Quats – (QAC)

Quaternary Ammonium Chlorides or “quats” as they are commonly known are based upon the active ingredient benzalkonium chloride. These quaternary salt compounds can be formulated with a variety of ingredients to provide a safe and effective neutral pH, disinfectant-cleaner without damaging surfaces.

Mode of Action – Quat-based disinfectants carry a positive charge. Bacteria, viruses and fungi carry a negative charge. When a bacteria-laden surface is sprayed or wiped with a disinfectant, the charge distribution of the bacteria cell changes from negative to positive. This results in the disruption of the bacteria cell wall and eventual death to the microbe.  * Important when using quats. - See “DETERGENT-SANITIZER INTERACTIONSbelow.

The 4th generation of quaternary compounds used today are made by combining the twin chain quats with the earlier ADBAC quats. These newest quats remain active under most conditions but with almost 50% fewer active chemical ingredients than ADBACs alone. Additionally, they promised lower toxicity, improved convenience, and greater economy.

Hard water has long been considered a major problem facing disinfectants. Whether a phenolic, a quat ,or an iodophor, the metallic ions in hard water bond to disinfectants reducing their biocidal activity. Modern quats, however, are capable of withstanding water of up to 90 grains of hardness. Newer synergous, low-alcohol formulations are highly effective broad-spectrum disinfectants with quick contact times (3–5 minutes) against bacteria, enveloped viruses, pathogenic fungi, and mycobacteria. Quats are biocides that also kill algae and are used as an additive in large-scale industrial water systems to minimize undesired biological growth. But new versions of quaternary ammonium are getting better but should not be relied upon to kill gram-negative bacteria unless specifically certified to do so.

Advantages - quaternary ammonium disinfectants  don't damage clothing and they are non-corrosive to metal pipes and other surfaces. Although in its diluted form quaternary ammonium is considered to be safe enough to use without extraordinary precautions like masks, goggles and gloves, it can cause burns to the skin and mucous membranes in its non-diluted form. They also leave a non-volatile residue on surfaces to which they are applied, rendering the surfaces bacteriastatic for a given time.

Disadvantages - When quaternary ammonium is mixed with organic matter it loses its effectiveness. This makes it an ineffective disinfectant in situations where blood, urine, fecal matter or soil may be present. It also loses effectiveness in solution with hard water and is deactivated by soap or other anionic detergents and cotton. So cloths or towels made of cotton should not be used to wipe on QAC’s.



Most cleaning products contain either non-ionic surfactants (emulsifiers and detergents), anionic surfactants or a mixture of both in their composition. In solution, non ionic surfactants are electrically neutral, but anionic surfactants carry a negative charge within their structure. When detergent is applied to a soiled vertical surface the bulk of product runs of within 15 to 20 minutes. However, a small but finite amount of detergent remains on the surface and contains some of the anionic surfactant which was present in solution originally applied to the surface. If the surface is not thoroughly rinsed prior to the application of a quat sanitizer, the sanitizer can be totally inactivated. In solution, quats are positively charged and can therefore combine readily with the negatively charged anionic residue and become totally inactivated.

http://jifsan.umd.edu/pdf/gaqps_en/Section9.Effective_Cleaning_and_Sanitizing_Procedures.pdf ,


Listed below are a few of the QAC based cleaner/ sanitizes used by gtp keepers. There are several brand names of this disinfectant and they may work better than other QACs’. Like the Chlorhexidine products, they have added chemicals such as biguanides or others, to make them more effective.

Maxima256 – Based off of quaternary ammonium compounds.

1 gallon around $30 - $40

Quatricide PV-15 - Based off of quaternary ammonium compounds.

1 gallon around $25.00 gallon

Roccal D Plus – Based off of quaternary ammonium compounds

1 gallon around  $115.00

F10 – Based off of quaternary ammonium compounds

6.8 oz – around $25
1.06 quart – around $100.00

Last Edited By: Matt Morris and David Newman Oct 24 15 2:04 PM. Edited 3 times.