In our previous post we discussed the wide range of disinfectants that are available, as well as some of the limitations that limit how effective disinfectants can be.

In this post we will review in detail the microbiocidal ability of the classes of disinfectants which we have also handily summarized in the table below. There may be individual exceptions to this overall classification (such as this February 27th announcement of new activity of a disinfectant click here for release), but on the whole as classes of disinfectants this should help summarize their overall efficacy.



More detailed efficacy overviews on each class of disinfectant are below and are taken from the (HICPAC;Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities 2008);

Alcohols (50-70%)

Bactericidal-Isopropyl alcohol is more bactericidal then ethyl alcohol, however ethyl alcohol can kill P. aeruginosa (10 seconds;30-100% v/v), S. marcesens, E. coli, and S. typhosa (10 seconds;40-100%). Ethly alcohol has also been show to kill S. aureus and S. pyogenes (10 seconds;60-95%).

Virucidal-lipophilic (herpes, influenza) and hydrophilic (adenovirus, rhinovirus) viruses can be killed by 60-80% v/v. Isopropyl alcohol is not active against nonlipid enteroviruses.

Tuberulocidal-ethyl alcohol kills M. tuberculosis (15 seconds;95% v/v).


Bleaches-chlorine containing and sodium hypochlorite (4-6%)

Bactericidal-<5ppm without organic load can have a biocidal effect on vegetative bacteria, and <25ppm can be biocidal to mycoplasma.

Virucidal-200ppm has been show to be able to deactivate 25 types of viruses in 10 minutes.

Tuberulocidal-1000ppm is reqauired to kill M. tuberculosis.

Fungicidal-500ppm can inhibit C. albicans within 30 seconds of exposure.

Sporicidal-100ppm can kill >99.9% of B. atrophaeus spores within 5 minutes, and 5000ppm can inactivate 106 C. difficile spores.


Hydrogen Peroxide (3%<)

Bactericidal/Virucidal-0.5% accelerated hydrogen peroxide demonstrated bactericidal and virucidal activity in 1 minute, and Tuberulocidal/Fungicidal activity in 5 minutes.

Sporicidal-a 10% concentration killed 106 spores in 60 minutes.


Iodophors (0.5-5%)

Bactericidal/Tuberulocidal/Fungicidal-at manufacturer concentrations (12.5-25ppm) will kill bacteria, fungi and mycobacteria with prolonged contact times.

Virucidal-75-150ppm available iodine killed a range of seven viruses.


Quaternary Ammonium Compounds “Quats” (2%)

Bactericidal/Virucidal/Fungicidal-at manufacturer levels (0.25-3%) can kill bacteria, fungi, and lipophilic (herpes, influenza) viruses.


Phenolic Compounds (0.2-3%)

Bactericidal/Tuberulocidal/Fungicidal/Virucidal-at manufacter’s levels (1:256 or 0.05%) can be bactericidal, tuberulocidal, fungicidal and virucdial with contact times of around 10 minutes

Thanks as always for reading and look forward to your thoughts below.