Disinfectants (Sanitizers)

Disinfection Protection

Means No Bug Infection

Sanitizer Test Strips

Choose from 21 Indigo® test strips for your specific disinfection & sanitizing needs. All come with 100 test strips/vial and a minimum guaranteed 3 year shelf life. Full documentation provided on-line including Certificates of Analysis & Stability & SDS Statements; Certificates of Conformance are available on request. Optional next day delivery in any quantity of most items.

Buy Indigo® test strips, the brand you can trust for accuracy & technical support. Call us on our toll free line for immediate assistance or e-mail us with your questions. 1 hour response is typical during business hours, M-F, slightly longer on weekends.

Indigo® Disinfectant & Sanitizer Test Strips

Indigo® test strips for chemical sanitizers & disinfectants are essential tools in the control of infectious agents. They are approved for food & non-food contact surfaces such as handrails, dishes & cutlery in restaurants, hospitals, daycare, cruise ships and much more. Whether you need residual level sensitivity or high level for more robust applications, we have what you need.

Disinfectant strengths need to be high enough so effectiveness is not compromised by organic matter such as blood, sputum and feces while not having toxic health effects in the event of human exposure by accidental ingestion.

Use our test strips to confirm dilutions of chlorine, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, peracetic acid and quaternary ammonium compounds (quats) are correct for residual to higher levels.

Disinfectant chemical structure models

Disinfectant chemical structure models from Indigo® Instruments.
Counterclockwise, from top: benzalkonium; hypochlorite; hydrogen peroxide; chlorine dioxide; peracetic acid.
Our 3D Molecular Model Builder can also render hypobromous acid, hypoiodous acid, inorganic chloramines, etc.

Indigo® sanitizer & disinfectant test strips are available in all ranges needed to confirm the correct dilution of typical commercially available disinfectant chemicals.

  1. Chlorine (hypochlorite) & Iodine: 6 ranges for chlorine, 1 iodine
  2. Chlorine Dioxide: 2 ranges
  3. Hydrogen Peroxide: 4 ranges
  4. Peracetic Acid: 4 ranges
  5. Quaternary Ammonium Chloride: 4 ranges

Note (1): Chlorine & iodine sanitizer test papers that come in clear vials have a 5 year minimum shelf life. The rest come in white plastic bottles lined with desiccant for water vapor adsorption. These come with a minimum guaranteed 3 year expiration.
Note (2): Chlorine bleach test strips in desiccant bottles measure free available chlorine. The vial version measures total chlorine.
Note (3): QACs are all multi QUAT test strips


Sanitization vs Disinfection

These terms are often used interchangeably but in practice they are different. Disinfectants usually have greater efficacy against pathogens while most sanitizers target bacteria that cause foodborne illness. Disinfectants generally have broader killing capability to meet the needs of healthcare and education settings.

Sanitizers will reduce the number of Staphylococcus aureus and either Klebsiella pneumoniae or Enterobacter aerogenes bacteria by a factor of 10-3 or 99.9% but does not eliminate them. This is considered adequate for surfaces such as dishes, utensils, cutting boards, high chair trays as well as pacifiers & toys that children might put in their mouths.

Disinfectant chemicals can often be the same as sanitizers but are used at higher strength to ensure they will kill or inactivate bacteria, fungi and viruses or require a much longer exposure time. Using the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) definition, they can be a “substance, or mixture of substances, that destroys or irreversibly inactivates bacteria, fungi and viruses, but not necessarily their spores"

This greater effectiveness is desired for hard surfaces where the chance of transmitting the germ to others is likely. This can include diaper change tables, counter tops, door & cabinet handles, and toilets and other bathroom surfaces. Ideally, the disinfectant will leave an antimicrobial film where residual concentrations will have a long term effect.

Disinfectants should be odorless or have a pleasant odor and be economical to use routinely. This generally means they are available as concentrates that can be diluted in water and are stable for extended periods.

Consult your State & Local Health or EPA Regulations or CDC for the appropriate commercial test kits for your specific health risks.

More Information

General Disinfectant/Sanitizer Test Strip Specifications

  • fast response time-immediate to 20 seconds for most
  • easy to read, accurate color charts
  • white backing ensures best contrast color chart comparisons
  • stiff plastic support for dipping into tubes, gaps, etc.
  • 3 year minimum shelf life if kept tightly closed
  • Certificates of Conformance, Stability Statements & SDS data sheets on-line; Certificates of Analysis available on request.


