Disinfectants

Industrial Consumer

Disinfectants are widely misused and overused, but most common products can cause asthma. Cleaning with just plain soap, all purpose cleaners, and/or microfiber cloth can reduce 99% or more of bacteria from surfaces. Otherwise, try disinfectants below which have lactic acid, caprylic acid, citric acid, or hydrogen peroxide as active ingredients. Thymol is also a good choice for consumer use.

Required

Suggested

Oxivir Tb One-Step Ready-to-Use (RTU) Spray (Hospital Grade)

0
Manufacturer(s)
Diversey
Vendor(s)
Santora Sales
When to Use

Use to clean bodily fluids on indoor surfaces (plastics, aluminum, stainless steel, concrete, tile, porcelain, vinyl floors but can dull floor finish).  It's too caustic for other uses. To kill these germs, wipe surface and leave on for:

  • 1 min. for bacteria (MRSA, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, and more; viruses (Herpes simplex 1 and 2), HIV-1, Hepatitis B and C, Influenza, Norovirus, and more
  • 5 min. for Tb
  • 10 min. for fungi (Athletes Foot, and more)

Detailed instructions.  Only food contact surfaces need to be rinsed with potable water.

It meets suggested product parameters of the CA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. Labelled for medical device surfaces.   

Product/Service Type
Consumer, Industrial

Oxivir Tb One-Step Disinfectant Cleaner Wipes (hospital grade)

image of oxyvir wipes
0
Manufacturer(s)
Diversey
Vendor(s)
Staples
When to Use

Use for indoor surfaces on plastics, aluminum, stainless steel, concrete, tile, porcelain, and. vinyl floors.  May dull floor finish.  Meets suggested product parameters of the CA Bloodborne Pathogen Standard. Labelled for medical device surfaces.    Wipe surface and leave on for:

  • 1 min. for bacteria (MRSA, Staphylococcus, Salmonella, and more); viruses (Herpes simplex 1 and 2), HIV-1, Hepatitis B and C, Influenza, Norovirus, and others
  • 5 min. for Tuberculosis
  • 10 min. for fungi (Athletes Foot and others)

Detailed instructions

Product/Service Type
Consumer, Industrial

Oxivir 516 One-Step Disinfectant, All-Purpose & Bath Cleaner (Hospital Grade, RTD) 4963357

5
Manufacturer(s)
Diversey
Vendor(s)
Santora Sales
When to Use

Use on floors, walls, glass and other hard surfaces.  Wool Safe® approved for use in carpet extraction, prespray and spotting. To use as a general purpose or floor cleaner, dilute 1:256 (otherwise it will make the surface sticky); as a sanitizer dilute 1:128; as a disinfectant, dilute 1:64 or 1:16 (depending on what germs you are trying to kill).  Like other disinfectants, in order to kill viruses and bacteria, it must remain wet on the surface for these number of minutes.  Detailed instructions.

Product/Service Type
Industrial
  • Disinfectants with hydrogen peroxide, citric, lactic or caprylic acid, or thymol

    In order for a disinfectant to make claims that it kills germs, it must have an EPA-registration number on the bottle.

    You can also use a hard-surface sanitizer as a disinfectant.  

    If product is a concentrate, make sure a dilution system is available.  

    When to Use

    Use gloves when using disinfectants.  Avoid long-term skin contact with disinfectants containing thymol.  

    Manufacturer(s):
    City Approved Vendor(s):
    Other Vendor(s):
    Product/Service Type
    Consumer, Industrial

Limited

Prohibited

Info on this product category: Disinfectants

Why Go Green

Green disinfectants: 

  • Can be just as effective at killing germs - see the US EPA label for details
  • Have safer ingredients. Most common disinfectants contain chemicals that cause asthma.
  • Reduce waste, by emphasizing recycled and/or recyclable packaging.
  • Are sold as concentrates whenever possible, which means that shipping weight is 1/64 – 1/256 that of ready to use products - dramatically reducing fuel requirements for shipping.
  • Use dilution systems to prevent exposure to concentrated products.

Tips

  1. Use disinfectants sparingly.
  2. Disinfectants are good for surfaces that are touched frequently, like doorknobs and keyboards.
  3. A surface is not disinfected if the disinfectant is wiped away too soon. Disinfectants must sit/dwell on a surface for the number of minutes listed on the bottle. 
  4. Confused about ingredients? If the ingredient has the words "ammonium chloride" somewhere in a long chemical name, it is probably a quaternary ammonium compound, or "quat." These are to be avoided.
  5. Looking for products certified by an ecolabel organization (such as Green Seal)?  You probably won't find any.  Federal regulations prohibit ecolabels on pesticides, and disinfectants are considered pesticides.

Criteria for Disinfectants

Products must be EPA registered as disinfectants or hard surface sanitizers, and contain only the following active ingredients: Hydrogen peroxide, citric acid, lactic acid, or caprylic acid.  Products must not contain quaternary ammonium compounds or alkylphenol ethoxylates. Concentrated products must be adapted for use in a closed-loop dilution system. 

Last updated

Last updated: 
March 12, 2014

Reports

In 2014, SF Environment and the Green Purchasing Institute completed an alternatives analysis to identify the safest disinfectants. The report examined:

  • Worker health hazards
  • Environmental impacts
  • Effectiveness for various disease organisms
  • Length of time needed to kill germs
  • Compatibility with surfaces

Conclusion: Use hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, citric acid, or caprylic acid-based disinfectants when feasible. They show the highest potential for reducing risks to workers and the environment. Some worked very well in pilot tests at the San Francisco Unified School District. For concentrated products, a closed loop dilution system is preferred. Thymol is also an option for consumer use.

Guide for City Staff

City Custodians:

  1. Are required to buy these cleaners (if needed):
  2. Post the City department green cleaning checklist/poster

  3. Post tips (for microfibers, disinfecting, dusting, polishing, floor care, kitchens, restrooms) from custodial green cleaning training videos by SF Environment. 

  4. Disinfectants are only important for surfaces like doorknobs.
  5. Switch to microfiber mops and cloths, which can prevent injuries because there's no need for heavy mop buckets.
  6. Install closed-loop dilution systems (if possible) to prevent employee exposure to hazardous concentrates.

Non-custodial City Staff:

Recycling Instructions

It's illegal to trash cleaners (and other chemicals, electronics, lighting, metal, paints). So do one of the following:

  • Use what you already have. 
  • Give them to someone who needs them.
  • Legally and safely dispose them. Post this recycling poster (available in Spanish/Chinese) above each trash bin. Then get a pick up.

Guide for Small Businesses & Homes

  • Businesses should consider switching to industrial disinfectants, especially concentrates. Ready-to-use products are 15 times more expensive than concentrates.
  • Otherwise, safer consumer disinfectants are available. Look for hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, caprylic acid or citric acid active ingredients. Thymol products are also good options but avoid long term use without rubber gloves.
  • SF Environment (with US EPA support) has developed a series of  custodial green cleaning training videos aimed at custodial companies seeking SF Green Business certification. These videos are free and available to all.

Guide for Large Organizations