Top 5 things to look for on an EPA label

We know most people skim product labels and many never actually read the detailed label instructions. We get it, EPA labels can be overwhelming, but the benefits of using EPA-registered products are only effective if the label is followed correctly.

Knowing that we all skim labels, here is our recommendation on the 5 things to look for on the EPA label:

  1. Description
    The description tells you what the product is and how it is to be used. It is the first thing you should look for to make sure the product is intended for your specific use. The terms disinfectants and sanitizers are often used interchangeably, but the EPA has distinct definitions for them.
  2. Organisms/Viruses approved to control
    The major benefit of using an EPA-registered product is knowing that the product is proven to kill bacteria and inactivate the viruses listed on the label. Be sure the product you selected is proven effective against the pathogen you are targeting. Pathogens can be listed separately or within the Directions for Use section.
  3. Directions for Use
    The directions for use section clearly outlines where, how and when the product should be used. In the case of a disinfectant, the product must be used according to these instructions to ensure that the product kills all listed microorganisms and inactivates the viruses listed on the label. This section can be long, but it outlines specific application instructions directions for every use site. Additionally, if the pathogens and viruses were not listed separately, you will find them in this section.
  4. EPA Registration Number
    All cleaners have some sort of product label that outlines how to use the product. However, only EPA-registered products have an EPA registration number. No product can make kill or inactivation claims without an EPA registration in the US. This registration number will be on both the container label and the master label. You can use this number to look up the master label. A master label contains all approved uses for a given product and all associated labeling, such as advertising claims.
  5. Expiration Date
    All EPA-registered products have a listed expiration date, which is the date at which the claims on the label expire. EPA-registered products must be used before the expiration date to ensure full efficacy and compliance to kill or inactivate labeled pathogens.

Top Things to Look for on an EPA label with important areas highlighted: EPA registration number, specific pathogens controlled by product, description of how the product should be used, directions for use, and the product expiration date

While these are five big things to look for on an EPA label, it is important for us to point out that all parts of the product label are important. Product labels contain detailed information on how to use the product correctly and legally. The label also provides:

  • Critical information about how to handle and safely use the pesticide product (Precautionary statements and First Aid)
  • Active Ingredients are identified by name with its percentage by weight
  • Instructions on how to properly store and dispose of the product and what to do in the event of a poisoning or spill.

Ultimately, following label instructions will allow you to minimize the risks and maximize the benefits. EPA-registered products can be trusted to do what you need them to do, if used according to the label. You can trust that Sterilex products are effective, not because we say so, but because they have gone through strict third-party testing that has been reviewed and approved by the EPA. To learn more about our products and how you can implement them into your sanitation and disinfection process, visit