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Uses of Disinfectants

7/10/2012 12:47:29 PM | by Anonymous


Disinfectants are substances that are typically applied onto non-living objects or items to “disinfect” them, which basically mean destroying microorganisms that might be present on the object. Although they might not always kill all the germs and microorganisms, they are an ideal tool used in hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities to disinfect medical tools from any form of bacteria before use. Disinfectant cannot be classified in the same category as antimicrobial agents such as antibiotics or antiseptics as they work differently and aim to destroy microorganisms on different surfaces and parts. As for antibiotics, it aims to destroy microorganisms that are within a body after ingestion and antiseptics aim to destroy microorganism that are on living tissues. Disinfectants destroy the cell wall of microbes or they manipulate the metabolism.


The application of disinfectants is usually in hospitals, kitchens and bathrooms to kill any harmful bacteria that could spread viruses or cause infections. As they are able to kill most of the microorganisms that might be present on the surface, for example a counter or a floor, they reduce the risk of contracting any viruses or infections. The soaps used to clean floors or counters contain disinfectants in them, with some being of a stronger concentration than others. The strength of a disinfectant can be altered by adding a diluting agent which can either be water or any other type of liquid. Most disinfectants require the user to mix a small portion of the disinfectant with a portion of water before using it.


No one disinfectant can be considered perfect as all have different properties and applications. However, a disinfectant should always posses qualities such as offer disinfection without harming any useful forms of life, be non-corrosive as it could harm the surface that you are trying to clean and should not be too expensive. Many of today’s disinfectants are harmful and even toxic to humans and animals. Consumption of these substances can result in fatal situations or even death. To prevent consumption, many manufacturers tend to add Bitrex, an extremely bitter substance into the content of the disinfectant. These substances should never be used in accordance with any other chemical substances as it could results in a fatal chemical reaction, unless otherwise stated. Industries that make use of disinfectants tend to use those of very high and strong concentrations for better results. These strong chemicals should never be used for domestic purposes as they can be very harmful. On the other hand, those used in domestic applications tend to be of weaker. For such cases also, the choice of disinfectant used depends on the material or object to be cleaned. Some disinfectants have the capability to kill a wide range of microorganisms whereas others can only kill a certain type of bacteria.


Alcohols can sometimes be used as a disinfectant although it is mostly used as an antiseptic that can be applied over human tissue to clean wounds before treatment. These substances can be an ideal choice as they do not corrode the substance on which they are being applied upon, however they can be a fire hazard. As for household use, bleach provides the best solution of a disinfectant. It can be easily purchased from a convenience store, is inexpensive and is highly effective, that is if handled properly. Textiles that have been stained with grease or other stubborn stains, floors sinks and counters can all be treated with bleach to remove stains and provide the surface with a cleaner look.


Many people argue that instead of using disinfectants to treat a surface, one should always take precautions to prevent any bacteria or microorganisms from breeding on a surface, thus eliminating the need for disinfectants. There are certain types of microorganisms that, if they survive a chemical attack, give raise to new generations of microorganisms that are much stronger and have resistance to that certain type of chemical, thus rendering the disinfectant ineffective. It is due to this that good hygiene is advised to prevent bacteria build-up.

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