Researchers say that all commercial disinfectants may not be effective in cleansing noroviruses, a group of viruses that are behind half of all foodborne gastroenteritis diseases.
They suggest that only bleach-based disinfectants can fight the concentration of these viruses.
Universiti Laval researchers claim some 40 percent of the disinfectants are ineffective against noroviruses.
Noroviruses spread directly via contact with infected persons or indirectly through contaminated objects, foods, or surfaces.
The effectiveness of disinfectants used to clean surfaces at home or at businesses in the food sector is therefore crucial for limiting the spread of these viruses.
A team led by Julie Jean, professor at the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, tested the efficacy of three major categories of household disinfectants in eliminating noroviruses: bleach-based products, alcohol-based products, and quaternary ammonium-based products.
Lab tests found that five minutes of contact with a bleach-based disinfectant reduced the concentration of noroviruses on a stainless steel surface by a factor of 1,000, while alcohol- and quaternary ammonium-based products proved 100 times less effective.
Jean said: "Our results are of particular concern considering that some 40 percent of the commercial surface disinfectants on the market are alcohol or ammonium based."
The study also found that it takes only ten minutes for human noroviruses to firmly latch on to a stainless steel surface.
Jean concluded: "Once attached, these viruses can survive for weeks and potentially contaminate anyone who touches them. And it's highly probable that our findings on stainless steel surfaces also apply to other materials."
The study has been published in the Journal of Food Protection.