Insecticides vs Disinfectants vs Pesticides
Updated: May 25, 2022
Why Use a Disinfectant, When You Need an Insecticide?
Or, alternatively . . .
Why Use an Insecticide, When You Need a Disinfectant?
Question: Ever wonder if you should use a disinfectant, an insecticide, a pesticide or both? What is the difference, anyway? Do you find it all pretty confusing? If your answer is “yes,” don’t feel bad. Most people do!
And for good reason.
The fact is that most of us simply don’t understand the difference between insecticides, disinfectants, sanitizers, pesticides and deodorants. Again, don’t feel bad if you can’t immediately explain the differences. The confusion is such that the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) has even dedicated an entire web page to explaining the differences.
Face It: Bacteria, Virus, and Fungi Are Pests
With this in mind, here’s what the EPA says about these differences:
“Disinfectants and sanitizers [are] listed as pesticides. People often use the term
"pesticide" to refer only to insecticides, but it actually applies to all the substances
used to control pests . . . Disinfectants and sanitizers kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi
. . . insects, weeds, snails, and slugs are [also] considered pests Therefore, [we
classify] disinfectants and sanitizers as pesticides.”
It’s worth noting that the EPA further classifies disinfectants as antimicrobial pesticides, which are:
“Intended to disinfect, sanitize, reduce or mitigate growth or development of
microbiological organisms or protect inanimate objects, industrial processes or
systems, surfaces, water or other chemical substances from contamination,
fouling or deterioration caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, algae, or
All of the foregoing is true, but it doesn’t quite explain how these products are used or why!
Making the Connection: Insecticide, Pesticides, and Disinfectants
Rather than getting into the technicalities regarding these products, let me give you a common scenario that we’ve encountered quite frequently.
The Mold Anecdote
A customer (could be in their home, their office, a store, almost anywhere) discovers that they have mold in their bathroom(s) and need to remove it.
Now, mold can really be quite dangerous, if left untreated. And, if you, or your family or employees, suffer from asthma or any allergies, mold can cause a number of respiratory problems, such as Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis, Chronic Rhinosinusitis,
Allergic Fungal Sinusitis, and Allergic Alveolitis, among other ailments.
But things usually don’t end there. Merely removing the mold with a cleanser, or disinfectant, or bleach (don’t) may conceal a related problem that you’re not even aware of.
Mold just loves moisture. It’s a prerequisite for being able to take hold and flourish. That’s why you often find it in bathrooms or showers, as well as cluttered storage areas and basements, and areas with inadequate ventilation. But that moisture will also attract pests, such as roaches, ants, mosquitoes, earwigs, silverfish, and sewer flies or drain flies.
But let’s go a step further. There is a kind of symbiotic relationship between mold and pests like the ones listed above. It’s not always true, but any time you discover mold there’s a very good chance that a variety of pests are present. You just don’t see them. Well, not very often.
What’s more, there is also a better than even chance that the areas you are trying to rid of mold and pests also contain high levels of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi.
That is why I called this section ‘Making the Connection.’ These things ̶ mold, pests, bacteria, viruses ̶ are often found together, which is why you have to do more than take a sponge soaked in vinegar and water to those mold spores.
Where Sterifab Belongs in this Chain
As we’ve pointed out many times in our previous blogs, Sterifab® is both an extremely effective pesticide and an efficient disinfectant. As a pesticide, it can kill lice, bed bugs, ticks, dust mites, centipedes, fleas, sowbugs, ants, as well as silverfish, roaches, and firebrats.
Another plus is that, as a disinfectant, Sterifab simultaneously destroys micro-organisms, eradicates and prevents fungal growth, and eliminates mold and mildew. It quickly kills viruses, destroys germs and removes pathogenic odors. This is one of the reasons that Sterifab is often used in hospitals, ERs, and ambulances. And, one of the most widely used Sterifab applications is preventing the spread of infection.
In fact, health care facilities nationwide have been using Sterifab for years. It has long been the cleansing agent of choice in hospitals and other health care facilities. It is designed for health care staff use and meets the requirements for hospital bactericidal activity, killing a extensive range of pathogens, while it also cleans and deodorizes.
But Sterifab also possesses a few features that make it truly special. For instance, it dries in 15-20 minutes (at room temperature), it’s biodegradable and ̶ this is especially important in hospitals and ERs ̶ it leaves absolutely no remains or functioning elements. Also, it can deodorize and control a variety of odor-causing organisms, and, it is one of the very few non-residual, anti-bug, disinfectant products that can be safely used on mattresses and upholstered furniture.
A Parting Thought . . .
Sterifab is the only EPA-approved product that functions simultaneously as a viricide, bactericide, sanitizer, insecticide, deodorant, germicide-disinfectant, mildewcide, fungicide, bacteriostatic, and fungistatic. Keep a small bottle handy, always!