What are disinfectants?

The only true method to prevent the spread of contagious or epidemic diseases is thorough cleanliness. Abundance of air to dilate the poison, and the removal of organic liberal use of water or soap and water, are effectual. Lime acts by destroying organic matter and absorbing certain offensive gases. Hence the use of whitewashing. Sulphurous acid checks organic change or fermentation. A high temperature, say 240 Fahr., is useful in disinfecting clothes, letters, etc. Condy's Solution acts by destroying organic matter; solutions of chloride of zinc, corrosive sublimate, persulphate or perchloride of iron act by coagulating certain organic matters and preventing further decay; they also absorb sulphuretted hydrogen. Chloride of lime (bleaching salt), chlorine, nitrate of lead, and copperas are merely deodorizers. Pastils (see PERFUMERY), burned sugar vinegar, and burning tar, merely disguise offensive odors.

_Condy's Solution._

A saturated solution of permanganate of potassa is one of the most efficient and elegant of all disinfectants. A teaspoonful in a soup-plate of water, exposed in a room, quickly removes any offensive smell; when the pink color disappears more must be added. It has been used to remove the smell of bilge-water and guano from ships. It speedily cleanses foul water and makes it drinkable. A teaspoonful to a hogshead is generally enough, but more may be added, until the water retains a slight pinkish tint. This will disappear, by putting a stick into the water for a few minutes.

_Ledoyen's Solution._

Litharge, 13 1/2 oz.; nitric acid, s. g. 1.38, 12 oz., previously diluted with water, 6 pts. It contains nitrate of lead, and is merely a deodorizer.


Free chlorine is seldom used, on acount of its offensive and suffocating qualities.

Chloride of lime contains hypochlorite of lime and chloride of calcium and lime. It is made into a paste with water; acids cause it to evolve chlorine.

Eau de Javelle is made by adding to chloride of lime 1 part, water 16 parts and agitate at intervals for an hour, then dissolve 2 oz. carbonate of potassa in 1/4 pint water. Mix the solutions, and when the mixture has settled pour off the clear part. Or, by passing a stream of chlorine through a solution of carbonate of potassa to saturation. It contains hypochlorite of potassa and chloride of potassium.

_Labarraque's Solution._

Pass chlorine through a solution of carbonate of soda (1 lb. in water 1 qt.) to saturation; or, to a mixture of chloride of lime 1/2 lb., and water 3 pints, add 7 oz. crystallized carbonate of soda, in 1 pt. of water. Proceed in all respects as for Eau de Javelle. These solutions will remove fruit-stains from linen.

_Iron Compounds._

Perchloride of Iron is made by dissolving iron in muriatic acid, and while boiling add nitric acid as long as red fumes are evolved. It is a powerful styptic.

Monsel's Solution, subsulphate of iron, is made by dissolving copperas 12 oz. (troy), in water 12 oz., adding sulphuric acid 510 grs., and then while boiling adding nitric acid as long as red fumes come off. It is much used as a styptic and astringent, and is a cheap and powerful deodorizer. Copperas mixed with 1/2 its weight of lime is a cheap and popular agent in deodorizing sinks.

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