Virkon is a brand name for a powerful, multi-purpose disinfectant. The solution is used in many areas, including hospitals, laboratories, nursing homes, funeral homes, medical, dental and veterinary facilities, and anywhere else where control of pathogens is required. It is typically used for cleaning up hazardous spills, disinfecting surfaces and soaking equipment. 
Virkon has a remarkable spectrum of activity against viruses, fungi, spores and bacteria, including mycobacteria such as tuberculosis. It is also effective against SARS and Avian influenza. However, for full effectiveness it must be sprayed liberally on a surface and allowed to sit for at least two (and up to ten) minutes before being wiped off.
Virkon's ingredients are:
- potassium peroxymonosulfate (21.5%) — disinfecting/cleansing agent
- sulphamic acid — disinfecting/cleansing agent
- malic acid — disinfecting/cleansing agent
- sodium dodecyl benzene sulphonate — detergent
- sodium chloride (1.5%) — disinfecting/cleansing agent
- sodium hexametaphosphate — buffering agent
- Amaranth dye — an indicator colour
- Lemon extract — odorant
Preparation and use
It is most often sold as pink tablets or powder which dissolve readily in water. It is intended to be mixed with water to form a 1% to 3% solution (by weight, i.e. 10g to 30g per litre). The pink colour is useful in that in helps gauge the concentration when preparing the Virkon, and importantly, as the Virkon ages it discolours, making it obvious when it needs to be replaced. The solution is generally stable for five to seven days.
Virkon has a faint lemon odor, but the scent is still considered unpleasant by some. It is relatively safe in terms of skin contact, but can cause eye damage and should not be used as a hand-washing liquid.
When ordered in bulk, Virkon costs about 35 US cents per litre to produce, which is comparable to most bleaches. Nevertheless, some facilities prefer to produce their own alternative disinfectants to save costs.
- Mobile H5N1 Decontamination Software — free application for mobile phones to assist in preparation of disinfectants.