Posted by tashanewman ● 9/29/16 8:00 AM

Understanding The Importance Of A Disinfectant Label

Choosing the right disinfectant to use and applying it properly is a critical step in the cleaning process. Important information regarding dwell times and kill claims can be found on the products label. These label instructions will provide your staff with explicit information on how to properly use the product. But what is a kill claim and dwell time? Helping your staff understand these important key terms will go a long way in assisting them to do their jobs well and ensure proper application of a disinfectant. 

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Understanding Dwell Times

A dwell time is the contact time the disinfectant is required to remain on the affected surface to effectively kill bacteria and germs. Each disinfectant will have a manufacturer’s suggested dwell time; these times may vary and must be followed closely for the product to perform effectively.

According to CleanLink, cleaning professionals are less likely to follow the instructed dwell time, especially if they are pressed for time. So, although the stress of janitorial work can be overwhelming, following the requirements of the disinfectant is a crucial part of the cleaning process. If the disinfectant isn’t left on the surface for the suggested contact time, the bacteria on the affected surface is less likely to be killed, leaving customers and employees susceptible to infections and illnesses.

Additionally, disinfectants should only be used when needed. Occupational Health and Safety explain they’re discovering that many pathogens are now becoming immune to some disinfectants, as a result of overuse and improper use. To ensure the safety of your cleaning team, your patrons, the environment, and the efficacy of the product, be sure that your team is using these products only when needed and as recommended.

Understanding Kill Claims


Every disinfectant is different and the labels are there to indicate which microscopic organism they can kill. For example, disinfectants can kill TB (tuberculosis) bacterium, H1N1 Influenza A virus, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and other pathogens. However, the disinfectant that kills MRSA may not work against the TB bacterium. Although this may not always be the case, it demonstrates the importance of selecting the disinfectant that is effective against the particular pathogen you want to kill. Kill claims are a list of microscopic organisms (bacterias, viruses, and fungi) that each disinfectant is effective at eliminating. These lists are provided on the label of every disinfectant on the market. Additionally, every true disinfectant has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number or a Drug Identification Number (DIN). This number indicates that a disinfectant has been proven effective, with a minimal risk to the user.

Improperly used disinfectants are ineffective, so it’s important to ensure your staff understands the label instructions before applying the product to any affected surface. This will ensure that the job is completed in a safe and effective manner.

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Swish has a variety of products that, when used properly, will effectively disinfect and clean. Our Product Specialists are available to help you decide which products will work best for your needs, so contact us when you're ready.


Topics: Chemical Labels, DIN, Disinfectant Label, Disinfection, Drug Identification Number, Dwell Time, Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Kill Claim