Usually a base ingredient for many other disinfectants.
For example, Lysol contains 79% ethyl alcohol. When used as a surface
spray or solution on inanimate objects, alcohol is an excellent pathogen
destroyer. But it must be left in contact with the surface for at least
20 minutes to be effective. That's not an easy task considering how
quickly it evaporates! The higher level of alcohol percentage or "proof"
the more effective it is. Isopropyl alcohol is not considered to be
a disinfectant. It's main use is a skin antiseptic. Most alcohols are
to be used on skin or for disinfecting instruments. Alcohol disinfects
by denaturing proteins.
Advantages: effective against gram-positive
and gram-negative bacteria.
Disadvantages: long contact time required,
will not penetrate organic material, irritates tissues, only certain
types of alcohol contain true disinfectant properties, may dissolve
synthetic surfaces, fumes may be irritating, fire hazard risk, not effective
against some viruses and bacterial spores, and it evaporates quickly.
Dilution and Contact Time: 70 - 90% solution,
- (Lysofume, Cidex, Sonacide, Sporocidin, Glutacide, Totacide, Wavicide)
These have a wide range of germicidal activity.
Glutaraldehyde and formaldehyde are used as instrument and catheter
disinfectants. Formaldehydes are very potent disinfectants, but can
be highly toxic to humans and animals. Use these chemicals only as a
last resort and in a well ventilated area.
Advantages: non corrosive to metal, does
not damage rubber or plasic, effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi,
spores, and parasites (including Giardia and Cryptosproidia), and remains
effective in the presence of organic debris.
Disadvantages: highly toxic, long contact
time, must be used in a well ventilated area, and is moderately expensive.
Dilution & Contact Time: Formalin (37%)
combined with alcohol to make a 8% formaldehyde and 92% alcohol formulation
will sanitize and kill anything it comes into contact with if left on
for 10 minutes (18 hours for Cryptosporidia). Glutaraldehyde
can be used to sterilize if given a treatment time of 10 to 12 hours.
Ammonia products are irritating to the skin and
to the respiratory tract. Do not mix with bleach as toxic fumes will
be released and can harm you and your reptile.
Advantages: effective against Cryptosporidia,
coccidia, and mycobacteria.
Disadvantages: causes respiratory irritation,
ineffective in the presence of organic material, and has a foul odor.
Dilution and Contact Time: 10% solution,
Virosan, Chlorhex, Chlorasan, Phisohex, Hibitane, Hibistat)
Chlorhexidine is one of the more widely used disinfectants
because it is relatively nonirritating to tissues. It is used as a disinfectant
for inanimate objects or an antiseptic for cleaning skin wounds. Some
chlorhexidine compounds contain alcohol, these have been found to have
excellent antimicrobial properties as opposed to those only containing
chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is effective against many bacteria, fungi,
viruses, and yeast (especially Candida).
Advantages: non toxic, no harsh odors even
if some residue is left, can be used topically on wounds or as a mouth
wash for mouth rot (Stomatitis) at 1% strength, and is effective against
Staphylococci and many gram-negative organisms.
Disadvantages: moderate cost, long contact
time, poor efficiency against most viruses, and not effective against
Cryptosporidia, Giardia, coccidia, mycobacteria, bacteria spores, gram-positive
bacteria including Pseudomonas (except Virosan, it will kill Pseudomonas),
not very effective in the presence of organic debris, and hard water
makes it less effective.
Dilution and Contact Time: 1:20 and 1:30
solution, 15 minutes.
Additional Info: It was recently brought
to my attention that when Nolvasan is mixed with treated (tap) water
the mixture will only be good for one (1) week. If mixed with distilled
water, the mixture will last up to 6 weeks. Also,
I was just informed that Nolvasan will not kill coccidia oocysts! This
info came directly from the manufacturer. Thank you Bennett for supplying
us with this info!
- (Household bleach, Clorox, Purex)
Bleach is harsh, but very effective. Bleach can
create toxic fumes, especially in a heated environment, and can lead
to chemical pneumonia, skin and eye irritation, burns, and even death.
Please use with great care and caution. For bleach to be most effective,
use the solution at a temp of at least 65 degrees F. Using at temp below
50 degrees cuts the effectiveness in half. Chlorine functions by oxidizing
proteins and nucleic acids. Do not mix with ammonia as toxic fumes will
be released and can harm you and your reptile.
Advantages: low cost, easily available,
will kill most bacteria, viruses, fungi, algae, and mycoplasmas, and
is a potent deoderizer.
Disadvantages: very caustic to tissues
and equipment, not effective against Giardia, rapidly inactivates in
the presence of organic debris, loses its effectiveness quickly when
diluted, prolonged contact may be required for heavy sterilization,
must be used in a well-ventilated area, not effective against spores,
corrosive to metals, deteriorates fabrics, and must be rinsed off well.
Dilution & Contact Time: 1:10 (10%
solution), 10 - 15 minutes.
- (Betadyne, Povidone, Wescodyne, Virac, Prepodyne, Iosan, Vanodine,
Iodine solutions are commonly used as antiseptics
for cleaning wounds and skin. Iodine functions by oxidizing proteins.
