In recent years, several new disinfectant technologies have gained  attention in the restoration/remediation industry, so it might be time to reevaluate your current go-to disinfectant to be sure you are using the best, most appropriate tool for the job. Here are some quick, practical tips for choosing the ideal disinfectant product for your next restoration/remediation project.

If you’ve completed a basic water damage class or two, you’ve likely been advised that “disinfectant” can be a loaded term in our industry. That’s because promising “disinfection” of a water damage site can lead to liability issues down the road, this is why restorers are advised to use language like “applying an antimicrobial” and “sanitizing” rather than make a promise of disinfection.  

That’s good advice, but it doesn’t mean that lower-grade sanitizers and antimicrobials should actually be used to treat water-damaged surfaces. Sometimes that idea gets missed in class. In fact, restorers need to be using the strongest, most effective disinfectant product available. And there are other critieria to consider as well.

To ensure you’ve got the right disinfectant in your arsenal, here’s what you should be looking for in a modern professional disinfectant.

1. It needs to be effective (i.e.: have strong kill claims) and be appropriate for the types of surfaces and situations you face.  To determine if a disinfectant product is in the strongest category, look for one EPA registered as a “Tuberculocide” (indicates Tuberculocidal on the front main label).  “Tuberculocide” is a special EPA kill claim rating that is higher than a standard disinfectant rating.  In other words: Tuberculocides are stronger than disinfectant products without that special claim and should be the weapon of choice in your disinfecting and sanitizing arsenal since they produce the best results across a range of surfaces and circumstances.

2. Not all Tuberculocidals achieve their efficacy the same way; they have a variety of ingredients, with a range of health and safety (and liability) implications. Choose a safe disinfectant by comparing the Hazards Identification section on the Safety Data Sheets of Tuberculocide-rated products. 

3. Some disinfectants have strong or unpleasant scents. Choose one with a light scent or, better yet, one with odor-dissipation technology.  Only when your disinfectant has no strong scent of its own can you effectively use (and bill for) odor-counteractants or cover scents.

4. Surfactants can improve the performance of disinfectants and allow them to do double-duty as cleaners. Few disinfectants have quality surfactant packages in their formulas.  Getting your disinfectant to do more work means less work for you.

5. Don’t throw away money unnecessarily; the highest cost product isn’t always the best performer.  In fact, some of the newer, more effective disinfectants come with lower price tags than traditional ones, so be sure to compare.

Carefully considering these five disinfectant features will help you make a smart and defensible choice.  It’s always important to reevaluate the products you are using.  With the newer technologies now available, it’s likely you will be able to upgrade your effectiveness, lower your liability, and decrease costs by switching to a more complete disinfectant technology!