Surface cleaners with antibacterial agents subjected to a quality evaluation test

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A Delhi-based consumer interest organization tested eight surface cleaners, in the price range of Rs 8.70 to 17.8 per 100ml, on parameters such as QAC content and pH levels. Here are the main findings and a summary of the lab reports.

Traditionally, phenol has been used to clean surfaces and disinfect toilets and kitchens. Popular use has shifted to the use of new chemical formulations. Nowadays, disinfectant products using quaternary ammonium compounds (CAQ) as the active ingredient are most widely used for cleaning surfaces in homes and offices. They are frequently used to clean hard surfaces such as floors, laminate table tops, kitchen table tops and cabinets. While removing dirt and stains is what one would expect from these products, today we have various brands claiming to contain antibacterial / disinfectant agents, also known as CAQ. The advantages of CAQs are good stability and toxicology, surface activity and compatibility with cleaner formulation ingredients, and absence of odor. These properties make it well suited for consumer products that combine cleaning and disinfection. Six of the eight popular retail brands are based on QACs. These six include: Lizol, Clean Mate, Vow, Patanjali, Presto, and Mopz. These six brands are sold at a price that varies from a minimum of Rs 8.70 / 100ml for Mopz (offer of an additional 500ml bottle) to a maximum of Rs 17.8) for Lizol and Vow. The other brand Mr. Muscle (Rs 14.20 / 100ml) has as active ingredients a nonionic surfactant and benzalkonium chloride. While Unilever’s CIF contains sodium salt of benzene sulfonic acid as the active ingredient and it is the most expensive at Rs 39.60 on the market today.

These improvised products not only clean the surface superficially, but also reduce the biological load (harmful bacteria) and help keep the environment clean thanks to the effect of antibacterial agents. Without getting caught up in the technical details, Consumer Voice tested eight brands to uncover important facts about the brands that claim to do the job more efficiently. These eight brands were tested on attributes that determine their effectiveness. Each attribute was given a score, and brands collected scores out of 100 after adding the score for each criterion test. The main question was answered by assigning the highest score out of 100 for each brand: do these brands meet the basic requirements specified in the national standard?

Test criteria

Consumer Voice purchased these samples at retail and compared the eight brands on quality and acceptability parameters in laboratory testing. Test criteria included quaternary ammonium compound (CAQ) content, cleaning properties, pH level, stability, non-volatiles, odor and color. Of the eight brands, six are based on the QAC. The samples were tested in accordance with the specifications of Indian Standard 14364: 1996 (reaffirmed in 2013) for Quaternary Ammonium Compound Surface Cleaners. Consumer Voice has followed standard testing methods at a NABL accredited laboratory.

Lizol and Clean Mate each scored the highest of 91 out of 100 based on testing. They were both judged to be the best performers. Vow and Patanjali scored 90 out of 100 each standing in 2nd place. Patanjali has been classified as the “Value for Money” brand because its retail price is Rs 12.50, which is Rs 5.30 cheaper than the top performing product Lizol. Presto with 88/100 was in third place followed by Mopz with 84/100. M. Muscle and CIF were not compared as they were strictly not comparable due to their difference in chemical makeup.

Content of the CAQ

The QAC content in the surface cleaner should be at least 0.40% according to the standard.

All brands based on QAC had more than the minimum required amount of the compound.

As for other types of surface cleaners, Mr. Muscle was found to have 0.16% CAQ. CIF did not claim to have the CAQ.

Cleaning properties

The material, when applied neat or diluted with water using a clean lint-free cloth or cotton mop, wipes clean as described in the Indian standard.

All brands have been found to clean the surface effectively.

Non-volatile material

The determination of non-volatile material or residue is an important qualitative test for products in which the presence of any residue can affect the quality and performance of the product, or the efficiency of the process. Non-volatile material is the soluble, suspended or particulate material remaining after evaporation of the volatile solvent that contains the material. For surface cleaners this should be at least four percent by Indian standard.

Clean mate and Lizol achieved the highest scores among QAC-based surface cleaners.

The non-volatile material in all CAQ-based brands was above the minimum requirement. In the other types of brands, it was 1.51% at Mr. Muscle and 45.32% at CIF.

Stability

This parameter indicates whether the product will remain effective during its lifetime.

All brands passed the test.

PH

The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being considered neutral. Anything below 7 is considered acidic and anything above 7 is considered alkaline. The pH value of a surface cleaner should be between 5 and 7. When chemicals are dissolved in water, the pH level of the mixture can become acidic or alkaline. Alkaline solutions are more effective at removing dirt, grease, protein, oils, and other organic elements. Acids are better at removing calcium, rust, and other minerals.

All brands except Mr. Muscle were above the specified limit (5-7).

Odour

The material should be odorless or with a pleasant scent. All brands tested had an acceptable odor and a pleasant fragrance.

The best performing Lizol and Clean mate had a pine scent. Patanjali claimed a refreshing scent while Vow and Mr. Muscle claimed a floral scent while the lime / lemon scent was claimed by CIF and Mopz. Presto claimed a citrus scent.

Color

The material should be colorless or an appropriate color. The product, when applied for cleaning and subsequent wiping with a damp mop, should not leave any stains or stains on the floor or any other surface. After dilution with water as recommended, the color should be pale to colorless.

All the marks were light in color.

Packaging and marking

All brands were packaged in plastic bottles.

Patanjali did not have both a warning label and a “best before” date.

The author is Editor-in-Chief of Consumer Voice and Former Dean and Director of Commerce, Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi

Disclaimer: This study was independently conducted by Consumer Voice


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