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Industrial and Public Health Safety

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The Difference Between Cleaners, Disinfectants and Sanitizers

Nowadays there are thousands of products that tout their effectiveness at cleaning, disinfecting, or sanitizing an environment of the home or office, but really what does that all mean? What are the major differences between cleaners? And what is the difference between cleaners and sanitizers? To maintain a clean and healthy home, it is important to know the facts and proper procedures to ensure you and your loved ones are safe and protected

Cleaners: Cleaners, soaps, and detergents are used to remove physical material like dirt, dust, soil and germs like bacteria and viruses. These products, with correct rinsing procedures, work to rid the surface of organic matter and germs but do little to kill or deactivate them.

Disinfectants: Disinfectants are products which contain chemicals that destroy bacteria and prevent them from growing, although have no effect on dirt, soil or dust. For this reason, disinfectants are typically used after cleaning with a soap or detergent so that all physical material is removed and the surface can be thoroughly disinfected. These products are classified and regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure they meet appropriate disinfectant standards.

Sanitizers: Sanitizers, including alcoholic hand sanitizers, reduce germs and bacteria on the surface, but do little to remove dirt or organic matter. This class of cleaner is also not regulated by an agency, however do provide a quick and efficient reduction in bacteria when used.

In order to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness and sanitation in your home and office while preventing the spread of disease, it is important to use a combination of cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants. Also, please remember to read all instructions and warnings on the product labels to ensure proper usage and maximum effectiveness

MRSA disinfectants and cleaners

Disinfection and sanitation needs are at paramount levels with the onset and spread of MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus).

What is MRSA? It is a bacteria, staph, to be precise, that has built up an immunity or resistance to common antibiotics. It is called Methicillin-resistant, because it is resistant to that particular form of antibiotic as well as the more well-known names like Penicillin and Amoxicillin.

MRSA is spreading quickly in facilities on commonly touched surfaces as well as shared equipment. These need to be cleaned thoroughly and frequently to avoid exposure, contamination and spread. Finding its way into schools, hospitals, airports or wherever there is a condensed amount of people are at the highest risk. Schools and gyms with sports equipment should follow a strict regimen to prevent MRSA spread. Cleaning often is always the best answer, but be sure to know the following too:

  • How should the cleaner or disinfectant be applied?
  • Do you need to clean the surface first before using the disinfectant (e.g., precleaned surfaces)?
  • Is it safe for the surface? Some cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, might damage some surfaces (e.g., metals, some plastics).
  • How long do you need to leave it on the surface to be effective (i.e., contact time)?
  • Do you need to rinse the surface with water after using the cleaner or disinfectant?

Just read the product labeling and follow the instructions. We recommend PureGreen24 as a MRSA disinfectant because of its "kill time" of only 2 minutes and Cidex OPA because of its widespread use in hospitals and Dental offices.

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  1. Maril  Control III  Disinfectant Germicide Home Care Kit

    Maril Control III Disinfectant Germicide Home Care Kit

    SKU: B11775

    Starting at: $155.76

    Includes 2 oz bottle of disinfectant, 2-quart container with lid, measuring cup, instructions, comparison chart and test strips to check solution activity. Ideal for cleaning respiratory care equipment. Learn More
  2. Shea Butter Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

    Shea Butter Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

    SKU: B12347

    $9.95

    Shea Butter Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer Learn More
  3. Red Cross Deluxe Germ Guard Protection Pack with N95 Masks RC-651

    Red Cross Deluxe Germ Guard Protection Pack with N95 Masks RC-651

    SKU: A16843

    $15.95

    The Red Cross Deluxe Germ Guard Protection Pack with N95 Masks RC-651 is a large personal protection pack that contains the necessities during seasonal or pandemic emergencies. Included are two N95 masks that effectively minimize exposure to airborne particles and germs and filters up to 95% of all particles that are .03 microns or larger such as flying debris, smoke and the h2N1 swine flu virus. Protect yourself and your loved ones by having one of these packs on hand for all emergencies; purchase the Deluxe Germ Guard Protection Pack with N95 Masks RC-651 today from ActiveForever!

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  4. Quest 694 Foaming Instant Hand Sanitizer

    Quest 694 Foaming Instant Hand Sanitizer

    SKU: A16777_03

    Starting at: $57.84

    Kills 99% of harmful germs!

    The Quest 694 Foaming Instant Hand Sanitizer is a non-aerosol foaming formula that kills up to 99.9% of most common germs that may cause illness. With no soap or water needed, this Foaming Hand Sanitizer works in as little as 15 seconds to eliminate germs, bacteria, viruses, years and mold while leaving your hands cleaner, healthier, and softer.

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  5. PureGreen24 Antimicrobial Cleaner

    PureGreen24 Antimicrobial Cleaner

    SKU: A21897x

    Starting at: $6.99

    This anti-microbial surface disinfectant is a must have for any clinic, stable business or household setting. Completely safe and proven to kill bacteria, fungi and viruses including Staph (MRSA) and Influenza A, this colorless and odorless disinfectant is EPA registered effective against dozens of harmful organisms. Learn More
  6. Maril Control III Disinfectant/Germicide

    Maril Control III Disinfectant/Germicide

    SKU: B11774x

    Starting at: $16.95

    Maril Control III Disinfectant/Germicide Learn More
  7. Kimberly Clark WypAll L40 Hand Wipes

    Kimberly Clark WypAll L40 Hand Wipes

    SKU: B11238x

    Starting at: $8.95

    Kimberly Clark WypAll L40 Hand Wipes Learn More
  8. InstantFoam Non-Alcohol Foaming Hand Sanitizer
  9. Instantfoam 72% Alcohol Non-Aerosol Foaming Hand Sanitizer

    Instantfoam 72% Alcohol Non-Aerosol Foaming Hand Sanitizer

    SKU: A22997x

    Starting at: $9.49

    Instantfoam 72% Alcohol Non-Aerosol Foaming Hand Sanitizer Learn More
  10. GOJO PURELL Instant Hand Sanitizer

    GOJO PURELL Instant Hand Sanitizer

    SKU: C22313

    $89.17

    GOJO PURELL Instant Hand Sanitizer Learn More
  11. Coloplast Isagel No-rinse Instant Hand Sanitizer

    Coloplast Isagel No-rinse Instant Hand Sanitizer

    SKU: B10588x

    Starting at: $2.25

    Coloplast Isagel No-rinse Instant Hand Sanitizer Learn More
  12. CIDEX OPA Disinfectant Solution

    CIDEX OPA Disinfectant Solution

    SKU: B12331x

    Starting at: $294.95

    CIDEX OPA Disinfectant Solution

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