Effectiveness of Alternative Antimicrobial Agents for Disinfection of Hard Surfaces - revised
A review of alternative antimicrobial agents reveals the need for standardized methodology for efficacy testing as well as considerations of toxicity, safety, cost, ease of use, availability, storage, and application-specific testing. The appropriateness of alternative antimicrobial agents, such as vinegar, lemon juice, and baking soda appear to be limited for commercial disinfection or sanitization, but some emerging technologies such as ozonated water and electrolyzed water have demonstrated substantial antimicrobial properties. Agents such as tea tree oil may demonstrate notable antimicrobial efficacy, but toxicity and lack of testing on hard surfaces limit their applications for hard surface disinfection. Thyme oil exhibits low toxicity and has been shown to be microbicidal, but its use may be limited due to the need for long contact time and costs. Although lacking active microbicidal activity, microfibre fabrics have unique properties that significantly increase their ability to remove organic debris (e.g., dust, bacteria, spores) and have the potential to be more efficient and economical than conventional cotton fabrics. Silver has been demonstrated to show residual antimicrobial properties. Its effectiveness in making materials/surfaces resistant to microbial growth has potential implications for expanding its use in medical and commercial applications. Further research is needed to explore potential uses of alternative agents in formulating novel disinfectants with desirable characteristics (e.g., lower toxicity, economical, environmentally friendly).