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Disinfectants Versus Organic Matter

Fact: Disinfectants do not have the inherent chemical ability to effectively breakdown organic matter.

Disinfectant advertising and literature will often claim efficacy for use in veterinary hospital facilities. The common inference is, if a product can be used in these areas, it will surely be effective in the kennel or barn environment. Veterinary hospital environments are usually constructed of linoleum, stainless steel, glass and plastics; these are not the types of surfaces commonly found in a kennel or barn. Many disinfectants may be useful in disinfecting hospital surfaces but, on their own, offer minimal effectiveness in a heavy soil environment such as a kennel or barn.

The presence of organic matter can significantly impact the effectiveness of disinfectants. Organic matter can interfere with the disinfection process, reducing the disinfectant’s ability to kill or inactivate microorganisms. This interference can lead to decreased disinfection efficacy and potentially compromise the intended purpose of the disinfectant. Therefore, it is crucial to consider and manage the presence of organic matter when using disinfectants to ensure optimal disinfection outcomes.

Disinfectants Versus Organic Matter

Laboratory Versus Life Environment: Although disinfectant efficacy can be qualified in an *approved laboratory, it is difficult to ensure product performance and full efficacy in a heavy soil environment.

Recurring Illness: There are a number of theories as to why certain diseases flare up every few months at the same facility. Many of the recurring illnesses are gastrointestinal in nature. Some facilities have implemented the “Disinfectant Rotation” method, falling back on the notion that using the same disinfectant over an extended period of time will create “Super Bugs”. The real culprit is “Biofilm”.

Biofilm (THE HOST): Over time and even with the best attention to removing urine and fecal deposits, a biofilm will develop on surfaces and especially on more porous surfaces such as concrete, ceramic tile, grout, wood and stone. As the biofilm builds, the disinfectant begins to have difficulty penetrating the surface. As the biofilm is penetrated with water pressure and/or through agitation, the bacteria can be released making it more accessible to other animals in close proximity.

The pH Effect: As a virus cell mutates, a higher or lower than neutral pH is needed to effectively breakthrough the cell structure. This will only take place if the disinfectant’s active ingredient can penetrate the biofilm to reach the cell. Degrading the organic biofilm will improve the disinfectant’s ability to kill it’s intended infectious agent.

Odor Control & Drain Maintenance: Even the most well maintained and managed facilities experience odors and issues with poor flowing drains. The odor, which is often more of a stale smell than a new odor, is a result of organic matter creeping into and building up in cracks, crevices, behind baseboards, underneath structures and in drains. Disinfectants and bleach do not have the inherent chemical ability to seek out and degrade disease and odor causing organic matter

The Recommended Solution:

We recommend adding ProVetLogic Kennel Care Floor Cleaner & Drain Maintainer or STABLE Environment (barns & stables) to your daily and/or regular cleaning protocol. The active ingredients in these formulas, which are Global Harmonization System (GHS) compliant, will seek out and degrade odor and disease causing organic matter.  Some include quaternary ammonium compounds.

How does the presence of organic matter affect the efficacy of a disinfectant?

Safe and nontoxic, these formulas can be used to clean and deodorize both indoor and outdoor surfaces.

*The Environment Protection Agency (E.P.A.) is the only agency that can approve the efficacy of disinfectants that make specific infectious agent kill claims. Under Federal Law, only those infectious agent kill claims approved by the E.P.A. can be listed on a disinfectant’s label, advertising and/or marketing material.


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