Difference Between Antiseptic and Disinfectants

Antiseptics and disinfectants use similar chemical compounds and layman usually gets confused between both the terms. Well, there’s a distinct difference between the two products.

Antiseptic is applied to the living organism or body to reduce microbial growth. They are generally used for hand washing, treating skin infections, sterilization of the skin under operation, and treating mouth infections, among others. In the case of disinfectant, it is usually applied to the non-living body. For instance, when a person wants to ensure that the environment or surrounding is hygienic, they apply disinfectant at a particular area to provide complete safety from microbial growth or viruses.

The bottom line is that both the products kill the bacteria. Even though antiseptics and disinfectants have similar chemical compounds but they have different ingredients which makes them interchangeable. For example, disinfectants have corrosive chemicals which make them unsuitable for skin use. Both of them are available in sprays, gels, ointments, and liquids which creates a wide market and various untapped opportunities for the industry players.

Antiseptics and disinfectants have become a crucial part of the consumers’ lifestyle. They have been successful to gain a prime place in the home and hospitals. Various companies are expanding their product portfolio into the antiseptics and disinfectants market and are striving to gain a stronghold in the industry.

Types of Antiseptics & Disinfectants Used in the Market

The type of antiseptic and disinfectants that are usually used in the market are:
  • Quaternary ammonia compounds (Quats)

In 2019, quaternary ammonia compounds segment accounted for the largest market share in the antiseptics and disinfectants market. They have a strong oxidizing agent which makes it the most effective compound for the disinfectant use. It’s one of the most preferred disinfectants used in hospitals, restaurants, and homes.

This chemical compound is certified as pesticides by EPA. However, certain studies claim that it can cause side effects if used in homes. According to industry experts, they cause asthma and breathing problems while a study claims that the overuse of quats can create superbugs. Nevertheless, they are expected to witness strong growth in the coming years.
  • Alcohols & Aldehyde compounds
Alcohol can be said to be the first-ever used antiseptic and disinfectant. In the 13th century, surgeons recommended using dressing dipped in wine to prevent the spread of pus in the wounded area. Fast forward today, it has been widely accepted as the sanitizing agent. Most of the industry players are using ethyl and isopropyl alcohol for use. Moreover, the usage of the same in the sanitizers have created a competitive scenario in the year 2020.
  • Chlorine compounds
Chlorine compounds are inexpensive as compared to others; however, if used in excess, it can contaminate the particular area. They are typically used as a disinfectant while it becomes inactivated with the usage of organic matter. This, in turn, reduces the biocidal activity. This chemical compound is usually poured in water for disinfection.
  • Antibacterial dyes
Antibacterial dyes are used to treat skin infections. Various researchers are working on the development of this compound. For instance, in April 2016, researchers at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) developed an antibacterial dye named Violacein that prevents the growth of bacteria which includes anti-biotic resistant bacteria.
  • Peroxides
Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is used as an antiseptic to prevent the infection from mild cuts, burns, and other wounds. This chemical compound has been widely used as an antimicrobial chemical since the 1920s. It is also used as an effective disinfectant in the industry. According to market research, this segment is anticipated to exhibit a CAGR of 6% by the end of the year 2026.
  • Phenol and quinolone derivatives
Phenol (Carbolic acid) is an antimicrobial agent that prevents the growth of bacteria and can be used as an antiseptic and disinfectant. However, owing to its corrosive property, it has slowly reduced its market share in the antiseptic market. They are now one of the staples in the home cleaning activities. Various industry players are adding antibacterial agents in their active ingredients to leverage their product position in the market.
  • Chloroxylenol
Popular brand Dettol has been using chloroxylenol as a disinfectant and antiseptics for many years. It is used as a substitute of phenol compounds. Its applications are found in the cleansing of surgical instruments, wound-cleansing, and household antiseptic products.

Government Regulations and Policies

Various government bodies are regulating the use of antiseptic and disinfectant chemical compounds to confer safe usage among consumers. According to the data published on Healthline, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned around 24 ingredients in OTC antiseptics owing to the lack of evidence regarding their safety. The rule of banning these ingredients came into effect in December 2018.

Manufacturers are ensuring that they’re not using triclosan as an active ingredient in hand hygiene products. Recently, the regulatory body of hand-sanitizers announced that the manufacturers do not need a sales and stocking license which has created a relief among industry players.

