The circumstances of living through the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic have spiked interests in how and what we use to clean the surfaces and areas we use every day. But for all of the increased interest in cleaning, most are unaware of the differences in the types of disinfectants and products they’re using to scrub, scour, and disinfect. While the application and use of each product is almost indistinguishable, the contents between different types of disinfectants can vary greatly, and have a noticeable impact on our health.

The importance of thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting common surfaces, equipment, and spaces is undeniable. But what is being used to clean is just as important to consider as the act of cleaning itself. When the chemicals being used look so similar, can smell similar, and are used similarly, what really sets each of them apart?

Types of Disinfectants


Alcohol solutions, namely ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, are effective at against a spectrum of bacteria and are relatively inexpensive. Alcohols are generally diluted with water for use as a disinfectant to help alcohols’ mode of action against microbes, but this can lower their effectiveness depending on the concentration. Alcohols are also known for evaporating quickly, which makes them poor candidates for effectively killing microbes, as they do remain on surfaces long enough. They are also highly flammable, are toxic, and can cause eye irritation.

Chlorine and Chlorine Compounds

Inexpensive, and with relatively quick kill-times, chlorine is a popular choice for disinfecting against a wide array of viruses and bacteria. However, use of chlorine-based disinfectants can be corrosive and discoloration, and can cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation from prolonged exposure. Proper ventilation and PPE are required to use chlorine-based solutions. 


Also known as aldehydes, these disinfectants are particularly effective as a tuberculocidal. Non-staining and relatively noncorrosive, these disinfectants are used on plastics, rubber, lenses, and stainless-steel equipment. However, glutaraldehydes require a very high concentration to be an effective disinfectant, and many bacteria have become resistant to it over time. It has also been found to cause asthma, eye irritation, and skin irritation, and potentially leaves behind a greasy residue, as it must be used in an alkaline solution.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Disinfectants using hydrogen peroxide are generally viewed as being safer and more environmentally sustainable. This is because of hydrogen peroxides natural reaction to break-down into base water and oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide is able to kill a variety of pathogens and does not leave an odor or harmful reaction.


Iodophors are adept at killing pathogens by penetrating the walls of microbes, but are avoided as disinfectants due to their smell and high toxicity, due to their iodine base. This also causes iodophors to be corrosive, cause stains, and require precise application instructions. 

Phenolic Compounds

Phenol-based solutions are highly effective at killing pathogens, but this effectiveness is hampered by alkaline pH, natural soaps, and organic materials. Phenol-based disinfectants are also highly corrosive and toxic, making it difficult to apply, and usually requires specific handling and disposal once used.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Quaternary ammonium compounds are quick-acting against pathogens and are mixed with detergents. Because of this, they are primarily used to clean surfaces and furniture, but also have issues fully eliminating bacterial spores and some viruses. Their effectiveness can also be lowered by mixing with hard water.

Many Types of Disinfectants are Hazardous – Use the Clean Technologies Solution

All of the most commonly used disinfectants are only able to be used when mixed with a liquid solution, requiring a wet application on whichever surface is being disinfected. Additionally, the substances are generally mixed with a variety of other chemicals, which can create detrimental health issues from exposure — both long- and short-term. However, there is an alternative, effective cleaning solution that can avoid the harmful drawbacks of chemical disinfectants.

At Clean Technologies, we utilize an antimicrobial solution that uses a unique application process that works by bonding directly to the surface, without the same risks of common disinfectants. This provides greater peace of mind as people go about their lives without being exposed to potentially harmful disinfects on a frequent, disruptive schedule. Instead, people are able to interact with surfaces they know have been treated without feeling exposed to chemical antimicrobial disinfectants, as MicrobeCare™ is non-leaching, and will not transfer from surfaces to clothes, food, or skin.

Because of the specific type of bonding MicrobeCare™ is able to achieve with treated surfaces, the treatment is able to remain effective for longer periods of time, leading to less frequent applications — once every six months, rather than every few hours or days for other chemical solutions.

Reach out to Clean Technologies today to see how our antimicrobial solution can help provide protection from pathogens without the harmful effects of chemical cleaners and disinfectant compounds. Visit our website, or contact Clean Technologies today!