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Do disinfecting wipes live up to their 99.9% effectiveness?

The average person comes into contact with thousands of germs day to day, from phones, door handles, desks, and many other hard surfaces. At home, many people have turned to Clorox wipes to kill germs. Before using disinfectant wipes you must first do a through cleaning by vacuuming, hand washing with soap and water and straightening up your room. The Clorox wipes claims it “kills cold and flu viruses” and another “kills 99.9% of bacteria in 30 seconds.” The 1% difference that it does not kill, is insignificant when you factor in the amount of bacteria and viruses on any given surface that can be transmitted by touch transfer.

Clorox wipes are effective on different home area surfaces such as counters, phone, mouse, computer keyboard, microwave door handle, toilet seat, fridge handle, and water fountain handle and other hard surfaces.

In an office environment the most germ infected areas include again the phone, desktop, water fountain handle, microwave handle, and keyboards. In the workplace areas where no wipes are used, an average of 31% more illness-causing bacteria occurred during the day. However when disinfection wipes were used on a regular basis the bacteria was reduced by 99.9% or more on the most infected workplaces. Again the 1% it doesn't kill is significant.

Bottom line, Clorox wipes do in fact kill 99.9% of germs and should be part of the second line of defense when cleaning a home or office.

An experiment conducted by researchers from the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University in Wales used disinfectant wipes to clean surfaces that were contaminated with the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria including a Methicillin-resistant type commonly known as MSRA. The study concluded that that disinfectant wipes, destroyed most bacteria, but not all. The researchers found that the bacteria stayed on the wipes after use, and if reused, transported the bacteria to other surfaces. Therefore, wipes are not the most effective way to combat bacteria.

Using disinfectant wipes are better than using sponges and washcloths, these can spread bacteria and other contaminants instead of disinfecting. Sanitizing wipes can kill 99.99 percent of household germs including Influenza A viruses, common cold viruses, Staph, Salmonella, and E-coli on hard, nonporous surfaces when used as directed. However, you must only use them once to keep from spreading the germs.

Beware, read the label says the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA).

Their review show that some products contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and their pH level, which is the level of acid in the wipe's ingredients. High levels of pH can cause skin and eye irritations.

Do disinfecting wipes kill bacteria?
Yes, but how much.

According to one such study published in Journal of Applied Microbiology (via Science Daily), wiping down your kitchen counters with disinfecting wipes after preparing poultry will cut your chance of Campylobacter food poisoning by 99.2 percent.

Are Clorox Wipes 99.9% Effective? Yes, but is that enough?

Clorox® Disinfecting wipes advertise the ability to remove germs, bacteria, kitchen grease and countless other nasties you find lurking in your home.

  • Kills 99.9% of germs that can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours
  • Kills 99.9% of Viruses* and Bacteria
  • Kills Staph, E-coli, Salmonella, Strep

However, disinfecting and cleaning are not one in the same. One of the problems with disinfecting wipes doesn't actually have anything to do with the product itself but how most people are using them. Disinfecting wipes should NOT replace regular cleaning with soap and water. If you do not do regular cleaning first, you could be spreading bacteria with disinfecting wipes.

Stay clean with common sense.

Fist clean the area with soap and water, allow the area to dry. Then use the disinfectant wipes according to the label. They will tell you how long you'll need to keep the surface area wet for it to be properly disinfected. This means you may have to disinfect an area for as long as "four to ten minutes." Again if you do not follow the label instructions, the wipes will not be 99.9% effective.

Should you wipe down toys with a disinfecting wipe? Take note, according to Lysol's website, small plastic toys without batteries can be both cleaned and sanitized with a trip through the dishwasher, my wifes favorite go to for most hard surface toys. For little plastic toys with batteries, the company recommends cleaning the outer areas of the toy with soap and warm water and then using a wipe to disinfect the outside. Larger plastic toys can also be disinfected in the same manner. When it comes to fabric toys like stuffed animals, though, you're going to want to wash them as you would clothing.

Disinfecting wipes will loose effectiveness over time.

To continue to be effective your disinfecting wipes need to be stored in a cool, dry place, but you shouldn't expect the wipes to stay fresh forever. The product will start to degrade after two years, and according to Good Housekeeping, the wipes may then begin to "lose some of their effectiveness."

Remember, Disinfecting wipes are not meant for your skin

Disinfecting wipes are not the same as antibacterial wipes — nor should they be used in the same manner. On their site, Clorox states that their wipes "should not be used for personal cleansing." Disinfecting wipes can cause eye irritation — as is indicated on the label. And, as such, Clorox advises users to "avoid contact with eyes" and "wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes their place in quelling germs in schools and advises using the wipes on phones, computers, and any other "electronic items that are touched often" and "can withstand the use of liquids for cleaning and disinfecting."

Americans are stocking up on disinfectant wipes, but will they kill coronavirus?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that COVID-19 appears to spread mainly via person-to-person contact, but can also spread by touching a surface that has the virus on it. The COVID-19 virus can survive on surface up to 9 days.

People are stocking up on disinfecting products — some of which claim to be effective against COVID-19 — but manufacturers haven’t actually tested those claims on the virus itself.

Purell said in a statement, that its surface disinfectant spray has “demonstrated effectiveness against a strain of human coronavirus,” but did stop short of saying killed the latest virus. COVID-19 belongs to the family of human coronaviruses.

In total, there are seven known forms of human coronavirus, which include severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and COVID-19.

Lysol states on its site that “Specific Lysol products have demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) on hard, non-porous surfaces.”

The CDC posted on its site a link to all the COVID-19 approved cleaning products under the EPA’s guidelines. The list of over fives pages of cleaning products was complied by the American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries.

The CDC emphasizes the importance of washing hands with soap and water “for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.”

It also recommends people “clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.”

The Answer: Yes disinfectant wipes work at 99.9% if used as directed. But is that enough with SARS, H1N1 and now COVID-19?

Due to the increase in infectious diseases, bacteria and viruses in todays environment there is a need for better effectiveness. If you want your Atlanta home or office disinfected to Six-Log (99.9999%) efficacy then give R4 Clean a call at 404-428-1255. We use a patented no-wipe, no-residue that works on viruses, such as Influenza A (H1N1), coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS, MERS), and will kill fungi and mold on non-porous surfaces. It even works in the presence of residual protein.

The SteraMIST® BIT system we use is:

  • EPA registered as a Hospital Healthcare Disinfectant
  • Broad MDRO Efficacy verified by Independent EPA Labs
  • Quick and Economical, Minimal Room Preparation
  • Eliminates 99.9999% of C. Diff
  • Non-Corrosive to Sensitive Equipment
  • Can be used in conjunction with other cleaners without interaction or ill-effect
  • Effective against Gram-positive bacteria, such as MRSA, and Gram-negative bacteria, such as Pseudomonas
Call Now: 404.428.1255