What are Disinfectants, Germicides, Anti-Microbials, Sanitizers?
Definitions of Disinfectants, Germicides, Anti-Microbials, Sanitizers, etc.
- Antibiotic resistance - Bacteria, such as MRSA, adapt to the drugs that are designed to kill them making previously standard treatments for bacterial infections less effective, and in some cases, ineffective.
- Antibiotics either kill or interfere with the life cycle of bacteria inside the body.
- Antimicrobials kill a microorganism and are said to be bactericidal.
- Antiseptics disinfect skin.
- Bacteria are minute one-celled, microscopic, plant like organisms which multiply by fission and lack chlorophyll. Bacteria are one-celled, vegetable microorganisms that lack the green pigment chlorophyll. 400,000,000 of bacteria cells are the same size as a single grain of granulated sugar.
- Bactericides or Bactericidal agents destroy bacteria. This term is commonly applied to chemical agents that kill both pathogenic and nonpathogenic bacteria but not necessarily bacterial spores. The “cidal” and “cide” suffixes comes from the Latin word for kill - such as the words “homicide” and “suicide”. Bactericides must be registered with the EPA. Most bactericides are cationic and may not be used on stain-resistant nylon carpet. In some states, you must be licensed to apply bactericides, sanitizers, etc.
- Bacteriostatic means that the antimicrobial inhibits bacterial growth but does not kill the bacteria.
- Biocide is a general term describing a chemical agent, usually broad spectrum, that inactivates microorganisms. Because biocides range in antimicrobial activity, other terms may be more specific, including “-static,” referring to agents which inhibit growth (e.g., bacteriostatic, fungistatic, and sporistatic) and “-cidal,” referring to agents which kill the target organism (e.g., sporicidal, virucidal, and bactericidal).
- Bleaches - Hydrogen peroxide, which reacts to produce free oxygen radicals and bleaches that are based on chlorine compounds such as chlorine bleach are very powerful oxidizing agents. They quickly oxidize the complex molecules present on the surface of bacteria, causing their cell walls and cell membranes to disrupt.
- Broad Spectrum Disinfectant are for use against both gram negative and gram positive micro-organisms. Must kill both Salmonella and Staphylococcus.
- Disinfectants are germicidal agents used to destroy viruses and microbes (germs), such as bacteria and fungi, but not spores and not all viruses. Technically, a disinfectant must be capable of reducing the level of pathogenic bacteria by 99.999% during a time frame greater than 5 but less than 10 minutes.
- Disinfection is the destruction of pathogenic and other kinds of microorganisms by physical or chemical means.
- Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that includes microorganisms such as yeasts and molds, as well as the more familiar mushrooms.
- Germ - A disease causing micro-organism.
- Germicidal Cleaner - A cleaner capable of cleaning and destroying bacteria in one operation.
- Germicidal Detergent - An agent that both cleans a surface and kills most germs.
- Germicide - Applies especially to chemical agents that kill disease germs but not necessarily spores.
- Gram-Negative Bacteria - Bacteria are separated into two groups when stained with crystal violet dye. Bacteria which will not retain the gram-stain (crystal violet) counter stain are gram negative (gram positive to retain the stain). Gram negative bacteria are somewhat more resistant to germicides. Aerobacter aerogenes, Eberthella typhi, hempohilus influenza, Escherichia coli, proteus vulgaris, pseudomonas aeruginosa, salmonella schottmulleri and vibria comma are examples.
- Gram-Positive Bacteria - Bacillus anthracis, clostridium butyricum, clostridium tetani, clostridium welchii, corynebacterium diphtheriae, diplococcus pneumoniae, mycobacterium tuberculosis, staphylococcus aureus, and streptococcus hemolyticus are examples. Gram-positive bacteria will retain the gram-stain and become colored.
- H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu.
- Hospital Grade Disinfectant - Recommended for use in hospitals, medical related facilities including veterinary facilities. Must be effective against Salmonella, staphylococcus, and Pseudomonas.
- Microbicide - An agent that kills microbes.
