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What are Quats?

Chances are, if you’ve been disinfecting surfaces during the pandemic, you’ve been using a product with Quats. Quat (also called a QAC) is short for Quarternary Ammonium Compounds. This group of ingredients is used in many disinfecting products because they’re so good at killing bacteria, fungi and viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19. Thank you Quats!

How do they work?

It’s pretty cool! The Quats have a positive charge that bind to the negatively charged membrane of the germ, breaking it down and deactivating the germ. This works against many of the pathogens found in our homes, schools and places of work and can help keep us from getting sick.

How do I use them?

Directions for effective use will depend on the specific formula, so always read the label! Clean first, then disinfect, focusing on frequently-touched surfaces. For many Quat products you’ll need to let the surface stay wet with the disinfectant for the full contact time noted in the instructions on the bottle. Get more advice on our Disinfecting and Disinfectants page.

What else can you tell me about Quats?

Have we piqued your interest? We have a whole “Frequently Asked Questions” page on this common disinfectant ingredient that shares how they’re tested and regulated and how to find products (with and without Quats) that can kill the virus that causes COVID-19 on surfaces. Check it out!

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