Disinfectants contain chemicals which are designed to kill or inactivate microorganisms on surfaces. These chemicals are widely used to ensure safe food preparation and for industrial purposes, however they are not completely harmless. The term disinfection refers to the process of destroying bacteria, viruses and other pathogens by using a solution containing an agent to inhibit the growth of microorganisms. Disinfection is generally not complete as it leaves behind an inactive residue, known as the disinfectant. There are many different types of disinfectants, but only a few are used for industrial purposes.
One type of disinfectant, commonly known as bromine, has been used as a disinfecting agent for many decades. It is highly effective against bacteria such as E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and salmonella. Disinfection by bromine does not always completely kill all microorganisms, particularly resistant bacteria spores; it’s more effective than chlorine, which is also an extreme chemical or physical process that kills off all forms of life. However, unlike chlorine, bromine cannot be used as a sanitizer. So even if you do use a bromine solution to disinfect a surface, you need to add a sanitizer afterwards to prevent bacterial growth.
Other types of disinfectants include chlorine dioxide and ozone, which have been shown to be more effective than chlorine at killing bacteria. Chlorine dioxide is a very effective disinfectant, but it has the disadvantage of producing an ozone cloud. In fact, if someone were to breathe the chlorine dioxide air, they would be exposed to it for several hours before it wore off. This is a problem as ozone is toxic to both humans and animals. Disinfectant is widely used in industrial settings because it is effective and economical. But as previously stated, it doesn’t remove all microorganisms. As soon as the bromine or chloroform is removed, there will be a residual residue and it will need to be cleaned up before it reverts back to a potentially harmful microorganism, as well as after prolonged use of the disinfectant.