May 4, 2021

Do You Know the Difference Between a Sanitiser and a Disinfectant?

By now everyone should be familiar with using sanitising sprays on themselves as well as disinfectants for products for surfaces, but how many people are mistakenly using the same product for both jobs?

According to Burt Rodrigues, CEO of Biodx, “The terminologies sanitiser, disinfectant and antiseptic, were just words to most people before Covid hit. People knew the words but perhaps didn’t understand the clear differences between them all.

Click to see descriptions of each

Today it’s become vital that people understand that the sanitiser you use on your hands and body will not work the same way on surfaces. Because most sanitisers typically have a large component of alcohol (70% recommended by the WHO) these will quickly evaporate when sprayed on a surface, which renders it useless seconds later. BUT a registered disinfectant, which should never be sprayed on skin, will be effective on surfaces for a lot longer than any sanitising spray.

“It’s vital that the public be educated on these differences, which is why the CDC and local campaigns put out this information around the properties of an ideal disinfectant. There’s no such thing as being a little bit effective when dealing with destroying viruses such as Covid-19. Each product you choose must work to a 100% of what it says it does and only used where recommended.”

CDC – Properties of an ideal disinfectant

  • Broad-spectrum: should have a wide antimicrobial spectrum
  • Fast-acting: should produce a rapid kill
  • Not affected by environmental factors: should be active in the presence of organic matter (e.g., blood, sputum, faeces) and compatible with soaps, detergents, and other chemicals encountered in use
  • Nontoxic: should not be harmful to the user or patient
  • Surface compatibility: should not corrode instruments and metallic surfaces and should not cause the deterioration of cloth, rubber, plastics, and other materials
  • Residual effect on treated surfaces: should leave an antimicrobial film on the treated surface
  • Easy to use with clear label directions
  • Odourless: should have a pleasant odour or no odour to facilitate its routine use
  • Economical: should not be prohibitively high in cost
  • Solubility: should be soluble in water
  • Stability: should be stable in concentrate and use-dilution
  • Cleaner: should have good cleaning properties
  • Environmentally friendly: should not damage the environment on disposal