5 Antiseptic & Disinfectant Market Trends

As per the detailed report published by Growth Market Reports, the global antiseptic and disinfectant market size was around USD 9.4 Billion in 2019 and is expected to reach the USD 17.8 Billion by the year 2027, expanding at a CAGR of at least 8% during the forecast period 2020-2027.
  1. COVID-19 Effect

The Healthcare industry is one of the industries that’s witnessing strong growth amidst the coronavirus outbreak. The unprecedented demand for facemasks, ventilators, and sanitizers have overhauled the industry and provided lucrative opportunities to various companies.

Coronavirus has created the responsibility of maintaining hygiene among the population. Various brands are betting on this market which has eventually created a healthy competition in the retail market.Amidst the pandemic, hospitals are ensuring the frequent usage of disinfectants and antiseptics to protect the patient and doctors from the virus. Furthermore, consumers are buying disinfectant sprays and wipes to clean or kill the virus/bacteria. Companies are struggling to meet the growing demand owing to the unavailability of raw materials which can create hindrance in the growth of the market.
  1. Increasing number of surgeries

The rising geriatric population has increased the number of surgeries across the globe. Moreover, the rising number of accidents and increasing incidence of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes have surged the number of surgeries globally. According to the data published in 2015, around 313 surgeries are undertaken annually and this number is expected to witness steady growth in the coming years. Another data from the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Surgical Site Infection Surveillance states that around 11% of deaths were reported from surgical site infections.

Hospitals are ensuring that their surgical instruments are sterilized before the procedure. The report published on the National Institute of Health, states that there around 27.88 million endoscopic procedures are performed annually. Meanwhile, an increasing number of heart surgeries have increased the use of disinfectants and antiseptics in hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).
  1. Rising incidence of hospital-acquired infections (HACs)

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), around 1.1 million patients in America are afflicted with HACs while 99K dies from the same, annually. Among the infected patients, 32% of them are acquired with urinary tract infections. Therefore, to reduce this percentage, hospitals are taking care that the medical devices, infrastructure, and instruments are disinfected. Moreover, the frequent usage of hand rub from doctors and other staff has increased the usage of antiseptics in the healthcare facilities.

The use of antiseptics and disinfectants protects hospitals from contamination. Thus, to decline the rate of HACs, government bodies are creating awareness campaigns to ensure that from small to large hospitals undertake safety precautions.
  1. Surging healthcare expenditure

State government bodies are releasing funds to reduce the burden on the healthcare system. This has surged the investment in the local government hospitals, particularly in low-income countries. The global industry players are striving to grab these lucrative opportunities by providing them the products at the cost-effective rates.

The rising prevalence of chronic diseases and improving healthcare insurance plans have increased hospital admissions in recent years. However, the rising growth of the telehealth market can change the market scenario.
  1. Rising prevalence of viruses across the globe

The increasing prevalence of Zika Virus, H1N1, and coronavirus is already creating a toll on the world. Therefore, to create a potential shield from various viruses, consumers are expected to continue the usage of disinfectants in household and commercial places. This, in turn, is anticipated to fuel the demand for disinfectants in the coming years.

5 Leading Companies in the Antiseptic and Disinfectant Market

  1. 3M

3M is an American multinational company that has a wide range of antiseptic solutions for consumers. This company has not limited itself to the production of antiseptic products but also has a wide range of disinfectant solutions. 3M launched its disinfectant spray named 3M™ TB Quat which claims to kill 99.9% of germs and household bacteria. Moreover, it introduced disinfectant cleaner RCT concentrate which claims to kill pathogenic bacteria of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) concern.

Earlier, the company launched the Avagard line of hand hygiene products which is witnessing a huge demand across the globe. According to the Economic Times, 3M encountered a 20% spike in the demand for sanitizers and masks. In October 2019, the 118 years old company acquired Acelity, Inc. and its KCI subsidiaries. This, in turn, has increased its market share.
  1. Procter & Gamble (P&G)

The United States-based company has introduced an array of personal care products in the market. In February 2020, P&G announced the launch of Microban 24, a line of sanitizing products that kills the bacteria in 24 hours. The product is available in sanitizing spray, multi-purpose cleaner spray, and also as a bathroom cleaner. According to the P&Gs spokesperson, its products “have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to Covid-19 on hard, non-porous surfaces.”

