17 Disinfectant Safety Tips Everyone Should Know

To help you avoid any cleaning mishaps, here are some disinfectant safety tips to read before you start your germ-busting mission.
2 January, 2023 by
17 Disinfectant Safety Tips Everyone Should Know
XO2® Pty Ltd, David Blamire

Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces in facilities, workplaces and homes is more important now than ever before. But when you grab your disinfectant wipe or spray to start your germ-busting mission, it's important to keep in mind that disinfectants can be hazardous to your health if you don't use them properly.

At XO2, we've seen it all. From people using bleach as a mouthwash to mistaking oven cleaner for vinegar, we've witnessed some serious cleaning catastrophes.

So, to help you avoid any cleaning mishaps, here are some disinfectant safety tips that everyone should know...

Disinfectant safety tips

1. Read the label

Before you use any disinfectant, read the label carefully. The label should tell you what you need to know about the product, including how to use it safely and effectively. 

2. Have the safety data sheet (SDS) handy

Ensure the safety data sheet (SDS) is available for the disinfectant product you are using.

3. Avoid contact with skin and eyes

Some disinfectants can cause skin irritation and eye damage. Be sure to keep them away from your skin and eyes. If any disinfectant does come directly into contact with your skin, rinse it off immediately.

4. Don't mix chemicals

Mixing different types of chemicals together is dangerous. Only follow the instructions on the label.

5. Ensure good ventilation

When using disinfectants, make sure the spaces you are cleaning in are well-ventilated. It's a good idea to open a window or turn on a ceiling fan to help fresh air circulate so you avoid any unhealthy fumes.

6. Wear gloves

Always wear gloves when using disinfectants even when it is not specifically stated to do so. Using gloves is the best way to protect your hands from chemical exposure and prevent skin irritation. We highly recommended using disposable nitrile gloves when using disinfectant cleaners.

7. Wash and dry your hands after use

After using disinfectants, make handwashing a habit using a high quality hand soap. Use a disposable paper hand towel to dry your hands after washing.

8. Use the correct amount and dilution

Don't overuse your disinfectant. Use the correct amount and if the disinfectant product you use is concentrated, dilute it correctly with water. Here's an article to help with diluting concentrated disinfectants correctly... How To Quickly Calculate Cleaning Chemical Dilution Rates And Ratios.

9. Disinfect in well lit areas

Make sure you are cleaning and disinfecting in well lit areas. You need to be able to see what you're doing to help you avoid accidents and spills.

10. Store disinfectants safely

Store disinfectants in a safe place that's cool and dry. Keep disinfectants away from the reach of children and pets. Ensure the container is kept sealed and out of direct sunlight when not being used.

11. Only use food-approved disinfectants in food areas

If you are cleaning a kitchen, restaurant or food manufacturing plant, ensure the disinfectants you use are food approved. XO2's Cleansan and Protect are popular disinfectant options for food areas. For disinfection of produce, only use a specific food-approved disinfectant like Vegisan for this task.

12. Use disinfectant wipes instead of sprays

Disinfectant wipes are safer to use than sprays and liquids. Where possible use a disposable pre-moistened wipe because you'll avoid any mists that could be inhaled, have just the right amount of product to do the job and avoid any chance of cross-contamination.

13. Test first

If you are disinfecting a new surface for the first time play it safe and do a small test to ensure the disinfectant you are using will be suitable for the surface and do no damage.

14. Use the right type of disinfectant

Different disinfectants do different jobs. Make sure you've got the right one. For example, Disso is a fragrance-free hospital-grade disinfectant that is TGA listed to kill a wide spectrum of viruses and bacteria including COVID-19. 5-in-1 is a multi-purpose commercial grade disinfectant that comes in a range of different fragrances. And our IPA disinfectant wipes are amazing on office desks, phones and computer keyboards.

15. Pre-clean for best disinfection results

For critical areas and deep cleaning, ensure surfaces are pre-cleaned before disinfection. Organic soils do inhibit disinfection. That means a dirty surface is harder to disinfect than a clean one.

16. Don't overuse disinfectants

Using too much disinfectant too often can actually be counterproductive. Overuse of disinfectant can assist in creating resistant bacteria and also harm the environment. It's best to only use disinfectants when necessary and in the recommended amounts.

17. Use common sense

Lastly, use your common sense when using disinfectants. If something doesn't feel or seem right, trust your instincts. Play it safe and check with an expert before going ahead if you're unsure of anything.

In Conclusion

Cleaning and disinfecting are important for maintaining a healthy home or workplace. But it's equally important to use disinfectants safely to avoid any health hazards. By following these disinfectant safety tips, you can protect yourself and others while still keeping things clean and germ-free.

David Blamire, CEO at XO2

David is one of Australia's leading cleaning industry innovators. He's spent his entire working life solving cleaning challenges others thought were impossible. He's best known for his product creation and development skills along with a deep knowledge of business operations and all things ERP. In his spare time, David's a keen fisherman and adventurer. And he doesn't mind if you call him Davo.

Get in touch with David at www.xo2.com.au. He works from XO2's national headquarters and manufacturing centre in Queensland, Australia.

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