Q&A with Fred Robichon – Food & Beverage Industry Expert Advisor at Biodx
How Safe is Safe? Not Every Household Cleaner/Disinfectant is Equal

Disinfecting 101

People are now more aware than ever of the importance of disinfection but does this mean every disinfectant will do the same job, effectively and safely? The answer is a firm no.

Seals of approval

So you’ve cleaned your surfaces and put on disinfectant – does this mean you’re safe? Not necessarily. Firstly did you check out the label on the product? Does it have both the SABS Mark permit and the NRCS (National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications) approval and labelling clearly visible? Without this you most definitely don’t have any kind of assurance that this productive is 100% effective against this or other viruses for any length of time.

Safety in directions

Without properly checking out the product’s directions you’re leaving yourself and your family vulnerable to infection. Each product will have slightly different directions on usage, particularly when it comes to dilution and the length of time it lasts. For instance if you’ve bought a product which comes in a plastic container or packet and disinfected the surface before putting it down, you need to remember that COVID-19 can stay on plastic for up to 72 hours. Will the disinfected surface remain active that long?


What many people also don’t realise is that you should never put disinfection on a surface that has not been properly cleaned beforehand. Without proper pre-cleaning with whatever product you normally use to clean your surfaces, your disinfectant could be ineffective.

And just how much should you put on the surface? After all you generally ‘wipe down’ a surface not leave it wet, which is the opposite of how disinfectants work. Surfaces staying wet ensure the disinfectant does its job properly. It won’t stay wet permanently and evaporates pretty quickly, but it will remain effective for however long is stated on the directions.

Destroying viruses entering your home

If you’re going shopping and coming back with plastic packets, make sure you have your disinfectant, a container to dilute it in and most importantly a pair of disposable gloves handy to slip on ready when you arrive home. Then after you’ve ‘wet’ your surface and wiped down the plastics packets and their contents, (if this is for Covid-19 protection) make sure you throw the gloves away straight after use.

Be safe not sorry

Remember disinfectants can be lethal weapons, particularly around children and animals, so take the utmost precautions you can, sealing them tightly and storing them where only you can reach them.