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Are disinfectant products really effective and what should be considered?

When speaking of the efficacy of a biocide (disinfectant) product, three variables have a fundamental influence:

  1. Degree of surface contamination.

The biocide will always be more effective whether the surface of application is already clean, since organic matter interferes with its active ingredients, reducing its disinfectant power. That is why it is important to know whether the tests that have been carried out with the biocide have been done in the presence or not of organic matter.

Products sold as two-in-one, cleaner and disinfectant, must have been tested under dirty conditions, i.e. in the presence of a quantity of organic matter that simulates dirty conditions.

On the contrary, products that only disinfect, but do not clean, are tested in clean conditions, i.e. in the presence of low concentrations of organic matter. All this information should be reflected on the product label.


  1. Contact time between biocide and surface.

The surface contact time spent by the biocide is also crucial for the efficacy of the product. The mandatory contact times are established in each of the efficacy standards passed by the product before being approved. Typically, the product has to demonstrate efficacy against bacteria not exceeding 5 minutes. Against fungi, it must not exceed  15 minutes.

The label has to inform about the minimum contact times tested for the biocide to be active.


  1. The concentration of active ingredients of the biocidal product.

The active ingredient of a biocidal product is the chemical substance that confers the biocidal properties.

Generally, the higher the concentration of an active ingredient(s) in the final product, the more effective the biocide will be. And this also influences the classification and level of danger of the product, as well as its use, which can go from being for general or domestic use to professional use (if the concentration of the active ingredient means that the product is considered dangerous and therefore requires handling only by specialized personnel).

On the other hand, Laboratorio Control, an expert laboratory in biocide analysis, has been able to verify that formulations very similar in terms of active ingredients and concentration of these, sometimes have very different behaviors in terms of efficacy. This is due in most cases to co-formulants, or substances that by themselves do not have biocidal power, but can enhance or mitigate the effect of an active substance.

Finally, factors such as pH, viscosity, density, or formulation stability can also influence the efficacy of the preparation.


In conclusion, there are a set of factors that influence the effectiveness of a biocide that sometimes are not easy to choose when you face an analysis in the laboratory. For this reason, Laboratorio Control not only offers the analysis, but also a team of experts who advise the client, to accompany him throughout the development of the formulas and help them choose the optimal test conditions to achieve maximum product efficacy.

All the information about the analysis service and advice on biocide products offered by Laboratorio Control, you can consult here.


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