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Step by Step Guide & Watch Outs when using Disinfectants

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Source: Pyrus

We all know the importance of using disinfectants (now more so than ever), but do you know the correct procedure and what precautions you should take when using them?

Well look no further as we have outlined a simple guide below of what to do when selecting your disinfectant and using it.

Step 1: Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.1

Sounds obvious right?

You need to understand how to properly use that specific disinfectant such as recommended use-dilution (if applicable), material compatibility, storage, shelf-life and safe use and disposal.

Step 2: Check that your product is EPA-approved.

How do you do this?

Find the EPA registration number on the product. Then check to see if it is on the EPA’s list of approved disinfectants at: The EPA expects that all products on the list will be effective against SARS-CoV-2 (the Coronavirus that causes COVID-19) on surfaces, ONLY when you follow the instructions with the listed contact time for the specified harder-to-kill virus.2  

The EPA list also tells you the types of surfaces on which you can safely use a disinfectant product. You can see this by clicking on the green plus sign next to a product's registration number and looking at the Surface Type.

For more information on the importance of the EPA List N check out our other blog ‘What is the EPA List N and why should I care?’ here.

Source: Encrypted

Step 3: Check if the surface is chemically compatible with the materials of the surface or device you are disinfecting.

Why do we need to do this?

The product label should be able to provide you with the recommendations on what surfaces and materials this can be safely used on. It is important to know if the surface has any chemical compatibility with the materials of the surface or device. The reason for this is some disinfectants will degrade or damage the surface or even change its color or properties.

Step 4: Make sure to wash the surface with soap and water if the directions mention pre-cleaning or if the surface is visibly dirty.

Why is this so important?

Think about it. Germs or blood on the surface may reduce the effectiveness of a disinfectant otherwise. Organic matter in the form of serum, blood, pus, fecal or lubricant material can interfere with the effectiveness of the disinfectant by reacting with it to form a complex that is less effective or not effective, thereby leaving less disinfectant available to attach microorganisms.

Chlorine and iodine disinfectants, in particular, are prone to such interaction. Organic material can alternatively act as a physical barrier for inorganic material. Studies show that inorganic material can be occluded in salt crystals blocking access to disinfectants to work. Both organic and inorganic soils are easily removed by washing. While there are one-step disinfectants that have been verified by the EPA to be effective against named organisms in the presence of 5% blood serum solution, these products generally do not require pre-cleaning in order to disinfect a hard surface as long as dwell time is observed. However, related to COVID-19, the CDC recommends a multi-step cleaning process including pre-cleaning prior to disinfection.4

Step 5: Follow the contact time listed on the directions to expose the virus on the surface.

Don’t be impatient!

The surface should remain wet the whole time to ensure that the product is effective. Let the surface air dry. Do not spray, and immediately wipe the surface as that won’t be effective. If you are impatient and don’t follow this step you may not have left the disinfectant on the surface long enough to effectively kill the contaminant.

Source: Encrypted

Most EPA-registered hospital disinfectants have a label contact of 10 minutes!

However, multiple scientific studies have demonstrated the efficacy of hospital disinfectants against pathogens with a contact time of at least 1 minute. By law, all applicable label instructions on EPA-registered products must be followed. If the user selects exposure conditions that differ from those on the EPA-registered product label, the user assumes liability from any injuries resulting from off-label use and is potentially subject to enforcement action under FIFRA5.

Step 6: Wear gloves and wash your hands.

Protect your precious skin!

Some disinfectants are not skin safe, can be irritants or have toxicity when ingested, cause allergies or other health hazards. For some disinfectants, the directions will specify that you should rinse the surface after disinfecting and this will be listed on the EPA List N as Food Contact Surfaces, Post-Rinse Required.

Source: NBC News

In some cases, if you’re not wiping or rinsing the product off the surface, you can leave a chemical build-up over time which can lead to skin burns. It’s always best to wipe the surface post-cleaning to make sure it is not left with chemical residue.

When a rinse is not necessary, this will be noted on the EPA List N as Food Contact Surfaces, No Rinse. You can find out whether you need to rinse the surface after disinfection by reading the directions on the product label. However, if you can’t tell it is always best practice for you to wear gloves.

For disposable gloves, discard them after each cleaning. For reusable gloves, dedicate a pair to disinfecting COVID-19. Wash your hands after removing the gloves. In our recommendations for disinfectants to be used on our Total Protection cases, we recommend using a skin safe disinfectant.

Step 7: Last but by no means least, always lock up the disinfectant after use.

Protect yourself and your loved ones. Keep lids tightly closed and store out of reach of children.6

Source: GOHCL

How can I follow the above recommendations and safely disinfect my device?

With a Catalyst Total Protection case of course! Our comprehensive range allows you to follow the above guidelines as they are all cleanable with EPA approved disinfectants.  have been tested to sustain repeated disinfection with 70% isopropyl alcohol and 70% ethanol. These have proven to work against similar coronaviruses like SARS and MERS by a study by the Journal of Hospital Infection7.

If the surface is visibly dirty, wash it first with soap and water. Then, follow with an EPA-approved disinfectant, paying attention to proper contact time – the surface should remain wet the whole time to ensure the disinfectant is effective.8

It’s the manufacturer’s responsibility to provide a recommended disinfection protocol, and as you can tell, we’ve done our homework to come up with a recommendation.

Check out how to clean your phone case with our Total Protection range safely here.

Want to learn more?

There are a lot of details and considerations that go into picking the right disinfectant to use on a device or surface. To learn more about our recommended disinfection protocol, check out our full whitepaper ‘How can you safely Disinfect your Devices against the SARS-CoV-2-Coronavirus’ here.


  1. Cleaning and Disinfection for Households. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2020)
  1. What does the column "Follow the disinfection directions and preparation for the following virus" mean? Why are viruses other than the human coronavirus listed in that column?, Environmental Protection Agency (2020)
  1. Factors Affecting the Efficacy of Disinfection and Sterlization. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008)
  1. Chemical Disinfectants. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008),, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008) (2020).
  1. Factors Affecting the Efficacy of Disinfection and Sterlization. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities,, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008)
  1. Chemical Disinfectants. Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities (2008),, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008) (2020).
  1. The Journal of Hospital Infection. Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and their inactivation with biocidal agents, Healthcare Infection Society (2020).
  1. 6 Steps for Safe & Effective Disinfectant Use. Protection Agency (2020).
B2B catalyst catalyst case Catalyst Lifestyle consumer technology coronavirus covid covid-19 disinfect disinfection EPA approved disinfectants EPA List N phone hygiene PPE SARS-CoV-2 total protection Total Protection Case washable cases Waterproof phone case

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