Recently, the company launched its CleanPLUS Experience program which provides P&G cleaning products to hotels, restaurants, and other businesses. Dunkin, an American coffee and doughnut company, has become one of the early adopted of their program. The company has leveraged its brand name to provide this experience. According to the survey held by the company, 70% of the travelers and diners step into space if they are using cleaning products that they knew and are trusted.
  1. Reckitt Benckiser (RB)

RB is a UK based company that is known for its popular brand Dettol and Lysol. The company sells surface disinfectants, antiseptics liquid, hand sanitizers, and soaps, among others. In March 2020, the company launched a hygiene campaign named “Surakshit Parivar” in India. Besides India, it has been successful to acquire a huge market share in China.

In December 2019, RB launched Dettol disinfectant spray and also ran a campaign named #CleanIsNotGermFree to promote its product. Talking about its campaigns, the company has launched a series of campaigns to promote its products which include #HandWashChallenge on TikTok. In the recent earnings call, Laxman Narasimhan, global CEO of consumer goods RB, revealed that their Dettol soap bar has become the number one soap in India.
  1. Johnson & Johnson (J&J)

J&J is a prominent industry player who provides antiseptic products in the market. The company’s Band-Aid brand has launched HURT-FREE® antiseptic wash which relieves the person from the cuts, burns, and scrapes pain. It is usually used for household uses. Over the years, the company has expanded its product portfolio in baby care products, medical devices, and antiseptics solutions. In June 2018, J&J announced that it is acquiring Advanced Sterilization Products (ASP), a division of Ethicon, Inc.

For several years, the multinational company is known for its bandages. Thus, to create awareness about racism and fight against it, J&J is launching Band-Aid in several shades. In a recent Instagram post, the company wrote “We are committed to launching a range of bandages in light, medium and deep shades of Brown and Black skin tones that embrace the beauty of diverse skin.”
  1. Cardinal Health

Cardinal Health offers surgical and medical products over 100,000 locations. Along with this, it provides antiseptics and cleaning supplies to its clients. Their product list includes chlorhexidine gluconate (for hand scrub and preoperative skin preparation), hydrogen peroxide (minor cuts), and 70% isopropyl alcohol (prevent skin infection), among others.

In May 2019, the company entered the surgical scrubs market with the introduction of a new line of products for the operating room. While in 2018, it introduced a supply chain solution to address the challenges in the hospitals.

Other prominent companies include Bio-Cide International, Cantel Health, Novartis AG, and Kimberly-Clark Corporation. Various companies are focusing on introducing innovative products in the market while targeting local consumers. Moreover, they’re partnering with parallel companies to expand their market share.

Antiseptic & Disinfectant Market Regional Analysis

  • North American & European Region

In 2019, the market in the North American region accounted for the largest market share and is expected to grow at a robust rate during the forecast period. The presence of major industry players and rising number of surgeries is driving the growth of this market region. Along with this, the increasing cases of HAIs is mandating the usage of disinfectants. Moreover, the rising trend of using disinfectants for household purposes is fueling the growth of the market.

Followed by the above-mentioned region, the market in the European market is expected to grow at a substantial rate in the foreseeable future. The increasing number of government campaigns and growing awareness among the consumers is expected to fuel the demand for surface disinfectants, enzyme cleaners, and disinfectant wipes, among others.
  • Asia Pacific region

The market in the Asia Pacific region is expected to exhibit a higher CAGR during the forecast period. Emerging economies such as India and China is speculated to be the major consumer of antiseptic and disinfectant products. Various industry players are intensively targeting these two companies owing to the large population. 

Improving healthcare plans and infrastructure is expected to increase the number of surgeries in the coming years. Furthermore, the rising prevalence of chronic diseases and the surging geriatric population is predicted to spur the growth of this market region.
The new entrants and emerging players living in India and China are anticipated to gain a lucrative opportunity owing to the government campaigns to support local businesses. For instance, India’s government campaign “Vocal for Local” created awareness among consumers to buy ‘Made in India’ products.
  • The Middle East & Africa and Latin American region

The Middle East & African and Latin American countries are expected to witness moderate growth in the forecast period. Amidst the virus outbreak, government bodies have taken initiatives to increase the awareness among the consumers’ which is predicted to boost the sales in these two market regions. Meanwhile, these two markets hold various untapped opportunities which once identified can create ample opportunities for the industry players.

Bottom Line

The antiseptic and disinfectant market is anticipated to owe investors with high ROI if industry players focus on creative business strategies and product marketing. Various companies are entering this market while the strong brand image and cost-effective solutions are aiding the growth of the player in this market.