“Daft” may not be the most popular word, but it certainly can be the perfect choice in some situations! “Nicole, don’t ask such daft (aka idiotic) questions.” “Nicole, that’s a daft (aka stupid) idea.” Today, after working with my team on a question I blurted out “don’t be daft” and thought, what a perfect title for a blog topic!
If you’ve ever worked in retail, the restaurant industry or any job that has an aspect of customer service, you’ve likely dealt with a daft question or two. I’m not trying to be mean, I happen to know more than your average person about cleaning and disinfection. Ask me a question about Geography or Excel formulations and well…I’m not so smart. One of the more common questions we receive is why there are differences in contact times between concentrated and ready to use (RTU) surface disinfectants and how do we dilute a concentrate product to get the same concentration and claims as an RTU.
The short answer is, you can’t. Explaining why can be a bit more difficult.
I like to equate formulating disinfectants to baking cookies. There is a basic cookie dough that can be the start to a yummy treat. Throw in some chocolate chips and voila, you have chocolate chip cookies. Feel like raisin pecan cookies, mix in some raisins and pecans and start munching away once their cooked! What you can’t do with the basic cookie dough is roll it out and make shapes like you would with sugar cookies or gingerbread dough. Why? The recipe is different. The intended use is different. You cannot substitute one for the other. Trust me on this, I have tried to roll out the dough I use to make chocolate chip cookies. The end result left me with ugly, abstract blobs.
Like cookies, disinfectants are formulated with a particular “flavour”. That flavour may be a particular contact time or efficacy claim. It may also be a particular application where the product may be run through a system that dilutes it automatically prior to use. The constant being, if the product was formulated to be diluted prior to use, it needs to be used at the dilution rates as listed on the product’s label. If you happen to like the contact times found on the label of a RTU product, you cannot try to dilute the concentrate in a way that gets you “closer” to the concentration of the RTU. It just does not work that way. In fact, you could do more harm to yourself or those in the space you’re planning to disinfect. Making a product more concentrated can have dire effects that can lead to respiratory irritancy, eye or skin irritation and compatibility issues.
When it comes to using disinfectants, read the label and use the product as the manufacturer intended it to be used. The dilution rates and contact times are there for a reason. Don’t be daft.