Consider what kind of disinfectants you need at home
Disinfectants are antimicrobial agents used for controlling microbes and cleaning surfaces, and for taking care of human and animal hygiene. Water purifying agents and cleaning products for chemical toilet are also classified as disinfectants.
Companies placing disinfectants on the market are responsible for the safety of the products and the provision of instructions for their use. If you have questions related to safe use of the product, contact the seller of the product or the company responsible for placing it on the market specified on the product package.
Use antibacterial products wisely
Always consider carefully whether you need to use an antibacterial product. Usually, you do not need them in your home. Unnecessary use of antibacterial products has a harmful effect on normal, useful bacterial communities.
Antibacterial hygiene products
Antibacterial hygiene products are used for inhibiting skin infections or preventing the spreading of pathogenic organisms.
Products used for healthy skin, such as hand sanitizer, are classified as biocides. Their effect is based on the use of biocidal active substances. They inhibit the growth of microbes on skin and clothing.
Products sold in pharmacies intended for disinfecting skin before medical procedures or for cleansing damaged skin are classified either as pharmaceuticals or as health care devices and equipment. The division depends on their composition and mechanism of action.
Use disinfecting products only when there is a particular risk of skin infection or during epidemics for preventing transmission of pathogens from person to person by hands. Unnecessary use of such products may destroy the normal, protective skin flora and expose people to harmful microbes. People with sensitive skin may also get allergic reactions from disinfectants.
Disinfectants for household maintenance
Always use careful consideration whether it is necessary to use disinfecting detergents. The disinfection needs in different parts of the household are different. The purpose of disinfecting detergents intended for household use is not only to remove dirt, but also to disinfect surfaces. We want the biocidal active substances used in the products to kill the microbes, such as bacteria, fungi, mould or mildew, living on household surfaces.
Many bathroom and toilet cleaners contain both cleaning agents and disinfectants. Bathrooms and toilets are usually disinfected on a regular basis in connection with cleaning. The disinfectants in the product may irritate the skin if left on toilet surfaces after cleaning. Therefore, all treated surfaces must be thoroughly rinsed with water after cleaning.
A normal general-purpose detergent is usually sufficient for kitchen cleaning. Disinfectants are needed only if there is a particular risk of occurrence of harmful bacteria, mould or mildew. They should not be used on a daily basis. Chemicals may have an unfavourable effect on the normal, harmless bacterial communities on kitchen surfaces.
Under normal circumstances, no disinfectants are needed in other household premises. The use of cleaning agents without disinfectants is sufficient for creating a safe environment with a view to microbes.
Products used for pet hygiene
There are also products containing disinfectants intended for pet hygiene. They are used, for example, to prevent skin infections in animals.
Products used for healthy skin are classified as biocides. Their effect is based on the use of biocidal active substances that control bacteria and parasites living on the pet's skin or in its coat. Such products are used, for example, in cat or dog shows for preventing the spreading of infectious diseases.
As with other disinfectants, products intended for animals must not be used unless there is a particular need to do so. Continuous use is not recommended, as the substances often have an unfavourable effect on the animal's harmless, normal microbial flora.
If you use disinfecting products, observe also your own exposure to the active substances contained in the product. People with sensitive skin may get allergic reactions not only from the skin cells shed by animals, but also the disinfectants used in disinfecting products.
Biocides for purification of drinking water
Drinking water is primarily purified by boiling and using different filters. In certain situations, it may also be necessary to disinfect drinking water using products intended for the purpose. This may be necessary when hiking or travelling in places where the microbiological quality of drinking water is not guaranteed and the water cannot be boiled. Disinfectants destroy the harmful microbes in the water that cause, for example, traveller's diarrhoea.
Disinfecting products mainly come as tablets. They dissolve quickly in the water to be treated, destroy the microbes and then break down into harmless substances.
When using water purification tablets, always follow the doses and instructions for use provided on the package. This way you can ensure that the treatment is sufficiently effective, but there are no residues of the disintegrating active substance left in the drinkable water.
Products for chemical toilets
Before a chemical toilet is taken to use a dose of disinfecting chemicals is added in the toilet's holding tank. The product's biocidal active substances kill microbes and thus prevent the formation of foul-smelling gases resulting from microbial growth.
Follow the dosage and instructions for use provided for the product. Avoid getting the chemical on your skin. When servicing a toilet, it is recommended that you use protective gloves and wash your hands after adding any chemicals.
When emptying the waste tank, follow the instructions provided on the package. Observe the instructions of local authorities concerning where and how to dispose of the waste. Toilet chemicals are usually harmful to the environment if they end up in nature untreated.