Methods and compositions for cleaning and decontamination

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The process of disinfecting at least one of food, human beings, animals and products to be brought in contact with same to combat microorganisms includes (a) providing a microbicidal composition comprised of an effective amount of at least one microbicide which is hydrolyzable at a pH-value ranging from about 6 to about 8.5 and is a long-chain alkyl ester compound having the general formula: ##STR1## wherein R.sup.I, R.sup.II and R.sup.III are hydrogen or lower alkyl groups having 1 to 4 carbon atoms, R.sup.IV is a long-chain alkyl group having 10 to 18 carbon atoms, R.sup.V is hydrogen or a group having the formula R.sup.VI N.sup.+ H.sub.3, wherein R.sup.VI is an alkylene group having 3 to 4 carbon atoms, A is a monovalent counter ion, and n is a number of cationic groups in the long chain-alkyl ester compound; and (b) exposing microorganisms to the microbicidal composition to inactivate the microorganisms. The compound may then be detoxicated by exposing it to a medium having a pH-value ranging from about 6 to about 8.5 to hydrolyze the ester bond and reduce the content of the compound to innocuous levels.

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