Quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are antimicrobial pesticides that control viruses, bacteria, and other germs on surfaces. They also have non-pesticidal uses in medical and cosmetic products. They work by breaking open the membranes of bacteria and outer coatings of viruses. Breaking the membrane causes cell death. The length of time it takes to kill germs depends on the quat and its concentration.
Quats are used in residential and professional settings like hospitals, schools, and other institutions. Quats can irritate or damage the skin and eyes, especially when they are concentrated. Always read and follow the label directions when using antimicrobials or disinfectants.
If you have questions about this, or any pesticide-related topic, please call NPIC at 800-858-7378 (8:00am - 12:00pm PST), or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.