Appendix III: Classes of Disinfectants and Characteristics
Hypochlorities (Chlorox, Presept)
- Good general purpose disinfectant but corrosive against metal and should not be used on metal surfaces (i.e. stainless steel counters, centrifuges)
- Active against viruses
- Avoid contact with formaldehyde because the two compounds react together to produce carcinogenic products.
- Must be made fresh daily because they are readily inactivated by organic matter.
- Concentrations used
- 1000 ppm for general use surface disinfection
- 2500 ppm in discard pipette washing containers
- 10,000 ppm for tissue culture waste and spillages
Phenolics (e.g. Sudol, Hycolin)
- Not active against viruses
- Remains active in the presence of organic matter
Alcohol (e.g. ethanol, isopropanol)
- Effective against bacteria.
- Ethanol is effective against most viruses but not non-enveloped viruses. Isopropanol is not effective against viruses.
- Effective concentrations
- Ethanol 70%
- Isopropanol 60-70%
Aldehydes (e.g. glutaraldehyde formaldehyde)
- Major disadvantage is their toxicity to humans
- Glutaraldehyde can be used when hypochlorites are not suitable (stainless steel sinks)
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (e.g. Bacdown)
- Effective against gram positive and gram negative bacteria and lipophilic viruses
- Ineffective against spores
- Readily inactivated by organic matter.
- Working concentrations are dilute enough to be less irritating and toxic to humans.