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How Much Does Surface Disinfectant Cost?

Surface Disinfection
Surface disinfectant can be purchased in 20-litre concentrate drums, to be manually diluted on site.

These drums have a low line price, which is why you’re buying them. 

But are you leaving time and money on the table? Are you risking a gastro outbreak, and a red flag for hygiene when your next accreditation rolls around? 

Each hidden cost seems small, but increasing efficiency in your hygiene budget is becoming even more important: 

Now, new industry costs will put many operators out of business unless there is a significant boost in funding. … Providers will be under pressure to do more with the same or less resources, and efficient operations will become the name of the game. 

PwC Healthcare

The Total Cost of Hygiene Consumables   

First, a quick reminder of our concept. (We also have posts on chemicalshand soap, vinyl gloves, and toilet paper.) 

 Veridia staff have been auditing hygiene in residential aged care for many years. We’ve found that hygiene consumables have a total cost that’s deeper than the line price, based on three factors: 

  •   Product    
  •   Setup   
  •   Practice
Dosage Hand Hygiene Total Cost

We’re diving into the elements of total cost, using case studies to discover how they affect your facility’s expenses. 

Total Cost of Surface Spray 

Our site survey team recently discovered a facility that was manually decanting their surface spray from a 20L drum, opening the process to time costs, human error, and Work, Health and Safety concerns. 

Swapping to a more efficient surface spray method would save that facility 265 hours and $6,630 a year. 

Here’s how. 


To understand the following calculations, you’ll need to know how Veridia’s unique Plug’n’Pump dispensing system works. 

Plug’n’Pump is a spray bottle mechanism with two separate inputs, usually a concentrate chemical and plain water. 

We designed the bottle to automatically dispense a predetermined amount of both liquids into a dilution chamber when tipped upside down. This means the chemical is only diluted at point of use. 

Let’s see what effect this has on costs. 

Cost Calculations 

First, a simple line price comparison between Product Q, a 20-litre Quaternary Sanitiser, and Veridia’s K44 Quat Sanitiser in our Plug’n’Pump dispensers. 

 Price (ea) Litres Price (per L) 
Product Q $122.90 20 $6.15 
Veridia $68.55 1.95 $35.15 

It seems like an easy choice – Product Q is more than five times cheaper per litre! 

But this table is missing out several hidden costs, starting with the time cost of refilling spray bottles from the 20-litre drum. 

This includes: 

  • The time to travel from the cleaning location to the concentrate drum, 
  • The time to decant and correctly dilute the concentrate, and  
  • The time to walk back to the cleaning site. 

A conservative estimate would be 3 minutes per refill. 

The facility had 216 sanitiser dispensers in total. We’re assuming that each spray bottle would need to be refilled every fortnight (26 times a year), using 1.95 litres of concentrate a month. 

 Annual changes Locations Change time (s) Annual time (s) Annual time (h) 
Product Q 26 216 180 1,010,880 280.8 
Veridia 26 216 10 56,160 15.6 
 Wage per hour Annual time cost Annual usage (L) Annual usage cost Annual total cost 
Product Q $25.00 $7,020.00 23.4 $143.91 $7,163.91 
Veridia $25.00 $390.00 23.4 $822.51 $1,212.51 

And that’s how Veridia’s Plug’n’Pump system would save more than 250 hours and over $6,500 a year. 

Need more evidence? See our proofs* 

Other Costs 

There are many other potential costs when using 20-litre drums of surface disinfectant, including: 

  • Work, Health and Safety issues 
  • Infections, and Accreditation sanctions 

Work, Health and Safety Issues 

20-litre drums are heavy, bulky and hard to move around. If you’re manually decanting from one of these, there’s a high potential for muscle strain and back injuries. 

These work-related injuries can be costly. 

For example, SafeWork Australia says the median compensation paid in the 2017-18 financial year was $12,600. 

Infections and Accreditation Sanctions 

Quaternary sanitisers and some other disinfectants are very prone to denaturation.  

This means that for every minute the chemical spends diluted, its effectiveness deteriorates exponentially. 

Leave it long enough, and you may as well be spreading coloured water on your surfaces. 

This means increased levels of bacteria in your facility, exposing your residents to deadly pathogens. 

An outbreak of COVID-19, gastroenteritis or even influenza would hurt your facility’s finances. An outbreak could also lead to a sanction due to poor hygiene, or even risk a resident’s life. 

The conclusions we can draw from this analysis are: 

  • Time costs add up very quickly. 
  • Less quantifiable costs can also reduce your profitability. 

All in all, total costs are increasingly missed out from hygiene budgets, leaving gaps in your control over expenses in your facility. 

This series on total cost aims to help you have the difficult conversation about hidden costs, by providing you with the true cost of hygiene consumables. 

Need to have your facility investigated by a team of experts? Ask for a site survey below. 

Do you want to know your hidden costs?

Reach out to our team for a Site Survey.


 Price (ea) Litres Price (per L) 
Product Q u/w = y 
Veridia v/x = z 
 Annual changes Locations Change time (s) Annual time (s) Annual time (h) 
Product Q a x b x c = e (e/60)/60 = g 
Veridia a x b x d = f (f/60)/60 = h 
 Wage per hour Annual time cost Annual usage (L) Annual usage cost Annual total cost 
Product Q g x i = j m x y = n j + n = p 
Veridia h x i = k m x z = o k + o = q 

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