Disinfectant Cleaners

Disinfectant cleaner: a speedy dual-purpose product

When is a disinfectant cleaner the best solution? When it comes to reducing the number of pathogens on surfaces, various different products are available on the market. A basic distinction is made here between cleaning agents, disinfectants and disinfectant cleaners. Each has its own specific suitability, as well as certain advantages and disadvantages. Let’s take a closer look at the individual characteristics of these products:

What is the difference between a disinfectant and a disinfectant cleaner?

Cleaning agents:

…primarily clean and remove dirt and grease. Cleaning agents have an excellent cleaning effect and dissolve fats and protein contamination. However, the dissolved dirt must then be removed along with the surfactants by rinsing. Zero disinfection takes place when cleaning agents are used – merely a general reduction in the number of existing bacteria / microorganisms (decontamination).


…are mainly responsible for combating germs on surfaces. Due to their organic components, the effectiveness of most disinfectants may be moderately to severely limited (protein defects / protein errors), which means that thorough pre-cleaning is necessary.

Since disinfectants can be “left” on the cleaned surfaces, they can have, depending on the type of active ingredient, a certain preservative or bacteriostatic effect in addition to their disinfectant properties. (Just like the Sanosil disinfectants that are available in our shop). This long-lasting disinfectant effect is a welcome side-effect in many application areas.

Disinfectant cleaner:

… is also known as disinfectant cleaning agent and consists of potent combinations of disinfectants and detergents. Both disinfection and cleaning can thus be carried out in a single step. They are therefore particularly suitable for surfaces (and also pipelines) that are not excessively contaminated with organic components. (In case of severe contamination, a two-step cleaning/disinfection approach is preferable).

Where are disinfectant cleaners ideally used?

A disinfectant cleaner can best play to its greatest strength (i.e. time savings) in areas where smaller surfaces or floor areas need to be treated quickly. For example, a hospital grade disinfectant may be used on examination tables in a hospital or doctor’s surgery, and a broad spectrum disinfectant cleaner on training equipment in a gym.

Other popular application areas are found in the household and in hospitals, clinics, wellness centres, cosmetic and piercing studios, the food industry, hotels, public toilets, beauty salons, tattoo and piercing shops, nail studios and pedicure/pedicure practices. In other words, anywhere where small surfaces and floor areas (preferably ceramic, enamel, stainless steel, metal, glass, stone, imitation leather or plastic) need to be cleaned and disinfected. Besides using disinfectant wipes on smaller surfaces, disinfectant cleaners are usually the first choice for floor disinfection (visually clean).

What are the advantages of a disinfectant cleaner over “pure” disinfectants?

Most disinfectants have only limited “penetrating power” as soon as they encounter dried-on layers of dirt. These layers of dirt can, on the one hand, cover up microorganisms and, on the other, react with disinfectants with the result that a large part of the disinfection effect is lost before the disinfectant even reaches the germs. This is especially problematic with blood or dried bodily secretions. Deposits of skin oils on surfaces and floors also offer germs good protection against disinfectants.

In this case, top disinfectant cleaners have the advantage that the surfactant or cleaning components they contain dissolve these layers of dirt – and thus give the disinfectant unhindered access to the microorganisms lurking beneath them. In addition, most of the surfactants contained in e.g. hospital grade disinfectant cleaners offer another benefit – they have a certain disinfecting effect of their own. For example, they are often able to break up the cell walls of microorganisms and make them permeable. In the best disinfectant cleaner, the cleaning components therefore significantly support and strengthen the disinfectant components.

What are the negative inherent characteristics of a disinfectant cleaner if used incorrectly?

Disinfectant cleaning agents contain surfactants. This means they always leave behind some residues on the surface being cleaned. In some cases, such as on floors, this can be an advantage, as a certain gloss effect may be created (depending on the surface material). However, if too much disinfectant cleaning agent is applied, a certain adhesive effect can become noticeable after drying. This happens even with the best disinfectant liquid cleaner and typically occurs if a concentrated disinfectant cleaner is not sufficiently diluted.

This often happens when inexperienced users want to increase the disinfectant effect or shorten the application time. The correct dosage is therefore very important, especially with concentrated disinfectant cleaners. Another problem area relates to their application in the food industry. If disinfectant cleaners are applied to surfaces that come into contact with food, the surfaces must be subsequently rinsed with water that is safe to drink. However, this not only involves an additional work step, but also creates a possible source of recontamination.

How should a disinfectant cleaner ideally be used?

Unlike disinfectants, which under certain circumstances can also be applied to surfaces via spray disinfection, a disinfectant cleaner should only be used in combination with a “mechanical applicator”. In other words: rags, paper towels, mop pads, microfibre cloths, etc. This is because the detached dirt does not simply dissolve into the air, but must instead be physically picked up and removed – a task performed by the fibres of the respective applicator. If, in exceptional cases, spraying is used as the application method, then wiping is mandatory.

Are there any risks when using a disinfectant cleaner?

Since every disinfectant cleaner contains fat-soluble substances, it can dry out unprotected skin very quickly in case of accidental contact. Skin irritation is also possible in the event of prolonged skin contact. However, this can be avoided to a large extent by using the correct personal protective equipment.

Another significant risk is posed by e.g. hospital grade disinfectant floor cleaner containing chlorine. These have a rather unpleasant property in the form of a bleaching effect. This may not be a problem in the case of white floors, however it can be problematic with coloured surfaces. Furthermore, these products can become particularly dangerous if inadvertently mixed with acids due to the release of highly toxic chlorine gas. A Sanosil disinfectant cleaner, on the other hand, has neither a bleaching effect nor does it produce toxic gases.

What is the best disinfectant cleaner?

Sanosil offers disinfectant cleaners that can be used on most liquid-tolerant surfaces and are highly effective against a broad spectrum of pathogens. They are based on the proven hydrogen peroxide/silver combination, which is augmented by selected surfactants:

  • Sanoclean AR is a ready to use disinfectant cleaner, inhibits re-contamination, has a very pleasant fragrance and can also be used as a carpet-cleaning agent.
  • Sanoclean Forte S is available in concentrated form and is therefore very economical. It has excellent dirt-dissolving properties as well as a thorough and long-lasting disinfection effect.
  • Sanoclean Forte T is especially suitable for disinfecting and cleaning pipes, tubes and hot tubs.