Disinfection and its types


Disinfection and its types

The disinfection is a complex of antimicrobial measures directed to the eradication of microbial species present on various non-living (inanimate) objects of the external environment by means of biocidal chemical substances (disinfectants) or by physical methods.

The main goal of disinfection is to interrupt the epidemiological chain – to prevent the transmission of pathogenic agents from the source of infection to susceptible persons through the objects and factors of the external environment.

The basic methods of disinfection harness highly active antimicrobial chemicals (disinfictants) to eliminate microbial cells from the external objects.

Disinfection and its types
Disinfection and its types

The main groups of disinfectants are similar to those of antiseptics.

Among them are oxidizing agents including halides (chlorine-containing substances – sodium hypochlorite, chloramine, bleach, etc.), and other oxidants (Н2О2 or ozone), aldehydes (formaldehyde), phenols and alcohols (isopropanol, ethanol), quaternary ammonium compounds (benzalkonium chloride), metal salts (Ag cations or Cu alloys).

They can be used in combination with physical measures, e.g. UV-irradiation, or heating.

Three main kinds of disinfection exist: preventive, current, and final.

  • Preventive disinfection is performed in the settings and sites of potential rapid spread of infections. It should be done continuously and uninterruptedly regardless of the source of infection presence. The measures of preventive disinfection include decontamination of various wastes, sewage and garbage, disinfection in a public dining setting, railway stations, swimming pools and baths, as well as drinking water cleaning, milk pasteurization, foodstuffs preservation, and so on.
  • In hospitals, clinics and other health care settings the current disinfection is employed to reduce significantly the total amount of contaminating microbial. This disinfection measures should be carried out every day to maintain proper antimicrobial conditions in the hospital.
  • The purpose of the final disinfection is to neutralize microorganisms in the infection focus after patient’s transportation, hospitalization, or death hence to interrupt further infection transmission.

The most reliable control of disinfection quality is performed by bacteriological tests.


  1. https://elib.vsmu.by/bitstream/123/9838/1/Generalov-II_Medical%20Microbiology%20Virology%20Immunology_Pt-1_2016.pdf