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Have you read any good (disinfectant) labels lately?

According to science-based hygienic cleaning systems business, Kaivac, cleaning pros should know what certain terms mean when reading the label on a disinfectant. This is not only imperative for the user’s health, but to protect the health of other people and the planet.

John Richter, technical director at Kaivac, commented:

“Historically, one of the problems cleaning pros have had reading product labels is that they can vary as to how the information is presented. But as a result of the global harmonising initiatives, the format should now be the same making them easier to read and understand.”

Kaivac has listed a number of terms found on disinfectant labels which it believes cleaning pros should know:

  • Limited Efficacy: This term means the disinfectant is effective against specific microorganisms
  • Broad-Spectrum: Also called “General-Purpose,” it means the disinfectant is effective against a wide range of microorganisms
  • Hospital or Medical Environment: The disinfectant is effective in eliminating many nosocomial (hospital acquired) pathogens
  • One-step cleaner: A one-step disinfectant has been tested in the presence of soil, and if effective, means the disinfectant can be used to both clean and disinfect a surface; pre-cleaning may still be needed if the surface is heavily soiled
  • EPA-Registered: A disinfectant may not make efficacy claims against pathogens unless the Environmental Protection Agency has reviewed and approved data to support them

Other information a user is likely to find on a disinfectant label includes the following:

  • Active ingredients
  • Inert (inactive) ingredients
  • Dilution instructions
  • Dwell time
  • A precautionary statement
  • First aid information
  • “Under certain conditions” means the disinfectant may or may not be effective based on bacterial count on a surface; the location of the microorganisms, (e.g. flat surfaces, crevices, or cracks); temperature, humidity, water hardness, etc.


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