Sanitization chemicals

Sanitization can be carried out by a lot of different chemicals, some of them are listed below:

Common Sanitization chemicals

How to make bleach at home

Uncommon sanitization chemicals

Other sanitization chemicals

Sanitization liquid

Common sanitization chemicals

Alcohol: It's the main component of hand sanitizers. Majorly, ethyl alcohol, and isopropyl alcohol are used. The optimum concentration is between 60-90% solutions in water. It is not commonly used for sanitization of an area as it's not strong enough for surfaces. It tends to evaporate quickly and surfaces are not able to get an extended exposure to alcohol unless they are immersed. Also, it needs to be stored in a cool & well ventilated area that makes storage an issue.


Chlorine and chlorine compounds : Everyone has heard of hypochlorites (liquid - sodium hypo, solid - calcium hypo). Aqueous solution of sodium hypochlorites is also called bleach (5-6%). They are nontoxic, are unaffected by water, are cheap, and act quickly. But on the other hand, can cause skin irritation and discoloration. It is majorly used in healthcare facilities as a floor cleaning agent and disinfection of needles and syringes.

How to make bleach solution at home

To make a bleach solution, mix:

5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of room temperature water


4 teaspoons bleach per quart of room temperature water

Bleach solutions will be effective for disinfection for up to 24 hours. Spray on surface to disinfect, let sit for 10 minutes, wipe away with a wet cloth. 

Uncommon sanitization chemicals

Formaldehyde: It can be used in both gaseous and liquid forms. Its water-based solution is called formalin. It is extremely pungent and emits fumes even at very low levels. The ingestion of formaldehyde can be fatal, whereas low-level long-term exposure can cause respiratory problems or skin issues like dermatitis or itching. It has been historically used to sterilize surgical instruments when mixed with alcohol.


Glutaraldehyde: Another chemical that has a wide acceptance as a high-level sterilant. It is non-corrosive to metal and does not damage plastics. Majorly used to disinfect endoscopes, respiratory therapy systems. But it is too toxic and difficult to store while being extremely expensive.


Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide solutions having a concentration of 3% can be used to disinfect inanimate surfaces and is stable and effective. It is also used to clean spots in fabrics.

Other sanitization chemicals

Iodophors: Iodine and its solutions have been used by doctors and professionals as antiseptic tinctures, while iodophors are used as disinfectants.


Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA) : It is a high level disinfectant and is cleared by the FDA. Compared to glutaraldehyde, it does not irritate eyes and nasal passages, its exposure does not require monitoring and has a barely perceptible odour. But it still can cause problems for unprotected skin. It has a longer required contact time (5-15 mins) compared to other chemicals in the list.


Quaternary ammonium compounds: These compounds are widely used as disinfectants. The compounds are used in the environmental sanitization of floors, walls and furniture.

Sanitization Liquid

A sanitization liquid is formed when a sanitizing chemical is mixed with water according to guidelines set by the manufacturer. A chemical itself is too concentrated to be used for surfaces as it can cause stains, is not odorless, and can result in skin irritation for the professional who's using it. For this reason, it's mixed with water. This liquid can then be used in misting machines, fog machines, spray tanks and other machines used to disinfect


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