them. In this article, we will discuss five things beginners need to know about disinfectants.

1) The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are three different processes. Cleaning involves removing dirt and contaminants from a surface using soap, water, and a scrubbing brush. 

Sanitizing is the process of reducing the number of bacteria and viruses on a surface to a safe level. Disinfecting is the process of killing or eliminating all microorganisms on a surface. It is important to note that cleaning alone does not necessarily mean that a surface is free of harmful microorganisms. Therefore, it is important to sanitize or disinfect surfaces, especially frequently touched ones, such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops.

2) Types of Disinfectants

Not all disinfectants are suitable for all surfaces or all applications. Different types of disinfectants include chlorine-based, quaternary ammonium-based, hydrogen peroxide-based, and alcohol-based disinfectants. 

Each type has its own advantages and disadvantages, and beginners should choose the appropriate type of disinfectant based on the surface to be disinfected and the microorganisms to be eliminated. For example, chlorine-based disinfectants are effective against a wide range of microorganisms but may damage some surfaces, while alcohol-based disinfectants are flammable and may dry out some surfaces.

3) The Importance of Following Instructions

Disinfectants are chemical substances that can be harmful if not used properly. It is important to follow the instructions on the label carefully to ensure that the disinfectant is used safely and effectively. Beginners should pay attention to the concentration, contact time, and application method specified on the label. 

For example, some disinfectants require dilution with water, while others can be used directly. Some disinfectants require a certain amount of contact time to be effective, while others can be wiped off immediately. Failure to follow the instructions can result in ineffective disinfection or even harm to the user.

4) The Limitations of Disinfectants

While disinfectants are effective against many microorganisms, they have their limitations. For example, disinfectants may not be effective against some viruses or fungi. 

Some disinfectants may also be inactivated by organic matter such as blood, mucus, or feces. In addition, disinfectants may not be effective if the surface is not cleaned properly before disinfection. Therefore, it is important to choose the appropriate disinfectant for the microorganism to be eliminated and to ensure that the surface is properly cleaned before disinfection.

5) The Importance of Personal Protective Equipment

Disinfectants are chemical substances that can be harmful if they come into contact with the skin, eyes, or mouth. Therefore, wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) when using disinfectants is important. 

Beginners should wear gloves, goggles, and a face mask to protect themselves from the disinfectant and any microorganisms that may be present. It is also important to use disinfectants in a well-ventilated area to avoid inhaling fumes.


Disinfectants are essential products for maintaining hygiene and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Beginners should understand the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting, know the limitations of disinfectants, choose the right type, follow label instructions, wear protective gear, and clean surfaces before disinfecting. By following these guidelines, beginners can use disinfectants safely and effectively to protect themselves and others from harmful microorganisms.

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