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Safest surface disinfectant

How to Avoid Using Toxic Chemicals When Sanitising Your Home

, by AussiePharmaDirect, 5 min reading time

With the outbreak of infectious diseases in recent times, we become more aware of the transmission of germs, bacteria, and viruses wherever we go. Hence, we take measures to protect ourselves and our families from such illnesses, one of which is using disinfectants as a way to clean the items in our surroundings. 

A plethora of new surface disinfectants has since hit the market. Surface disinfectants are available in different forms and types, each with its unique properties and applications. You’ve used some of them but how confident are you in choosing the right disinfectant for your specific cleaning purposes?

When it comes to keeping your home or workplace free from harmful pathogens, using the right types of disinfectants is key. In this blog, we will explore the different types of disinfectants and highlight the best way to disinfect your house to keep you and your loved ones safe and healthy.

Unpacking the ingredients list of surface disinfectants

Sometimes it can feel like you need a chemistry degree to decipher the contents of the various active ingredients that can read like an alphabet of chemicals.

Some common ingredients found in surface disinfectants include benzalkonium chloride, hydrogen peroxide, ethanol, ethyl alcohol, propyl alcohol, quaternary ammonium compound, benzyl alcohol, sodium hydroxide, didecyldmethylammonium chloride (DDAC) and alkyldimethylbenzylammonium chloride (ADBAC). Don’t let these chemical jargons discourage you yet, as we won’t go into a full lecture on the components that make up the chemicals!

In fact, knowing about the adverse effects that these ingredients cause can help you make a more informed decision about the disinfectants you use in the future.

Understanding the health risks associated with these chemicals

While effective, some of these chemicals can be very harsh, especially if you accidentally ingest them by inhaling droplets when the disinfectant cleaner is sprayed, or you come into contact with the surfaces they have been applied to and then touch your nose, eyes or mouth. They can also be corrosive on the surfaces and equipment they are applied to.

Worryingly, research has revealed that DDAC and ADBAC, which belong to a family of molecules called quaternary ammoniums or ‘quats’, can disrupt key cellular pathways and they have been shown to cause fertility problems in mice. This spells problems for us humans too. Those who routinely come into contact with quats such as janitors and nurses may experience dermal irritation, skin sensitisation and occupational asthma.

Hydrogen peroxide is another common ingredient in surface disinfectants which can have some rather unpleasant side effects such as redness, blistering, peeling or loosening of the skin, skin burning, itching, pain, stinging, rash, or swelling skin ulcers.

Similarly, regular exposure to ethanol and alcohol in surface disinfectants can wreak havoc on the skin, causing skin sensitisation, irritation and inflammation of dermatitis and eczema

So, is hydrogen peroxide bleach?

Hydrogen peroxide is a bleaching agent, but it is not the same as bleach. While bleach is typically made from sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen peroxide is a compound made from hydrogen and oxygen. Both bleach and hydrogen peroxide can be used for cleaning and disinfecting, but they have different properties and uses.

Hydrogen peroxide is often used as an antiseptic for minor cuts and wounds and as a disinfectant for household surfaces. Bleach, on the other hand, is commonly used for laundry and cleaning tasks, and can be harmful if not used properly. Hence why it’s important to read product labels carefully and follow instructions for safe and effective use.

What to consider when selecting a surface disinfectant

A key consideration is to check if the product has been listed with the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG), which is a reference database of the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). This register provides information on therapeutic goods that can be supplied in Australia. Unless exempt, therapeutic goods not entered on the ARTG cannot be supplied in Australia.

A more natural and safer alternative - ViroCLEAR Hospital Grade Surface Disinfectant

We’ve mentioned that one of the key things to look for in a surface disinfectant is if the product is listed with the ARTG, right? Lucky for you, ViroCLEAR is one of them!

ViroCLEAR Hospital Grade Surface Disinfectant is an Australian innovation of BioInnovate, that has circumnavigated the issue of high chemical load by leveraging nature to create a truly unique antimicrobial disinfectant.

The inventor, Ross Macdougald, wanted to reduce the active ingredient of benzalkonium chloride (BKC) to just 0.12% w/w, as compared to up to 2.1% w/w in some other surface disinfectants.  After experimenting with various substances, he discovered that a combination of chamomile and native lemon bush provided the perfect solution to power up the effectiveness of the BKC so it could be reduced to 0.12% and yet, be highly effective.

The use of BKC also meant there was no need to include alcohol or ethanol, thereby eliminating the potential for skin irritation associated with those ingredients.

In addition, the plant-based disinfectant is non-flammable, non-toxic, and safe to use around children, the elderly, and pregnant women. It’s also safe for aquatic life and is ARTG listed (#354369) as laboratory proved to kill COVID-19, SARS, Rhinovirus (the main culprit behind the common cold) within 90 seconds, candida albicans (which causes athlete’s foot, tinea, skin and nail infections) within 60 seconds, and 99.99% of germs and bacteria.

 The key takeaway

Reading product labels and following instructions carefully is essential for the safe and effective use of disinfectants. Disinfectants can be highly potent and can cause harm if used improperly, so it's important to take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your home. 

Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided was based on research and general knowledge, and it should not be taken as medical advice. While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information provided, it is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or health condition.


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