Summary of Disinfectants

Consult these charts for recommended disinfectants, their uses, and requirements.

Important: These charts are intended for use by University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers only. Standards and requirements may differ at other institutions and businesses.

 

Select a topic:


Practical requirements

Disinfectants Practical RequirementsInactivates
TypeCategoryUse Dilution Contact TimeTemp (C)Relative HumidityVegetative
Bacteria
LipovirusNonlipid VirusesBacterial Spores
LipovirusBroad
Spectrum
LiquidQuaternary
ammonium
compounds
0.1%–2.0%10Not
effective
  ++  
Phenolics1.0%–5.0%10Not
effective
  ++Variable results dependent on virus 
Chlorine
compounds
500 ppm1030  ++++
Iodphor 25–1600 ppm (available halogen) 1030  ++++
Alcohol,
Ethyl
70%–85%10Not
effective
  ++Variable results dependent on virus 
Alcohol,
isopropyl
70%–85%10Not
effective
  ++Variable results dependent on virus 
Formaldehyde0.2%–8.0%1030  ++++
Glutaraldehyde2.0%1030  ++++
GasEthylene oxide8–23 g/cubic foot60603730++++
Paraformaldehyde0.3 g/cubic foot6060gt;23gt;60++++

Return to top

Important characteristics

DisinfectantsImportant characteristics
TypeCategoryEffective Shelf Life
>1 week protected from light and air
CorrosiveFlammableExplosion PotentialResidueInactivated by Organic MatterCompatible for Optics*
Read special considerations
Compatible for Electronics Skin Irritant Eye Irritant Respiratory Irritant Toxic
By skin or mouth, or both. Refer to manufacturer's literature and "The Merck Index."
LiquidQuaternary
ammonium
compounds
+    ++ ++ +
Phenolic
compounds
++  +   ++ +
Chlorine +  ++  ++++
Iodophor++  ++  ++ +
Alcohol,
ethyl
+ +      + +
Alcohol,
isoprophyl
+ +      + +
Formaldehyde+   +   ++ +
Glutaraldehyde+   + + ++ +
GasEthylene
Oxide
N/A +
Neither flammable nor explosive in 90% CO2, or fluorinated hydrocarbon, the usual form
+
Neither
flammable nor explosive in 90% CO2, or fluorinated hydrocarbon, the usual form
  ++++++
Parafor-
maldehyde
N/A +
At concentrations of 7%-73% by volume in air, solid-exposure to open flame
+
At concentrations of 7%-73% by volume in air, solid-exposure to open flame
  ++++++
* Special considerations (compatible for optics): Usually compatible, but consider interferences from residues and effects on associated materials such as mounting.  Return to Compatible with Optics

Return to top

Potential applications

DisinfectantsPotential applications
TypeCategory Work Surfaces Dirty GlasswareLarge
Area
Decon
Air handling systemsPortable Equipment Surface Portable Equipment Penetrating Decon Fixed Equipment Surface Fixed Equipment Penetrating Decon Optical InstrumentsElectronic InstrumentsLiquids for Discard Books, Papers
LiquidQuaternary
ammonium
compounds
++  + +     
Phenolic
Compounds
++    +     
Chlorine++  + +   + 
Iodophor++  + +     
Alcohol,
ethyl
++  + +     
Alcohol
isoprophyl
++  + +     
Formaldehyde++  + +     
Glutaraldehyde++  + +     
GasEthylene
oxide
     +  ++ +
Parafor–
maldehyde
  ++  + 
+
++  

Return to top

Examples of proprietary disinfectants

DisinfectantsExamples of
proprietary disinfectants
TypeCategory
LiquidQuaternary ammonium compoundsA-33, CDQ, End-Bac, Hi-Tor, Mikro-Quat
Phenolic compoundsHil-Phene, Matar, Midro-Bac, O-Syl
Chlorine compoundsCholramine T, Chlorox, Purex
Iodophor Hy-sine, Ioprep, Mikroklene, Wescodyne
Alcohol, ethylN/A
Alcohol, isoprophylN/A
FormaldehydeSterac
GlutaraldehydeCidex
GasEthylene oxideCarboxide, Cryoxicide, Steroxicide
ParafomaldehydeN/A

Return to top

Questions? Contact EH&S Biosafety division, (858) 534-5366.