Formula H2O2: Taking the Lead in Disinfection against C. diff.

Author: Richard Kosturko

Categories: C. difficile & Surface Disinfection August 11, 2020
h202-chemistry-blog 8.12.2020

A little history: In 1818, French Chemist Louis Jacques Thénard, discovered hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a strong oxidant that has had many uses through history — a bleaching agent for paper and textiles, a rocket propellant and, of particular interest to the healthcare community, a disinfecting agent [1][2]. In 1977, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered the first hydrogen peroxide pesticide product for disinfecting surfaces[3].

The Chemistry: In acidic solutions, hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizer, stronger than chlorine.  Hydrogen peroxide is effective against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses.

Chemical structure of hydrogen peroxide

With careful formulation considerations, it is also efficacious against spores.  It acts as a germicide by producing destructive hydroxyl free radicals that attack a pathogen’s membrane lipids, proteins, DNA and other essential cell components [4][5].

The Benefit over Bleach: One of the key advantages of hydrogen peroxide over bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is that it has a more favorable compatibility profile with most materials commonly used in healthcare environments, particularly with stainless steel.

Alkaline oxidizing salts, such as sodium hypochlorite, are among the most corrosive salts [6].  When a surface disinfected with sodium hypochlorite dries, it leaves behind a residue of sodium salt which can be quite noticeable on certain surfaces.  Hydrogen peroxide-based formulas do not leave undesirable residues on surfaces, eliminating additional cleaning steps.  Additionally, hydrogen peroxide degrades into environmentally innocuous water and oxygen.

Decomposition of hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide degradation is hastened by exposure to light, heat, pH and the presence of metals such as copper, manganese and iron [7].  Therefore, when developing a stable and efficacious hydrogen peroxide-based disinfectant, careful consideration must be given to the selection of formula components, packaging materials and manufacturing equipment and conditions.

Our Solution: PDI’s Sani-HyPerCide™ Germicidal disinfectant:

  • Contains 4.04% hydrogen peroxide,
  • Buffering system maintains the formula pH at a level to ensure product efficacy
  • Stabilizing agent offsets the presence of any impurities that could compromise the stability of the formula.
  • Delivers a one-minute contact time against key epidemiologically-relevant organisms responsible for healthcare-associated infections (HAIs)
  • Addresses Clostridioides difficile which standard hydrogen peroxide formulations cannot do without leaving behind unsightly residue like bleach formulations would.
  • Statistically* performs better than competitor hydrogen peroxide-based products in cleaning efficiency.

Powering Through a Pandemic: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updated their recommendations for EPA-registered disinfectants to refer to the EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID 19). Sani-HyPerCide Germicidal Disinfectants are included on List N .

Request more information from your PDI Rep and visit the product listing!

*PDI data on file. ASTM D4488-A5. October 11, 2018.

  1. Block, Seymour S., ed. (2000). “Chapter 9: Peroxygen compounds”. Disinfection, sterilization, and preservation(5th ed.). Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger. pp. 185–204. 
  2. “Chemical Disinfectants | Disinfection & Sterilization Guidelines | Guidelines Library | Infection Control | CDC”. 4 April 2019.
  3. Hydrogen peroxide (Hydrogen dioxide) (000595) Fact Sheet
  4. Rutala WA, Gergen MF, Weber DJ. Sporicidal activity of chemical sterilants used in hospitals. Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 1993;14:713-8.
  5. Block SS. Peroxygen compounds. In: Block SS, ed. Disinfection, sterilization, and preservation. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001:185-204.
  6. Stainless Steels. (1994). United States: ASM International. p.163
  7. Yujun Sun, Michael Fenster, Annie Yu, Richard M. Berry, and Dimitris S. Argyropoulos. The effect of metal ions on the reaction of hydrogen peroxide with Kraft lignin model compounds.  Can. J. Chem. 77: 667–675 (1999).


Richard Kosturko
Rich K August 11 2020 Principal Scientist, R&D, Environment of Care