News and information from the world of NatraSan, plus some of the science and research behind the products.

Understanding common words used in the fight against germs

The Covid-19 pandemic has meant we’ve added a whole collection of new words to our vocabulary. In our industry we often talk about hypochlorous, pathogens, biocidal, bactericidal and coronavirus – some of which you may have come across – but what do they all mean?

Here we’ve put together a list of some of the most common terms to help you understand.  

Antiseptic – This means something can stop or slow down the development of microorganisms (see below) and can help to minimise the risk of invading germs. It differs to disinfectant as it can be applied to the body.

Bactericidal – Bacteria can reproduce in a body and release toxins that make us ill. Something that is bactericidal will kill these harmful bacteria

Biocide – A product that is used as protection against germs.

Coronavirus – The term doesn’t describe just one virus, but is the name used to cover any type of common virus that can infect your nose, sinuses, or throat. Generally, these viruses are not dangerous, but some are. We all know about a coronavirus called Covid-19, but other coronaviruses that you may have heard of include SARS and MERS.

Disinfectant – A chemical agent which is made to destroy microorganisms that live on surfaces. It does this by demolishing the cell walls of the microbes, and is something you probably use when cleaning your kitchen or bathroom.

Fungicidal – Refers to something that can inhibit or destroy the growth of fungi. As with bacteria, there are helpful and harmful fungi. An infection can occur when an attacking fungus takes over an area of the body and the immune system is unable to fight it.  

Hypochlorous – One of the most effectively known biocides (more about those above) that is capable of killing 99.9999% of invading germs in seconds, instead of minutes. It’s also naturally produced by human and animal immune systems, and is the main ingredient in NatraSan.

Microorganisms – As the name suggests, these are tiny organisms that can only be seen with a microscope, and are more commonly known as germs. They can exist in a single-celled form or a group of cells, and some are extremely important to us. However, some are classed as pathogens (see below) and cause infectious diseases.

Pathogen – Something that can cause disease, such as a virus, bacteria, germs and microorganisms.

PPM (parts per million) – This is a way of measuring the mass of a chemical, or in NatraSan’s case hypochlorous acid, per unit volume of solution. It’s important to talk about, as our product has a PPM of 150, whereas some other products that are described as hypochlorous are extremely weak with a concentration of 25PPM. Then there are some that have a 5,000PPM mixture of hypochlorous acid and bleach, which is more like rocket fuel and should never be put anywhere near the skin.  

Sodium Hypochlorite – You probably know this as bleach.

Sporicidal – Refers to a product that can kill spores. Spores are microscopic biological particles that allow fungi to be reproduced. Many spores can contain allergens that cause a range of respiratory symptoms, such as sneezing, earache, runny nose, cough, congestion and asthma.       

Viricidal – Means something can deactivate and destroy viruses. NatraSan kills 99.9999% of germs on contact and is completely safe to use on skin. This means that as well as being used as a disinfectant to sanitise hard and soft surfaces, it can also be used as an antiseptic. Purchase it from our online shop, or by calling 0800 707 6883 to place a telephone order.