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Evaluation of Common Disinfectants used in Davao

Regional Medical Center


Luigi Mari D. Opea

Methodology
Various disinfectant solutions of varying concentration were first prepared. Surface disinfection was then
performed to test the effectivity of the disinfectant solutions. The disinfectant solutions were applied on
a floor tile and a sample swab was taken after 1 minute. The swab was then submitted to the Bacteriology
department for culture.

Figure 1. Evaluation of disinfectant methodology

CHLORINE
Background
Hypochlorites, the most widely used of the chlorine disinfectants, have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial
activity, do not leave toxic residues, are unaffected by water hardness, are inexpensive and fast acting,
remove dried or fixed organisms and biofilms from surfaces, and have a low incidence of serious toxicity.
Sodium hypochlorite at the concentration used in household bleach (5.25-6.15%) can produce ocular
irritation or oropharyngeal, esophageal, and gastric burns. Other disadvantages of hypochlorites include
corrosiveness to metals in high concentrations (>500 ppm), inactivation by organic matter, discoloring or
bleaching of fabrics, release of toxic chlorine gas when mixed with ammonia or acid (e.g., household
cleaning agents), and relative stability.

When chlorine powder is added to water it produces hypochlorous acid, HOCl (see Eq. 1). The microbicidal
activity of chlorine is attributed largely to undissociated hypochlorous acid (HOCl). The dissociation of
HOCI to the less microbicidal form (hypochlorite ion OCl-) depends on pH (see Eq. 2). Thus, hypochlorites
are less effective in alkaline solutions.

+ 2 + (Equation 1)

+ 2 + 3 + (Equation 2)

Chlorine Powder Culture Results


Table 1. Bacteriology evaluation of chlorine (China) laundry powder dissolved in 200mL tap water.
Chlorine Powder Solution Culture Result
0.1g powder No growth after 48 hours
0.5g powder No growth after 48 hours
1.0g powder No growth after 48 hours

As shown in the table above, all chlorine powder solutions were effective in disinfecting the floor tile after
one minute contact time. Assuming that the floor tile tested and laundry have the same bacterial load,
0.1g chlorine powder dissolved per 200mL tap water is sufficient to disinfect the laundry during
washing. There is no need to use more chlorine powder as it may either damage or weaken the fabrics.

It was also observed that dissolving the chlorine powder in our tap water produces white precipitates as
shown in Figure 2. These was first thought to be chalk (calcium bicarbonate, CaCO3). Chalk is insoluble in
water and the management thought that this is part of the chlorine powder that was purchased.
Suggesting that the supplier provided questionable chlorine powder. However, upon further investigation,
the white precipitates were absent when the chlorine powder was dissolved in distilled water. The white
precipitates that were found might be oxidation by-products of chlorine because of the high mineral
content of our tap water. If the laundry department wants to minimize the presence of the white
powder in their fabrics, they should opt to using different water source with lower mineral or ion
content.

Figure 2. Chlorine powder dissolved in Figure 3. Chlorine powder dissolved in


DRMC tap water producing white powder distilled water producing no white powder

Zonrox Culture Results


Table 2. Bacteriology evaluation of Zonrox (Original) dissolved in 200mL tap water.
Zonrox Solution Culture Result
1:10 Zonrox (Original) No growth after 48 hours
1:50 Zonrox (Original) Moderate growth of Bacillus species
1:100 Zonrox (Original) Moderate growth of Bacillus species

As shown in the table above, only the 1:10 Zonrox-Original solution (1mL Zonrox per 10mL tap water) was
able to disinfect the floor tile after one minute contact time. Thus, it is recommended for our janitorial
staff to use higher concentration when disinfecting floor tiles, garbage bins, and other surfaces. The
high concentration needed might be due to the poor quality of our tap water. As mentioned, high content
of organic matter and minerals will lead to inactivation of chlorine.

HYDROGEN PEROXIDE
Background
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) works by producing destructive hydroxyl free radicals (OH) as shown in Eq. 3.
Hydroxyl free radicals attack membrane lipids, DNA, and other essential cell components. Catalase,
produced by aerobic organisms and facultative anaerobes that possess cytochrome systems, can protect
cells from metabolically produced hydrogen peroxide by degrading hydrogen peroxide to water and
oxygen. This defense is overwhelmed by the concentrations used for disinfection. Hydrogen peroxide is
active against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores.

2 2 2 (Equation 3)

Under normal conditions, hydrogen peroxide is extremely stable when properly stored (e.g., in
dark containers). The decomposition or loss of potency in small containers is less than 2% per year at
ambient temperatures.
Culture Results
Table 3. Bacteriology evaluation of Hydrogen peroxide tap water solution.
Hydrogen Peroxide Solution Culture Result
5.0% H2O2 No growth after 48 hours
3.5% H2O2 No growth after 48 hours
2.0% H2O2 No growth after 48 hours

As shown in the table above, all hydrogen peroxide solution was able to disinfect the floor tile after 1
minute contact time. It is highly recommended for us to use hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant for we
can use it at lower concentration and it is less harmful for the environment. When hydrogen peroxide is
used for disinfection, its by-products are only water and oxygen.