• Quaternary Ammonium Compounds: FAQ on Common Disinfectant Ingredients
  • Part of ACI’s Ingredient Communication Initiative

The American Cleaning Institute (ACI), in partnership with the American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries(CBC), launched a new webpage geared towards better understanding common disinfectant ingredients known as quaternary ammonium compounds, also referred to as QACs or quats. 

Quats are a group of chemicals that are often found as the active ingredients in many common disinfectants and sanitizers. They are highly effective at killing bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. When properly used according to their labels, disinfectants using quats greatly help stop the spread or growth of harmful pathogens.

In the United States, use of quats in commercial disinfectant sprays and wipes is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). In order for a product to claim the status of “EPA Registered” and thus be approved for commercial distribution, its manufacturer must provide EPA with a broad array of data that includes the product’s chemical formula, active and other ingredients, packaging, label, and numerous other elements.

Quats are also used in some topical antiseptic products, like antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers, that are meant to reduce bacteria on the skin and prevent infection, disease and spreading of germs. Quats used in products made for skin contact such as hand sanitizers are regulated by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

“Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are an important part of keeping you, your family and your community safe,” said Nathan Sell, ACI Director of Regulatory Science. “That’s why it’s also important to know what ingredients go into these products and to make sure that you’re using them in a safe way.”

“Our new webpage provides an informed, science-based yet understandable perspective of how quats are used safely and effectively in products that are essential to public health,” he said. 

“The CBC is deeply committed to providing information and education to the public about the safe and effective use of disinfectant products, and we were happy to collaborate with ACI on this project,” said Komal K. Jain, CBC Executive Director. “People can and should feel confident that disinfectants, when used appropriately, will help eliminate the spread of harmful pathogens like SARS-CoV-2.”

To learn more about QUATS, visit “Quaternary Ammonium Compounds: FAQ on Common Disinfectant Ingredients.”

To learn more about disinfecting and disinfectants, visithttps://www.cleaninginstitute.org/understanding-products/disinfecting-and-disinfectants

To learn more about the long path a disinfectant product takes from concept to market, visit https://goodchemistryliveshere.com/resources/

The Center for Biocide Chemistries (CBC – biocides.americanchemistry.com) is composed of more than 50 companies that manufacture and formulate antimicrobial pesticides for use in industrial processes, material preservation, marine antifouling, industrial water treatment, public health applications, and numerous other uses. The Center focuses on the broad range of scientific, regulatory, legislative, legal and educational issues unique to antimicrobial pesticides, as well as those issues affecting all pesticide products. CBC companies have been and continue to be critical in the response to the public health threat posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). CBC provides a series of informational products about the safe use of antimicrobials at Good Chemistry Lives Here.

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI – www.cleaninginstitute.org) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry® and represents the $60 billion U.S. cleaning product supply chain. ACI members include the manufacturers and formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and chemical distributors.  ACI serves the growth and innovation of the U.S. cleaning products industry by advancing the health and quality of life of people and protecting our planet. ACI achieves this through a continuous commitment to sound science and being a credible voice for the cleaning products industry.

Back to top