8.1 Definitions

  • Antimicrobial - An agent that kills microorganisms or suppresses their growth and multiplication.
  • Antiseptic - A substance that inhibits the growth and development of microorganisms without necessarily killing them. Antiseptics are usually applied on body surfaces.
  • Biocide - A general term for any agent that kills unicellular and multicellular organisms.
  • Chemical germicide - A chemical or a mixture of chemicals used to kill microorganisms.
  • Decontamination - Any process for removing and/or killing microorganisms. The same term is also used for removing or neutralizing hazardous chemicals and radioactive materials.
  • Disinfectant - A chemical or mixture of chemicals used to kill microorganisms, but not necessarily their spores. Disinfectants are usually applied on inanimate surfaces or objects.
  • Disinfection - A physical or chemical means of killing microorganisms, but not necessarily their spores.
  • Microbicide - A chemical or mixture of chemicals that kills microorganisms. The term is often used in place of “biocide”, “germicide” or “antimicrobial”.
  • Sterilization - A process that destroys and/or removes all classes of microorganisms and their spores.