consumer packaged goods

As Virus Concerns Rise, P&G Introduces Product To Kill Bacteria For 24 Hours

At a time when everyone is understandably jittery about passing on germs, Procter & Gamble has introduced a new antibacterial home sanitizing product, Microban 24, that it says will keep surfaces protected against bacteria for 24 hours, if used as directed.

The new wrinkle is that the product keeps killing bacteria for a full day, “even when the surface is touched or contacted multiple times,” according to the Microban 24 announcement.

“The antibacterial surface category hasn’t seen a true product innovation in a long time; we want to push beyond the status quo and offer families a new sanitizing product that keeps working around the clock,” said Martin Hettich, P&G’s vice president of North American home care brands, in a statement.



P&G says commercials are to begin today on television, as well as on YouTube.

A spokeswoman, asked whether Microban 24 was rushed to market, told Marketing Daily, “Quite the opposite. . . P&G puts science and innovation at the forefront of product development, and we've spent a number of years perfecting the formula we debuted today.”

Nonetheless it’s plausible that products, as well as restaurants and shops, may begin emphasizing their safeguards against infection, to the extent those protections can be identified. 

Microban 24 is sold as a sanitizing spray, a multipurpose cleaner, and a bathroom cleaner in both fresh scent and citrus scent, and P&G launched Instagram and Facebook accounts for it to provide tips on how to use it. (A 32-ounce bottle of the bathroom cleaner retails for $3.94 on Walmart’s website.)

P&G cites a Harris Polls that claims 84% of Americans believe the household antibacterial products they use provides “some level of lasting antibacterial protection beyond the moment of application.”   But, the consumer-packaged-goods maker says, “bacteria can be reintroduced to surfaces shortly after being touched,” even as little as 20 minutes later. 

Asked about Microban 24’s use as a guard against the 2019 novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the spokeswoman responded carefully, noting that because it’s a new strain, “there is not yet an acceptable EPA method for claims against it.” 

So “therefore no company can directly claim efficacy against Covid-19.”

But, she wrote, “the EPA created the Emerging Viral Pathogens policy to allow industry to protect consumers in the case of new organism outbreaks like Covid-19, SARS or MERS. EPA recognizes that in the event of an emerging viral pathogen, the strain is likely not available for testing and that existing disinfectants will not have the specific virus on the label.  The policy outlines steps that are required to qualify products to make off-pack statements in the event of an emerging viral pathogen.”  

So Microban 24 can claim it has “demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to Covid-19 on hard non-porous surfaces," and “can be used against Covid-19 when used as a disinfectant in accordance with the directions . . . on hard nonporous surfaces.”  

That’s the same kind of information the makers of Lysol posted on its website earlier this month when rumors spread that the disinfectant claimed it could stop coronavirus on its label. Lysol has been proved effective against other similar types of coronavirus, so the company said that it's deemed accurate to say it could be used on this new strain. 

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