Disinfectants are made from quaternary ammonium compounds (quats), chlorine (sodium hypochorite bleach), accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) or phenolics. Sanitizers are chlorine, quats, iodine and acid-anionics
CONCENTRATION OF CHEMICAL USED
Sanitizers are used at much lower concentrations than the concentrations used for disinfectants. As an example, quaternary ammonium compounds are used at 200 ppm
as sanitizers, but anywhere from 600 to 2100 ppm as disinfectants. Where sanitizers are used at low concentrations to avoid leaving a residue that could be harmful to people or food, disinfectants are used at concentrations that will leave a potentially dangerous residue because the primary concern is germ killing, not food safety. Canada Disinfect offers a wide array of EPA and Health Canada approved disinfectants.
EPA. List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2
Health Canada Hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers (COVID-19): List of disinfectants
Since disinfectants are not used on food surfaces, they often have builders, surfactants (detergents) and other chemicals that aid in the cleaning process. Often disinfectants will be referred to as “disinfectant cleaners or germicidal cleaners” to help denote the presence of chemicals to aid in cleaning. For this reason, quat disinfectant cleaners should not be diluted down to 200 ppm and used as sanitizers. Not only does this violate the label instructions, it is dangerous because of the other chemicals present. Disinfectants that have a lower use-dilution and labeling for use as a sanitizer contain no cleaning chemicals that will contaminate food.
Quat based sanitizers can do a limited amount of light-
duty cleaning, such as on dining room tables with negligible amounts of food soil present. If heavy soils are present, then precleaning must be done. The standard five step procedure: prescrape, wash in a suitable detergent solution, rinse in potable (tap) water, sanitize with a properly measured sanitizer solution and air dry (do not towel dry)