- Mildew can be described as a specific type of mold. It can develop indoors, and the appearance and texture of this substance is much different than that of mold. It develops as a flat pattern that looks powdery or fluffy. It most typically is white, gray, or yellow and will be found along a moist surface. Over time, mildew will darken in color, turning brown or black. Exposure to mildew can cause health issues just as mold can, although not as severe. When it’s inhaled, mildew spores lead to headaches, a sore throat, coughing and other respiratory issues.
- Mold - The CDC estimates that there are over 10,000 species of mold that can live inside your home. Mold looks different than mildew - it usually appears to be “fuzzy,” as well as slimy. It shows itself in irregular shapes and the colors of these spots are rarely consistent, ranging in shades of blue, green, yellow, brown, gray, black, or white. Mold has a “musty” smell, which is a tell-tale sign of its existence in a space. Mold grows in the form of black or green patches which penetrate beneath the surface of the affected material.
- MRSA is an acronym for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus. It is an antibiotic resistant Superbug bacteria that grows in clusters, multiplies very rapidly and can cause many different kinds of infection, ranging from simple skin infections (boils, furuncles) to septicemia (infection of the bloodstream) and toxic shock syndrome. MRSA is resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin and amoxicillin. The difference between it and common staph infections is that MRSA is antibiotic-resistant and can become deadly. MRSA is popularly termed in the press as a “superbug”.
- Norovirus is a very contagious virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea and is often implicated on cruise ship outbreaks. The highly contagious norovirus can tear through cruise ships, classrooms, and other crowded spaces, leaving vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps in its wake. The CDC estimates that noroviruses are responsible for more than half of all food-borne disease outbreaks each year.
- Phenolics have long been used for their antiseptic, disinfectant, or preservative properties. Phenolic compounds act to denature and coagulate proteins. Phenol (carbolic acid) is one of the oldest antiseptic agents. Hexachlorophene is a phenolic that was once used as a germicidal additive to some household products but was banned due to suspected harmful effects.
- Quaternaries (quats) are a class of surface-active agents of the quaternary ammonium type and are good cleaning agents. They exhibit bactericidal as well as detergent properties. But, high water hardness and materials such as cotton rags and mops can make them less microbicidal because cotton absorbs the active ingredients. Therefore, it is best to use synthetic mops for cleaning hard floors. Quats will void stain-resistant nylon carpet warranties.
- Sanitization refers to killing 99+ % of germs in applicable situations.
- Sanitizer - An agent limited in scope but more effective than a bacteriostat; a sanitizing agent will reduce the majority of germ and bacteria forms to a safe level. It is safe where it is not necessary to totally destroy all bacteria. The main difference between a sanitizer and a disinfectant is that at a specified use dilution, the disinfectant must have a higher kill capability for pathogenic bacteria compared to that of a sanitizer.
- Sporicidal - Denotes the ability of a chemical substance to destroy spores such as mold.
- Sporicide - An agent that kills bacterial spores.
- Sterilants, such as glutaraldehyde or formaldehyde, are capable of eliminating all forms of microbial life, including spores.
- Sterilization is the killing of all microorganisms in a material or on the surface of an object.
- Sterile - Free of all viable organisms.
- Sterilize - To free from all living micro-organisms including germs, bacterial spores, etc.
- Superbugs are strains of bacteria, such as MRSA, that are resistant to most antibiotics and can cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and skin infections.
- Swine flu is the name for the influenza type A virus that affects pigs (swine). Although swine flu doesn’t typically affect humans, there was a global outbreak (pandemic) in 2009–2010, the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. H1N1 flu is also known as swine flu.
- Viricide or Virucide - An agent that inactivates viruses.
- Virus - A parasitic micro-organism existing within a cell. Most viruses can pass through a filter that retains bacteria.
- MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus)
NOTE: Many states require that a contractor applying a pest controlproduct, including disinfectants, be licensed. Please contact your state EPA office for further information.
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Copyright: Bane-Clene® Corp.
Author: Donald W. Terry, Sr. - Bane-Clene’s Chemist
Date Published: April 4, 2016
Date Modified: January 14, 2019