How to Choose the Best Products for Cruise Ship Sanitization

How to Choose the Best Products for Cruise Ship Sanitization

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a considerable impact on global public health and sanitization. While the primary mode of transmission is through person to person, it is also possible that contaminated surfaces can contribute to the spread. Because of this possibility, the use of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting products for surfaces has skyrocketed.

Check out our recent article, The Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting, to learn how these products differ and when they should be used.

The increasing number of sanitizers and disinfectants on the market can make it difficult to choose the right cleaning products. However, understanding the advantages and disadvantages of the various antimicrobial active ingredients currently on the market can help you make an informed decision. While choosing cheaper chemical options in the short term may save costs up front, this decision could lead to increased costs over time due to poor product performance. In this article, we will explore these various active ingredients as well as their benefits and drawbacks.

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs; often called “quats” for short) are a large class of compounds. They are among the most frequently encountered active ingredients in food contact sanitizers. Their advantages and disadvantages can be found below.


  • Long shelf life and stability
  • Low cost of use
  • Favorable compatibility with many materials


  • Relative sensitivity to hard water and some soils
  • Potential for residue and build-up on surfaces
  • Limited performance against certain classes of microorganisms
  • Susceptible to a phenomenon known as “quat-binding,” where the wiping cloth used absorbs the quat molecules and neutralizes their antimicrobial properties


Chlorine has long been known for its antimicrobial properties. These are directly related to its ability to act as an oxidizing agent. The oxidative process breaks down vital components of a microorganism. This also disrupts critical internal enzymatic and metabolic processes. Its advantages and disadvantages can be found below.


  • Low cost of use
  • Broad spectrum of activity


  • Relatively short shelf life
  • Corrosiveness
  • High reactivity with many chemicals, especially at higher concentrations that could pose a worker safety hazard

Alcohol – a novel active ingredient in food handling settings

While it is widely used in healthcare settings, using alcohol as an active ingredient to sanitize surfaces used in food preparation has only emerged in the last five to ten years. The advantages and disadvantages of alcohol as an ingredient can be found below.


  • Broad spectrum of activity
  • Rapid efficacy against microorganisms with membrane components
  • Compatible with most surfaces; leaves minimal residue behind
  • Relatively stable


  • Precautions required when stored and used around open flames
  • Some formulations may be less effective against certain types of microorganisms

What to look for when choosing a sanitizer or disinfectant:

  1. Ease of use
  2. Rapid kill times for organisms of concern
  3. Favorable safety and surface compatibility profile

GOJO will be exhibiting in the Health & Hygiene Zone at Cruise Ship Hospitality Expo America (CSH). Hosting innovative suppliers, a free to attend conference and unrivalled networking events, CSH is the ultimate reunion for the cruise hospitality community. Find out more about this action-packed event here.

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