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13 Jan


What kind of Disinfectant should be used in my Disinfection Mat?

January 13, 2017 | By |

Disinfectants are antimicrobial agents that are applied to the surface of non-living objects to destroy micro-organisms present on them. Sweetmat Disinfection Mats provide a universal applicator for a range of agents.

A perfect disinfecting agent would offer complete and full microbiological sterilisation, without harming humans or animals, be inexpensive and non-corrosive…  BUT not all disinfectants are suitable for all purposes and you need to make the best choice based on your situation requirements.

Some disinfectants have a wide spectrum action (killing many different types of micro-organisms), while others kill a smaller range of disease-causing micro-organisms but are preferred for other properties (they may be non-corrosive, non-toxic or inexpensive).

Disinfectant Types   


Mode of action:  Acts on proteins by denaturation and on nucleic acids by alkylation. The reaction is irreversible and pH-dependent, working better at alkaline pH and less at neutral or acidic pH.

Advantages:  Very effective against most bacteria, viruses and fungi, but not against parasite eggs. Least sensitive to the presence of organic matter. Relatively inexpensive.

Disadvantages:  Not effective in low temperatures (<5°C or 41°F). Irritating and pungent odour. Carcinogenic (Formaldehydes) and allergic when in contact with skin.

Quaternary Ammonium (Quats)    

This group of compounds is excellent against bacteria and fungi, but not effective against non-enveloped viruses (e.g. Norovirus, Rotavirus etc.). They are Cationic (positively charged ions) detergents and are effective against bacteria and fungi at low concentration of 0.5%.

Mode of action:  Structure and function disruption resulting in leakage of cell components and cell death.

Advantages:  Strong antimicrobial action. Colourless, odourless, tasteless, and non-toxic. Effective against Gram-positive bacteria, less effective against Gram-negative bacteria. Also destroy fungi, amoebas, and enveloped viruses (e.g. influenza and many animal viruses). Quats are relatively insensitive to low temperature and organic matter.

Disadvantages:  Neutralized by soaps and anionic (negatively charged ion) detergents, Pseudomonas strains that are resistant and can grow in presents of Quats are a big problem concern in hospitals.

*Aldehydes + Quats

The combination of Aldehydes and Quats as a disinfectant is quite common.  Although improving performance at lower temperatures, efficacy against non-enveloped viruses is sacrificed (see Quats).

Sweetmat Disinfection Mat Disinfectant Chemical Types
Sweetmat Disinfection Mat Disinfectant Chemicals Swab
Sweetmat Disinfection Mat Disinfectant Types Culture
Chlorocresols (Phenolics)

Mode of action:  Cross-linking, coagulating, and clumping leads to leakage of cellular components and finally to death of the microbial cell.

Advantages:  Very effective in the presence of organic matter. Effective against bacteria, (especially Gram-positive bacteria) and enveloped viruses. Limited toxicity. Typically effective as a deodorizer.

Disadvantages:  Poor to limited residual activity. Not effective against sporicidal activity.

Halogens (Oxidizing Disinfectants)

Chlorine (bleach) is the most widely used disinfectant in North America.

Mode of action:  They are oxidizing agents and therefore denature proteins and cause the microorganisms death.

Advantages:  Inexpensive disinfectant. Active against most pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, moulds, and algae, but not bacterial spores.

Disadvantages:  They are rapidly inactivated in the presence of organic matter. Disinfection efficiency is temperature dependent (at close to 0°C or 32°F disinfection efficiency is very poor). Corrosive to stainless steel surfaces. Frequent refreshing is required.

Sweetmat Disinfection Mat Disinfectant Chemicals Table

Table of Required Disinfectant Concentrates


Sweetmat Disinfection Mat Disinfectant Chemicals Dog
Sweetmat Disinfection Mat Disinfectant Chemicals Walking
Sweetmat Disinfection Mat Disinfectant Chemicals Footprint

“How often should I change the disinfecting agent?”

 Each situation is different but you need to consider the following factors:

  • the amount of traffic
  • the amount of organic matter
  • the type of disinfectant
  • the dilution rate if outdoors
  • the amount of sunlight
  • the water quality to begin
  • the ambient temperature
  • the pH-level
  • the presence of other chemicals (soaps, detergents or other)
  • and the type of micro-organisms you are targeting…
To maintain effective biosecurity using a Disinfection Mat you must ensure that the Disinfectant you use is regularly checked and maintained.
Disinfection Mat Vet