Truth in Labeling

Do you know the difference between Antimicrobial products intended as a pesticide and as a disinfectant? We're here to break it down for you! While the products may look similar, if you read the label, it tells a different story.

Antimicrobial Products as a Pesticide:

  • Regulated by the EPA

  • Used on surfaces and non-living things

  • Example: wipes for the kitchen, toys or grocery carts

Antimicrobial Products as a Disinfectant:

  • Regulated by the FDA

  • Used in or on living things

  • Example: hand-sanitizing wipes


A popular item this year in our industry has been hand sanitizer. Do you know the difference between a sanitizer, a disinfectant, and a sterilizer?


Sanitizer: These products are the weakest of the three. They simply reduce the number of bacteria on the surface being cleaned.


Disinfectant: These products kill or prevent the growth of bacteria on a surface. Certain disinfectant products target specific viruses. Make sure to read the label to learn which disinfectant is best for your needs.


Sterilizer: These are the strongest of the three. The use of sterilizers require specific training and certification and are considered a restricted-use pesticide. You mostly see these used in medical and research settings.


Before you consider that face mask treated with a registered antimicrobial to prevent the growth of odor-causing bacteria on the mask and claiming the face mask has antimicrobial properties that may be effective in preventing the spread of coronavirus, consider the science available about the antimicrobial. What does the antimicrobial do? How long does it last? Is the claim likely to be misunderstood by a consumer-focused on keeping their family, friends, and community safe in the current environment?


Knowing your products in order to make accurate claims is the surest way for ensuring safe products.

If you're looking for more information on this, you're in luck! Keith is our in-house safety expert and we have samples in our showroom.

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Source: npic.orst.edu/factsheets/antimicrobials.html#:~:text=You%20may%20find%20antimicrobial%20products,antimicrobial%20products%20as%20drugs%2Fantiseptics

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