Can a simple disinfection process avoid infection and diseases?
Disinfection process is one of the methods which is used to kill micro-organism. In this process, a chemical substance called as a disinfectant is applied on the surface of living and non-living objects to kill micro-flora. Disinfection process kills almost all micro-organisms except some resistant fungal spores. Compared to sterilization technique, disinfection process is less efficient. But in our day to day life, disinfection could be very helpful as well as very easy in application.
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Disinfectants can be used in kitchens, bathrooms, floors, hand wash, food industry, dairy, brewery industry, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, biological laboratories etc.
Properties of Disinfectants
- It should be non-corrosive, inexpensive and effective.
- It should be broad spectrum and should not cause deterioration of the object to which it is applied.
- It should not be harmful to human beings and animals.
- It should have a pleasant odour.
- It must be soluble in water and safe for regular use.
- It should not cause any kind of pollution when disposed of in environment.
Types of Disinfectants
1] Air disinfectant – Air disinfectant is used to disinfect or kill the micro-organisms which are suspended in air. Disinfection of air in hospitals, especially in operating theatres is very important to prevent the spread of diseases. This type of disinfectant is used in aerosol form. This chemical should be safe to use as it spreads in the air and could be inhaled by people
Examples of chemicals used in air disinfectant are Propylene glycol, triethylene glycol.
2] Alcohols – Generally, ethanol and isopropanol are used as a disinfectant. Alcohol is inflammable but it can also evaporate quickly. So it is possible to use ethanol and isopropanol as a surface disinfectant.
- When high concentration mixture of ethanol and isopropanol is used, it can inhibit lipid envelop viruses.
- If 70% ethanol or isopropanol is diluted with distilled water, it can inhibit a wide range of micro-organisms.
- The efficiency of alcohol is increased when it is mixed with dodecanoic acid (wetting agent). This solution can inhibit the broad spectrum of bacteria, viruses and fungal cells.
3] Phenol –Phenolic solutions are generally used as household disinfectants and antiseptics for cleaning floors, surfaces, mouthwash as well as in the form of disinfectant soaps. This phenolic solution may be corrosive in nature and cause some skin allergies on sensitive skins. They should be kept away from children.
Examples of some phenolic substances
- Thymol – It is used as a broad spectrum disinfectant.
- Chloroxylenol – It is used as an antiseptic as well as disinfectant.
- Amylmetacresol – It is used in tablet form for throat disinfection.
- O-phenyl phenol –It is an alternative used for phenol.
These Phenolic solutions are available in concentrated form. They should be first diluted with water and then used for disinfection of surfaces.
4] Oxidizing agents – Oxidising agents are used to the oxidising cell membrane of micro-organism and cause lysis of the cell.
Examples of some oxidising agent
- Chloramines- It is used in drinking water treatment.
- Chlorine-dioxide – It is used in disinfection of water by killing bacteria that are responsible for water born diseases.
- Hydrogen peroxide- It is used for disinfection of a living tissue as well as hydrogen peroxide vapours are useful in disinfection of a room these vapours have some toxic effects to eyes and respiratory system so a special care should be taken during its application.
- Sodium hypo chloride – It is used as a bleach it is a common household disinfectant used for cleaning toilets, washbasins and other surfaces.
- Ozone – Ozone gas is used for disinfection of water, air and food etc.
- Calcium hypo chloride- It is used for disinfection of swimming pool.
Disinfection process can help you to be free from infections and diseases.