Can my detergent kill germs?

Can my detergent kill germs?

When contaminated instruments arrive in Sterile Processing, our primary goal is starting soil removal with various types of detergents.  

The timing and correct selection of chemicals in the “dirty” decontamination side becomes more confusing if killing germs is a consideration when items cannot go through washer thermal disinfection. Device instructions must be followed but often tell us to use alcohol to “clean” the device. Selecting a chemical that will do the job, meet device instructions and not cause damage is tricky. 

Two things that Sterile Processing must understand in this chemical dilemma: detergents cannot claim to kill germs unless EPA registered and disinfectants are not tested for cleaning action by the EPA. 

Disinfectants must have chemicals to kill germs with alcohols, peroxides or ammoniums as frequently used active agents. But those same chemicals may interfere with cleaning or cause corrosion. 

If device instructions recommend avoiding alcohol during processing, a water-based disinfectant may be useful. Certol International offers ProSpray™ water-based intermediate level disinfectants with cleaning surfactants and alcohol content below 5% alcohol. This product is EPA registered and available as liquid ready to use, liquid concentrate and presaturated disinfectant wipes. The EPA approved label states that ProSpray is both a cleaner and disinfectant. Contact Certol at (800) 843-3343 or check the website www.Certol.com for more information.

Valuable resources include Annex E of AAMI ST79:2017 and AAMI TIR68:2018. Both documents explain how to select and use disinfectants in Sterile Processing


Ready-to-Use Surface Disinfectant/Cleaner

  • Effective against  MRSA-CA and HA.
  • Ready to use format is safe and convenient. No dilution issues!
  • Empty 16 ounce bottle is labeled for OSHA compliance. Refill from gallon or 5 gallon drum.

ProSpray™ wipes

Surface Disinfectant/Cleaner Towelettes

  • Alcohol-free, ammonium-free and bleach-free actives are best choice for plastics, vinyls and metals.
  • Fast Disinfecting Power: THREE Minutes to Kill TB and Other Organisms.
  • User-Friendly Water Based Formula: Hard on Germs, Not on Hands or Equipment!