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GK-GermKiller® seeks expert opinion to debunk common disinfectant myths

In order to shed some light on the authenticity of some of disinfectant claims, GK-GermKiller® consulted the resident cleaning expert, Ms Francia Solis.

SINGAPORE, January 17, 2022 / -- Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people are increasingly gaining awareness on the importance of practising good hygiene. The use of disinfectants and sanitisers has become an essential part of the everyday fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

However, as the interest in disinfectants rises, various disinfectant marketing stints with unsubstantiated claims start to spread as quickly as the virus. With a lot of dubious disinfectant claims and promises going around, one might be unsure as to the trustworthiness of the information they come across.

In order to shed some light on the authenticity of some of these claims, GK-GermKiller® consulted the resident cleaning expert, Ms Francia Solis, Head of Singapore’s COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection Industry Task Force and Senior Chemist of Vance Chemicals to debunk the most recent and important myths around disinfectants.

Myth #1: All disinfectants are the same

Disinfectants are not all created equal. A typical consumer might simply purchase the first disinfectant/hand sanitiser they come across, or just a familiar disinfectant brand assuming that all disinfectants and hand sanitisers can perform the same functions.

The truth is, there are differences in the spectrum of efficacy, concentration, hazards, contact times, applications and even personal protection needed for proper usage. Some formulas are only effective against common pathogens found at home, while others are considered as high-level disinfectants with a very wide range of efficacy against antibiotic-resistant organisms. When it comes to choosing the right disinfectant, it is recommended to consider four primary factors: Effectiveness, Kill Time, Safety and Ease of Use.

GK-Germkiller® disinfectants are certified hospital grade disinfectants which are safe to be used in homes and for daily use. The GK-Germkiller® range of disinfectants has different applications and each variant is strategically formulated for optimum efficacy with the user’s safety in mind.

Myth #2: “Food-grade” disinfectants/sanitisers can be ingested OR applied directly on food

Most people assume that a “food-grade” disinfectant/sanitiser is safe for ingestion and can be directly applied on food. However, on closer inspection, all food-grade sanitisers have a similar disclaimer written on their labels “Our sanitisers are not meant for consumption. Please do not consume/ingest it.”

The definition of “food-grade” can mean different things across different sectors, because there is no official agency that can issue a ‘food grade’ certification. In the food industry, “food grade compliance” refers to a comprehensive process which requires all food components and the surfaces they come in contact with are safe for human consumption.

Many misunderstand the “food-grade” term on disinfectant bottles to be safe for consumption. The “food-grade” term is not the same as a “food-safe” claim. Disinfectants can NOT be ingested or applied directly to food.

GK-Concentrate™ has the NSF mark on its label to show consumers that it is a registered product under NSF International, an organisation pioneering food safety. The NSF mark is an assurance that the product has been tested by one of the most respected independent certification organisations in existence today.

Myth #3: Self-disinfecting coating lasts 3 months so there is no need to keep disinfecting/sanitising.

While this claim might be true in a laboratory setting, it is not the case in a real life setting where there are constant and uncontrolled amounts of pathogens in different forms. There is no way of telling how much bacteria or viruses are lying dead on the coated surface. The accumulative effect of pathogens piling on the coated surface can quickly become overwhelming, resulting in the coating losing its disinfecting ability eventually.

Such a claim can be misleading as it suggests that surfaces treated with self-disinfecting coating will be free of harmful pathogens. People take for granted that the coated surface is safe and does notdo not require regular disinfection.

In fact, it is still recommended to disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly. GK Surface™ is a highly effective disinfectant that protects surfaces by applying it once or twice a day.

Myth #4: Bleach is the best product for disinfecting

Chlorine bleach is an inexpensive disinfectant that is widely used mostly because of its affordability. While it is cheap, it is certainly not the best choice when it comes to safety and efficiency. Bleach exposure can cause irritation in the eyes, mouth, lungs and skin. Bleach can burn human tissue; internally or externally, especially in small children. Individuals with asthma or other breathing problems are particularly susceptible.

Disinfecting with bleach is a two-step process. In order for bleach to function properly as a disinfectant, the surface MUST be cleaned prior to the application of bleach. The effectiveness of bleach depends on the amount of active chlorine and the sodium hypochlorite in the solution. However as both active ingredients are easily affected by factors such as storage temperature, water hardness and presence of soil contaminants in the holding container, it is important to note that a fresh solution of bleach MUST be made prior to ensure effective disinfection or sanitation.

Time and safety is very important and despite the savings in buying bleach, it is crucial to have a ready-to-use formula like GK-Germkiller® to reduce the risk of virus spreading. GK-Germkiller® disinfectants were tested for ingestion, inhalation and dermal toxicity, as well as eye and skin irritation and sensitisation. The results showed that it was far safer than bleach and most common cleaners.

Lim Swee Cheng
Vance Chemicals Pte Ltd
+65 6863 0863
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