A Primer on Disinfectants


People who stopped worrying about cooties in second grade are learning to respect the power of the small. Invisible and deadly. It is tempting to disbelieve they exist. Don’t bet on it. We haven’t. We’ve teamed up with a local company to provide a crackerjack disinfectant, and are excited to tell you about it.

Your body is inhabited by what doctors call your normal flora, a host of bacteria that line your gut and happily exist in a symbiotic relationship with your body. It’s not that you don’t get sick from them, you get sick without them. Kept in balance, they are a key component of digestion and absorption of the building blocks of every cell in your body.

So what’s the big deal about germs, anyway? Think of Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. In a perpetual fight, the bad and the ugly live outside the body and they want in. Yes, it’s just that simple. Your continued good health depends on protecting the good while decimating the bad and ugly.

The bad and ugly live on almost every surface. Some thrive on kitchen counters where vestiges of food and oils and water form a perfect petri dish of deadly microbes. Some sit on surfaces, like books and tablecloths and shirtsleeves. They don’t grow there, but they become hopping off points in the travel of the microbe from one hospitable host to another. They are the intrepid pioneers of the germy world, and the fancy term is fomite contamination. Think of their migration in this way: You cough into your sleeve. Your arm grazes a stack of mail you’re carrying into the table. The microbes hop from the shirtsleeve to the mail, hoping for a place to plant themselves. The mail sits on the dining room table, and they transfer from the mail to the tablecloth. You shove the mail aside to set the table for lunch, and voila! Now they have a happy host on your hands. See how easily the unseen becomes a big problem for all we call good? The trick is to stop their migration.

We do that with the help of disinfectants. They are the cleansers we use destroy viruses, smaller than the invisible bacteria. Occupational Health & Safety recently published a briefing on the proper use of disinfectants. They describe a two-step process. Clean. Disinfect. Our warfare begins with removing the evidence of debris in which microbes live, and ends with disinfection, removing the suggestion of microbes. A good physical scrubbing with soap and water works wonders in everyday life. We know that. But when a novel virus wreaks havoc on our world, we must go a step beyond the normal. We bring in the big guns, disinfectants.

Choosing which disinfectant to use gets a little dicier. I turned to Clean Room Technology to learn more. They listed about a dozen items to consider, but the factors I found most important for home and office were the following: cost, efficacy, and residue. Let’s look at them in reverse order.

Every disinfectant leaves a residue, and that residue needs to be healthy for the most vulnerable hands touching it and thus affected by it. When we speak of efficacy, we’re talking about how broad its spectrum of effectiveness…does it just kill some bacteria, does it kill viruses, etc. And of course, we must always consider the cost. For example, buying wipes is handy and efficient, but costly. Alcohol is very effective, but it’s harsh on little hands. There are pluses and minuses with every possibility.

Michael Hawn is a Sales Manager with Watermark Medical, a sleep quality company

Michael Hawn is a Sales Manager with Watermark Medical, a sleep quality company.

We have turned to HOCL as meeting all three criteria: cost-effective, efficient, and user-friendly. Produced through the electrolysis of water, splitting the oxygen molecule by a current of electricity, it is derived from the most plentiful substance on planet earth. Michael Hawn, a specialist in health and wellness, offers valuable insight. “I am a product of the product for sure, and it is truly an all-purpose product. I use it as a disinfectant in spray form for all packages that come into my home. Externally, I use it to clean any medical equipment such as CPAP hoses, masks, and chambers. We clean our thermometers and door handles, our hands, and believe it or not, even as a fruit and vegetable spray. It destroys bacteria without harsh chemicals and breaks down as saline.” Wow! Safe enough that its residue can be ingested, but effective enough for countertops, HOCL is a gift from heaven in this crisis in which we find ourselves battling the bad and the ugly.