Sanitizer/Disinfectant Test Strip Use Blogs


Lab Quantitative vs Semiquantitative Test Strip Results

Test strips are a fast & cheap way quick to ensure sanitizer/disinfectant chemicals are within the 10% accuracy (semiquantitative) range their intended use calls for. More expensive analytical methods such as gas & liquid chromatography, atomic absorption, mass spectrometry, cyclic voltammetry, titration, etc. are needed for accurate quantitative measurements that exceed the 0.5 mg/L to 1 mg/L (0.5 to 1 ppm) limits of the most sensitive test strips.

This limitation needs to be taken account when applied to routine field testing procedures. Regulations that call for 10ppm (10 mg/L) or less for quats & sulfites for example cannot be met with test strips. However, these guidelines are based on the amount of sulfite or quat dissolved in a 100mL sample. The amount found in a thin layer on a potato or knife or cutting board may have a sample size on the order of several µL which works out to parts per billion. Read our blog, Can 10ppm of Sulfite & Quat Really Mean Zero which explains this further.

Another issue can be expiration dates. 0-200ppm chlorine test papers or 0-50ppm iodine use the potassium iodide method and never go bad, We do include an expiration date on these but solely for stock rotation purposes. More complex test strips are packaged in desiccant lined bottles to extend shelf life & come with a guaranteed 3 year shelf life. However, time is not the real determining factor, so we wrote Test Strip Expiration Dates; Good Today, Dead Tomorrow? to explain further. Bottom line, don't toss out what may be perfectly good test strips based on dates alone.

Most people do their dilutions based on Americans units of teaspoons, tablespoons, cups, quarts & gallons. Actual government standards for concentration-dilution are all calculated in metric units though. So, if you know that 1 part per million (1 ppm) is the same as 1 mg/L or 0.001%, you can use our calculator to dilute your disinfectant chemicals or confirm your test strips are still good, no matter how old they are. If you have access to accurate volume measuring glassware such as a graduated cylinder & your chemical supplier provides you with a dated Certificate of Analysis, you can confidently prepare a calibration solution to check your test strips against. We go into more detail in another blog: Diluting Chlorine, Peroxide or Quat Sanitizers is Easy

Pros & Cons of Popular Disinfectants/Sanitizers

Chlorine and quaternary ammonium disinfectants sanitizers are by far the most popular in food preparation & general healthcare settings. The table below lists their pros & cons. Hydrogen peroxide use is more specialized for things like hot tubs, float tanks and contact lens cleaners where skin/eye sensitivity can be an issue.

Chlorine (sodium hypochlorite)


  • Effective on a wide variety of bacteria
  • Not affected by hard water
  • Generally inexpensive


  • Can be corrosive to stainless steel & other metals
  • Can be irritating to the skin
  • Deteriorates over time
  • Loses some activity in the presence of organic matter




  • Not affected by hard water
  • Less irritating to the skin than chlorine
  • Activity is not lost rapidly in the presence of organic matter


  • Effectiveness decreases greatly with increase in pH
  • Should not be used in water > 50°C
  • May also discolor equipment and surfaces


Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QAC)


  • Nontoxic, odorless, colorless, noncorrosive, nonirritating
  • Reatively stable in the presence of organic matter
  • Active over a wide pH range


  • Slower at killing some microorganisms
  • Not compatible with some detergents
  • Not compatible with hard water


Hydrogen Peroxide


  • Safer than Peracidic Acid
  • No disinfection by-products - trihalomethanes
  • Excellent Oxidizer


  • Surface Residue
  • Doesn't work instantly - needs time to work properly
  • Not as good at sterilization


Peracetic Acid


  • no toxic residues, rinsing not needed
  • works well at freezer/cooler temperatures, good for meat processors
  • potential use with medical devices


  • corrosive to eyes, skin, respiratory tract
  • strong oxidizer reacts with metals as brass, copper, iron & zinc


Chlorine Dioxide


  • Used at Low Concentrations
  • Low Reactivity with Organic Matter
  • Little Disinfection Byproducts are Formed
  • Effective Bacterial Disinfectant
  • Deactivates Chlorine-resistant Pathogens


  • Unstable Substance
  • Sufficient Ventilation Required
  • Irritates eyes, skin, lungs

Concentrated Disinfectant Handling

Properly diluted disinfectants are generally safe to handle although protective goggles & gloves are never a bad idea. However, concentrated chemicals such as sodium hypochlorite, food grade hydrogen peroxide (35%), etc. are hazardous. Wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) is recommended when diluting these concentrates.

To be effective, sanitization & disinfection require an initial cleaning to remove food residues. Organics such as oil & protein can harbor bacteria & prevent physical contact & even inactivation of your sanitizer/disinfectant.