The ability of a substance to be broken down by the action of living organisms. In addition to the degradation phase (extent of the molecular degradation), a distinction is made between primary degradation, total degradation and mineralisation. The latter is the complete degradation of organic material into substances such as water, carbon dioxide, mineral salts.
For disinfection cleaners, laws stipulate a degradation of at least 60 % of the cleaning-active components (surfactants), i.e. their complete mineralisation into carbon dioxide, water and mineral salts (see Detergents Regulation (EC) No. 648/2004). A preparation's biodegradability is often estimated from the raw material data.