Using Quat-Based Disinfectant Products Correctly

productsTo get the best results from a quat-based disinfectant, you must apply it properly. First, carefully read and follow label directions for the product. Learn how to read a product label, or view EPA container/product labeling requirements. Then make sure you are starting with a clean surface as dirt and dust will inactivate the quat’s disinfecting ability.

Several factors are important: concentration, application, and contact time.


Consumer product formulations with quats are ready to use. They are highly diluted and have, in general, less than 3/10th of a percent of quat in their formulations. Always follow label directions for use as different products may have different instructions for the length of time the product has to stay wet on the surface.  Many products (but not all) require that you clean the surface before you disinfect. See FAQS for an explanation of why this is important. Allow the products to dry on the surfaces…don’t wipe them off unless the product label recommends doing so.

Commercial and industrial use products are often shipped as concentrates. Prior to use, properly-trained personnel wearing appropriate personal protection equipment must mix the quat-based disinfectant with the right amount of water (the correct dilution rate) according to label directions.


Use the proper application method described on the product label.

Contact Time

To be effective, disinfectants need to be wet and in contact with microorganisms (germs) for a specific amount of time. If not left long enough on the surface, they cannot do their job completely. All quat-based products have labeling that defines how long the product must remain in contact with the surface being disinfected.