Is Microban Toxic? Does It Contain Harmful Chemicals?


In this day and age of COVID-19, you can’t be too careful. When choosing the best for you and your family, Microban seems like a pretty good bet. But are you also worried about the counteractive toxic effect of too much chemical sanitizer? 

This article will explore everything about Microban products to see if it is toxic or harmful.


Microban has three product categories: Microban 24-Hour Multipurpose Cleaner and Disinfectant Spray, Disinfectant Sanitizing Spray, and the Bathroom Cleaner and Sanitizing Spray. 

Below are listed the primary ingredients in these categories: 

  • Polyethyloxazoline

This compound binds ingredients together and creates a buffer film on the cleaned surface. This enables longer antibacterial protection.

  • Triethanolamine

This emulsifier prevents the product from adhering to the packaging. It is also a pH stabilizer. 

  • Quaternium 24

This is the active ingredient in all Microban 24 products.  This antimicrobial agent kills a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. 

  • Dipropylene Glycol Butyl Ether 

This compound is a solvent that also dissolves and discards grease. 

  • Nitrogen

Nitrogen is a propellant used for diffusing the  Microban sprays. 

  • C9-11 and C12-15 Pareth

These surfactants suspend grime and oil and aid cleaning. 

Does Microban contain bleach? 

Microban 24 products are all 100% free of bleach. Bleach or sodium hypochlorite is often used as a disinfectant. It breaks down the protein building blocks of microorganisms which prevent their further growth and spread.

But it is a very harsh solution even when diluted. It can release noxious fumes that can cause anything from nasal irritation and burning to problems breathing and lung damage. 

Unlike Microban 24, bleach doesn’t work by simply pouring it on a surface. It needs to be scrubbed down or rinsed to remove germs. Microban can just be applied and allowed to air dry without wiping it down. 

Does Microban contain ammonia? 

Microban 24 products do not contain ammonia. Ammonia, when added to water, becomes ammonium hydroxide. This compound is commonly used as a cleaning agent. But neither is used in the manufacturing of Microban or is present in the final product. 

Microban does contain quaternary ammonium compounds which do not contain ammonia. They are made from coconut oil alkyl and methyl benzene alkyl groups. These are stable, non-volatile compounds that do not degrade. 

Only degradation or decomposition under extreme heat can release ammonia from quaternary compounds. 

Does Microban contain triclosan? 

Microban products are free of triclosan as of this moment. Triclosan was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in personal care products like soap. It is also banned for use in over-the-counter (OTC) products, drugs, and other antibacterial soaps. 

Many suppliers have voluntarily stopped using triclosan. Microban also claims to no longer offer Triclosan products. Triclosan was registered under the trademark name Microban Additive 2. The company claims that triclosan does not form part of their new product commercial launches. 

But whether this is applicable only for one antimicrobial range or all of them has not been verified. Many cleaning product brands may continue to use triclosan for effectiveness and not disclose the same. 

Does Microban contain alcohol?

None of the Microban cleaning products contain any alcohol. The Microban Multipurpose, Disinfectant Sanitizing, and the Bathroom Cleaner Spray do not use ethyl alcohol or ethanol. They don’t use any conventional or sugar alcohols.

But one compound does use aromatic alcohol in its production. The base of dipropylene glycol butyl ether is propylene glycol. This is an organic alcohol that easily mixes with water and other ingredients.

The pesticides like Microban Firebird 130 do contain ethyl alcohol. There is about 68% ethyl alcohol as an inert ingredient or solvent in this Firebird germicidal spray. 

Is Microban registered for use against EVP?

The Microban 24 products sold for cleaning and disinfecting surfaces have not been approved for EVP( Emerging Viral Pathogens). But there are other products sold under the Microban banner of products and innovations that have been cleared for EVP use. 

These include the Firebird 130 germicidal spray and the Ironman Wipes. These products can destroy the protective shields of all three tiers of emerging viruses. These include monkeypox, COVID-19, and others like norovirus.

Does Microban contain phenol?

Only one Microban Disinfectant Spray Plus contains phenol. This is in the form of o-phenylphenol or 2-phenylphenol. This is a broad-spectrum biocide that keeps surfaces free of multiple harmful microorganisms. 

Phenol can cause contact dermatitis and burns if it touches the skin. It can also be toxic if inhaled or ingested in moderate to large amounts. It can cause organ damage or failure. 

Prolonged exposure will result in symptoms like nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and severe exhaustion. 

Does Microban contain permethrin?

Microban 24 Bathroom Cleaner, Disinfectant, and Multipurpose Sprays do not contain permethrin. Permethrin is an insecticide in and of itself. It can be used to kill and control the proliferation of ticks, mosquitos, bugs, and fleas amongst others.

Permethrin affects the nervous system of insects, causing death. If ingested by accident or otherwise, permethrin can cause dizziness, disorientation, and seizures. It may also pose a risk for fluid buildup in the lungs if inhaled and is also possibly carcinogenic.

Is Microban dangerous or toxic to humans?

In terms of regular use as per the brand guidelines, Microban is fairly safe. It is only when inhaled or ingested in large amounts that it can cause adverse health problems. 

Triclosan was a problematic component, but the concerns were limited to oral exposure or inhalation such as from toothpaste or mouthwashes.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Microban as an agent to tackle COVID-19. All their technologies, be it using zinc, silver or other materials have been safety tested and approved as well. 

While the products may not contain triclosan, they are far from perfect. They contain quaternary ammonium compounds and benzalkonium chloride which can cause redness and inflammation if your eyes come into contact with it. It may also worsen asthma and other allergies.

Is Microban dangerous or toxic to pets?

This depends on what Microban product or technology you are using. If you are using pet water bowls or food bowls with Microban technology, it should be safe. The same goes for kennels and other feeders or toys fitted with Microban technology. 

The technology eliminates disease-causing parasites and pests. The Petmate brand in particular has products treated with Microban technology for your pet’s comfort and ease. 

But other than these pet-safe approved products, other Microban 24 cleaning products can be toxic for your pet. 

The Microban Bathroom Cleaning, Multipurpose, and Disinfectant Sprays all contain ingredients like benzalkonium chloride and fragrances which are dangerous for animals. 

These products should not be used to freshen or clean your pet’s kennel or feeder. At the very least, you need to wait till the product has dried. If your pet licks the wet surface it could cause diarrhea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness. 

Benzalkonium chloride releases fumes that can irritate your pooch’s nose and eyes. Fragrances also cause irritation and rashes. 

What does Microban do to your skin? 

Microban’s chemical components can cause contact dermatitis. Rashes, redness, swelling, and hives are common side effects. Wear protective gloves and clothing while using these Microban products. Leave all the windows open to provide ventilation that helps with drying. 

You might also experience itching and a burning, tingling sensation. If you do happen to get some on your skin, wash it off immediately. Rinse the exposed parts with cold or lukewarm water. 

What to do if you swallow Microban? 

If you accidentally swallow any Microban spray or liquid, you must immediately rinse your mouth. Don’t drink water or give the person who has ingested Microban anything orally. 

You may experience vomiting, dizziness, or loss of consciousness. If a large amount has been ingested, seek immediate medical attention or refer to poison control. There may be internal burns to the digestive tract and stomach. 

You may also experience stomach pains. Under no circumstance should you induce vomiting? Make sure there is enough air and the person is sitting in the recovery position. 

This was the lowdown on Microban. Use as directed- stay clean and stay safe!

Categorized as Q&A