The History of Disinfecting: Part II

The History of Disinfecting: Part II | Disinfect homes and businesses

The History of Disinfecting: Part II

The different ways society has sought to disinfect homes and businesses and the different services used to purify the air have always been dependent on our understanding of the threat we were up against. 

As we saw in Part I of our History of Disinfecting, ancient cultures really didn’t understand what caused disease – but sometimes, as in the case of the ancient Egyptians, they got lucky anyway.  

“Disinfection procedures have evolved throughout our world’s history. Prior to the 19th century, there was little scientific understanding of the existence and the role of pathogenic microorganisms,” the experts at Sterifre Medical tell us.  

Once scientists and researchers discovered the presence of microorganisms and germs, the need for what we call disinfecting services and products became clear. 

According to Sterifre’s glance back at the history of disinfection, “Disinfectants were deemed effective if they had a visible toxic effect on living things. This resulted in some interesting methods, many of which are found to be either harmful or useless today.”

Early Disinfectants  

  • Alkalis: “The earliest known alkali was derived from lime,” Sterifre reports. The appeal of this process probably had something to do with the fact that there the use of lime produced a visible effect.
  • Acids: Acids like vinegar were among the earliest disinfectants used and they were effective. 
  • Heat: “When the cattle plague (also known as Rinderpest) affected Europe in the 18th century, people who attended animals were required to boil or expose their clothes to flame. Many empires also required the burning of contaminated straw, harnesses, wagons, drinking troughs, cribs and more,” Sterifre’s account tells us. “During the Middle Ages, the clothing of people infected with the plague were burned in order to slow down and prevent the spread of the black death.”
  • Fumigation: This method of disinfecting homes and businesses goes back to the 5th century B.C. and it was none other than Hippocrates who suggested it when an epidemic threatened the residents of Athens. “Herbs with strong odors were burned throughout the city streets- this was credited with putting an end to the epidemic. Throughout time, fumigation was found to be useful in not only purifying air, but in disinfecting objects and clothing as well,” Sterifre reports..

If, instead of the earliest methods of disinfection, you would like to know about the latest advances in medical grade disinfection as well as disinfecting services, mold remediation and air purification services, we hope you will contact us.

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