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Insecticides vs Disinfectants vs Pesticides

Updated: Nov 1, 2019



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.


cleaning supplies, disinfectants, insecticides

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.”