Quaternary or Peroxide Disinfectants: What’s best for you?

A lot of disinfectants are on the market, but at the end of the day, commercial cleaners often choose between two chemicals: Quaternary Ammonium and Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide.

Those are big words but more importantly there are some big differences between the two disinfectants. One is ideal for noncritical surfaces while the other is good for frequently touched items.

Below, we’ve summarized the two chemicals, both of which our teams use regularly. Ideally, this will help you decide which best fits your needs as disinfection continues to be a top priority for janitorial teams.

Quaternary Ammonium

Well known and widely used, quaternary ammonium disinfectants are EPA approved. They’re regarded as effective disinfectants and are OK to use on hard surfaces.

With that said, they’re best for routine cleaning and disinfecting “noncritical” surfaces such as floors and hospital bed rails. They’re not ideal for frequently touched surfaces, because they need to sit undisturbed much longer than other options.

In terms of germ killing, they work best against bacteria, enveloped viruses (this includes COVID-19) and fungus. They’re not designed to kill spore-based contaminants and generally don’t work against nonenveloped viruses (common colds, norovirus).

Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide

These chemicals were recently introduced as EPA-registered surface disinfectants, making them wonderful for high-touchpoint surfaces such as doorknobs and counters.

The reason they’re an ideal choice is that most have low dwell times, meaning you can spray them on a surface and wipe them off shortly thereafter – and still kill all the germs. Some AHP products such as Oxivir (One our teams commonly use), have dwell times as low as 30 seconds to 1 minute for killing viruses such as COVID-19.

The compounds used to make AHPs are considered safe for staff, falling into the lowest toxicity category. They’re noncorrosive and aren’t affected by organic materials. Additionally, they’re benign, meaning they don’t harm the environment.

Of course, while those are all clear perks the downside is that AHP is more expensive than other disinfectants, including quats.

Need more information on what chemicals are best for your cleaning needs? Send our product team a note any time.

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