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Biosafety: Summary of Disinfectants

Consult the Summary of Disinfectants charts for recommended disinfectants and their uses and requirements.

This chart contains a summary of disinfectants for surface decontamination. When selecting a disinfectant, consider factors including the agent to be disinfected and material compatibility.  Always use disinfectants in accordance with the directions on the label. Remember that disinfectant efficacy can be impacted by environmental factors (light exposure, humidity, temperature) and age of the diluted and stock solution. For example, 10% bleach solutions used for surface disinfection should be made fresh, stored away from light, and discarded after a maximum of seven days. Never use chemical disinfectants after the marked expiration date.

Note: The chart below provides guidelines for surface decontamination only.

For chemical disinfection of liquid biohazardous waste, the only university-wide approved disinfectant for UC San Diego is bleach (1 part bleach to 9 parts liquid waste, 30 minute contact time, followed by sewering). If your laboratory wishes to inquire about the use of alternative disinfectants to inactivate liquid biohazardous waste, please send an email with the following information:

  • Material to be disinfected
  • Chemical to be used
  • Concentration of chemical
  • Contact time
  • Disposal method (sewering, hazardous waste pickup)

You will receive a response within five (5) working days regarding approval.

Important: These charts are intended for use by the University of California San Diego researchers only. Standards and requirements may differ at other institutions and businesses.

For questions about selecting an appropriate disinfectant, please email