How to Effectively Use Disinfectant Wipes to Kill Germs on Inanimate Surfaces

The only way to effectively use disinfectant wipes is to read the complete label and follow the directions for use. The label can also tell you the list of specific germs that will be eliminated by proper use of the product. This helps users to determine whether the wipes meet the requirements of the environment where hard non-porous surfaces need to be disinfected.

The purpose of a pre-saturated disinfectant wipe is to spread disinfecting liquid on a non-porous surface so that the liquid can do its job of killing germs. Label directions will generally state that if a surface is visibly dirty, it should be cleaned first before disinfecting. The reason is because dirt particles create hiding places for germs. If you do not remove all the dirt particles from the surface first, you will not be able to do an effective job of disinfecting.

Generally, disinfecting directions include wiping the surface to be treated until it becomes visibly wet. From there, the surface must remain visibly wet long enough to kill the specific pathogens that might be present. “Pathogens” is another word for “germs” which are microorganisms that include bacteria, viruses and fungi that can cause disease. The time period for remaining visibly wet is called “contact time”, and the disinfectant wipe label will tell you how much contact time is needed to kill the various germs the wipe is designed for. Contact times vary greatly! As an example, let’s look at the virus that causes COVID-19 which is something on top of everyone’s mind right now. According to EPA List N, an online reference guide to EPA-registered disinfectants effective against COVID-19, the contact time for wipes to kill the COVID-19 virus ranges from six seconds to two minutes.

Disinfectant wipes are regulated by the EPA and undergo rigorous lab testing to determine the list of germs that they can kill and the contact time needed to do so. Developing disinfectant formulas is a complex science and a competitive industry so the spectrum of ingredients used for disinfecting wipes is as widespread as the uses. For instance, ingredients in household wipes vary greatly from those needed to kill the germs present in hospitals and healthcare facilities. That is why it is important to refer to the product label, find the list of pathogens, and determine if the disinfectant wipes inside are designed to be effective in the location they will be used. Along with that it is critical to carefully follow the contact time because it can also vary between the different pathogens! A disinfectant wipe formula may kill COVID-19 in 30 seconds of contact time, but may require five minutes of contact time to kill flu virus. More than one wipe may be needed to reapply disinfectant liquid to the surface and achieve the full contact time.PRO-SERIES® Disinfectant Wipes are industrial grade, broad spectrum, EPA-registered, List N wipes pre-saturated with a quaternary disinfectant cleaner for use on hard non-porous surfaces. PRO-SERIES Disinfectant Wipes kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, on hard non-porous surfaces in just 30 seconds. According to the EPA website, all products on List N are expected to kill all strains and variants of SARS-CoV-2. PRO-SERIES’ multipurpose formulation can be used to clean, sanitize, and deodorize in addition to disinfecting inanimate surfaces in schools, factories, office buildings, manufacturing and medical institutions. For more information about this product or to contact the manufacturer, visit