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Sanitizer vs. Disinfectants

What you really need to know

By Anna and Ginger

 A SANITIZER is FDA grade and referred to as an antiseptic. Sanitizers are regulated as overthe-counter (non-prescription) drugs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  

Sanitizers (also referred to as antiseptics) are used to prevent infection and decay by inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. They are important because they are used in or on living humans or animals and are considered drugs and are thus approved and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Spraying down the surfaces in an active public area with a sanitizer would not be harmful or toxic and is recommended by the CDC for use in cleaning and sanitizing of human, animals and food environments. Outdoor areas generally require normal routine cleaning and sanitization and do not require disinfection.

Sanitize is to make sanitary, as by cleaning or disinfecting and to be sanitary is to be free from elements such as filth or pathogens that endanger health.

The alcohol in GEL hand sanitizer works best for hands. When you rub hand sanitizer all over your hands, making sure to get between your fingers and on the back of your hands. Do not wipe or rinse off the hand sanitizer before it is activated (active) in 30 seconds.

The alcohol in SPRAY sanitizer works best for hands, masks, air and hard surfaces. Adequately spray the sanitizer over the surface, air, masks and hands. Do not wipe or rinse off the sanitizer – let it air dry until it is activated (effective) in 15 seconds.

The FDA also continues to quality-test sanitizers, including testing products entering the country through the U.S. border, and maintains a list of FDA-tested and recalled hand sanitizers on the agency’s website. 

A DISINFECTANT is an EPA grade product and regulated as a harsh chemical and unfit for use on living things. OSHA also monitors disinfecting solutions in the workplace.  Disinfectants are chemical agents rated and administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are designed to inactivate or destroy micro-organisms on inert surfaces.

Disinfection does not however necessarily kill all microorganisms, especially resistant bacterial spores. Disinfectant products are divided into two major types: hospital and general use. Hospital type disinfectants are the most critical to infection control and are used on medical instruments, floors, walls, bed linens and other surfaces. General disinfectants are the major source of products used in households, swimming pools and water purifiers.

Cleaning surfaces in an active public area with a disinfectant could put the public at risk of inhalation and contact with harmful toxins. Caution is used to wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Disinfectants are TECH grade EPA regulated harsh chemicals.

Common disinfectants include alcohol, quaternary ammonium salts, formaldehyde and glutaraldehyde, bleach, chloramine, chlorine dioxide, ozone, silver dihydrogen citrate, and thymol. One non-chemical disinfectant is UV light.

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In Summary:

Disinfectants kill more germs than sanitizers. Sanitizers are mild compared to disinfectants and are used majorly to clean things which are in human contact whereas disinfectants are concentrated and are used to clean surfaces like floors and building premises. Both are antimicrobials.

In laymen terms:

Disinfectants are not used on people and Antiseptics are used on living things.

Know the differences and #besafehawaii



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