Advantages: limited vapor production, not
usually effected by hard water, long shelf life, works well in hot or
cold water, and is effective against many bacteria, some fungi, spores,
Disadvantages: moderate cost, most require
use at full strength, may stain surfaces and tissues, toxic if ingested,
may dry and crack skin, corrosive to metal surfaces with prolonged exposure,
easily deactivated by contact with organic debris, must be applied multiple
times in order to thoroughly disinfect, and is not effective against
against Pseudomonas, Cryptosporidia, Giardia, and bacteria spores.
Dilution & Contact Time: 1% dilution,
- (Hydrogen Peroxide, Hyperox, Virkon, Sterisyl)
Peroxides are often used to clean wounds. They
work the best against anaerobic bacteria. Stabilized peroxides may be
blended with quaternary ammonia. Some products, like Hyperox and VirkonS
are more effective against a viruses, bacteria, fungi, and bacterial
spores. A newer, more concentrated peroxide, Sterisyl, has been proposed
as a disinfectant-sterilant and may disinfect very rapidly. Hydrogen
peroxide functions by creating hydoxyl free radicals, which destroy
cell membranes, DNA, and other cell components.
Advantages: a valuable cleansing and deodorizing
Disadvantages: not effective against viruses,
bacterial spores, fungal spores, Cryptosporidia, Giardia, mycobacteria,
damaging to tissues, moderately corrosive, and is ineffective in the
presence of organic matter.
Dilution & Contact Time: 3% hydrogen
peroxide solution can be used as a skin antiseptic, 10% hydrogen peroxide
solution is an effective disinfectant, 10 - 25% hydrogen peroxide concentration
can be used as a chemical sterilant. Contact time - 20 minutes. Only
5 - 10 minutes is needed for a 1% dilution of Virkon.
- (Lysol, O-Syl, Matar, Septicol, Environ, Lysovet, Tek-Trol, Pantek,
Phenols are produced by coal distillation and
are commonly found in mouth washes, scrub soaps, and surface disinfectants.
Phenols function by destroying cell membranes and denaturing proteins.
Advantages: inexpensive, retains effectiveness
in the presence of organic material, effective against many bacteria
(especially gram-positive bacteria), including Pseudomonas, Salmonella,
mycobacteria, fungi, Stomatitis virus, Rabies, and lipophilic viruses,
effective in hard water, doesn't stain or leave a residual odor, and
is easy to rinse off.
Disadvantages: extremely toxic to reptiles,
toxic to many tissues including skin, eyes, and respiratory tract, not
effective against bacterial spores or hydrophilic viruses, must be used
with adequate ventilation, and must be rinsed off surfaces before allowing
reptile to come in contact with it.
Ammonium Compounds - (Roccal-D, 3M Quat, Triad, Parvosol, Hitor,
"Quats" is a large class of disinfectants
which add organic compounds to ammonia. Quats functions by destroying
Advantages: effective against gram-positive
and gram-negative bacteria, some viruses, and chlamydia, may be used
at very dilute solutions, contains detergent for action against organic
debris, and has a pleasant scent in most forms.
Disadvantages: very difficult to rinse
off completely, moderate cost, extremely hard water will cause the solution
to deactivate, not effective against bacterial spores, mycobacteria,
fungi, Pseudomonas, Cryptosporidia, or hydrophylic viruses, high levels
of organic debris or hard water may cause the solution be become inactive,
may leave a residue on objects which cannot be rinsed off, soap residues
can partially inactivate the solution, and ingestion or inhalation may
cause respiratory paralysis and even death.
Dilution & Contact Time: dilute as
directed on bottle, 10 - 20 minutes.
Chlorine Dioxide - (Oxyfresh)
Stabilized chlorine dioxide is a chlorine derivitave
that is a powerful oxidizing agent. It can destroy many pathogens, including
bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa. Many studies have suggested
that it is superior to regular household bleach. In Europe, it is used
in the drinking water because it does not form carcinogenic by-products
like bleach does.
Advantages: safe for use around human and
animals, safe to use on skin, is an excellent deodorizer because the
oxidizing destroys odor causing molecules, diluted solution does not
create harmful fumes and has a shelf life of 7 days once diluted.
Disadvantages: moderate cost (one pint
will make 16 gallons), in undiluted form the fumes may be toxic, and
it is rapidly deactivated by organic debris and exposure to sunlight.
Pressurized steam directed into cracks or onto
surfaces is an excellent sterilant.
Advantages: not toxic, no residue or odor,
kills coccidia oocysts (above 165 degrees F), kills many types of bacteria,
viruses, fungi, and parasites, very economical once the steam cleaner
is purchased, and there are no chemicals involved - just water!
Disadvantages: equipment could be costly,
it takes a lot of steam to clean a small area, and hot steam can break
glass if the surface is cold (be careful with those aquariums!).
Distillates - (Pine-sol, Hexol)
Wood tar distillates are the by-products of the
lumber industry. They are very safe, but have a very low level of effectiveness
against any pathogen.
Advantages: easily available, low cost,
pleasant fragrance, low toxicity, and they are good cleaning products
for removing organic debris.
Disadvantages: hard to rinse off, may leave
floors slick, and is a very low grade disinfectant.