Disinfection is already a fundamental pillar of our new reality, since the COVID-19 pandemic implemented a strong shift in our social model worldwide. This health crisis is affecting the industry of all countries at many levels. With the pandemic, the need has come, among others, for us to thoroughly disinfect all sorts of spaces and common surfaces.
For the disinfection of work surfaces and environments, different types of fluids or solutions can be used depending on the disinfection level to be achieved, and, hereunder the most commonly used chemical agents for disinfection by spraying solutions into fine drops are described:
Sodium Hypochlorite (chemical formula: NaClO)
It is considered the universal disinfectant and its commercialized aqueous solution is commonly known as bleach. It works by oxidizing proteins and destroying the cell wall of microorganisms, moreover, It can be used in different proportions depending on the application:
- 100% Sodium Hypochlorite.
- Sodium Hypochlorite 20%
- Sodium Hypochlorite 5% – Common bleach. Home bleach usually has a 5-6% percentage of Sodium Hypochlorite and is used diluted depending on the cleaning to be carried out:
- General cleaning, hand disinfection, clothing disinfection – 0.05% (0.5 gr / liter = 500 ppm of free chlorine)
- Disinfecting surfaces with CORONAVIRUS – 0.2% (2gr / liter, 2,000 ppm of free chlorine)
- General cleaning with no organic component – 0.5% (5gr / liter = 5,000 ppm of free chlorine)
- General cleaning with organic component – 1% (10gr / liter = 10,000 ppm of free chlorine)
The formula to be used to generate any volume of sodium hypochlorite solution from a known concentration is as follows:
V1xC1 = V2xC2
V1: Available volume of sodium hypochlorite solution
C1: Known concentration of Volume 1 available.
V2: Volume of dissolution to be obtained from Sodium Hypochlorite
C2: Concentration you want to have in Volume 2.
You want to fill a 50-liter capacity Atomization device with a 0.2% solution of Sodium Hypochlorite, and to calculate the necessary volume of 5% Hypochlorite commercial solution (common bleach) that needs to be added to our device.
C1 = 5%
V2 = 50 liters
C2 = 0.2%
Applying the formula we have:
V1 = (50 liters x 0.2%) / 5% = 2 liters. That is, to obtain the required volume of 50 liters of 0.2% solution, 2 liters of 5% common bleach should be added and 50-2 = 48 liters of water should be added.
They are sanitary disinfectants for low risk areas. Alcohols denature proteins. Unfortunately, they are unstable and flammable.
Alcohols can be found in different concentrations:
- 70% alcohol. Bactericidal, tuberculicidal, fungicidal and viricidal. It does not act on spores.
- Ethanol 95%. The right one to kill viruses.
- Alcohol (Ethyl alcohol and Isopropil). Bactericidal and can be found in concentrations of 60% and 70%.
Quaternary Ammonia (NH3, NH4 +)
These are low toxicity disinfectants, which denature proteins, inactivate enzymes, and destroy the cell membrane of living organisms, and are usually used in concentrations from 0.25% to 1.6%
Its main advantage is that it is broken down into non-dangerous products like acetic acid (Vinegar), water, oxygen and hydrogen peroxide.
It works by oxidizing the cell membrane through electron transfer, however it is not widely used because it can cause irritation to people. It is very useful to attack virus spores.
Peracetic acid reacts with copper, bronze, brass and galvanized steel, but additives are often added to modify the pH and soften its effect on these materials.
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)
It works by denaturing virus proteins and has a high ability to attack spore colonies. It is usually used in different concentrations. Below, you can find a table of compatibility of the different disinfectants with the most representative materials of the equipment used for their handling:
Finally, we would like to remind you, that when applying disinfecting agents to a surface, it is necessary to ensure that the fluid used wets the surface to be cleaned.
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