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Are Antbacterial Cleaning Products Safe?

Updated on January 27, 2010

It's hard to find cleaning products without this label

They kill 99.9% of Disease Organism


They are in the news. They are making us sick. How do we protect ourselves from something that you can't even see? If you listen to the television, it's by cleaning every surface of your home, including dishes and your body with antibacterial cleansers, wipes, dish washing liquid and soap. They kill 99.9% of all the creepy crawlies. That's a good thing, right? Unfortunately the answer is NO.

How can killing 99.9% of the micro organisms living on household surfaces be a bad thing? Ask your self, why doesn't kill the 0.1% that are left? The answer is because that 0.1% left are already immune to the disinfectant. So by wiping out the weaker 99.9%, it leave room for that 0.1% to reproduce like mad, filling all that space with bacteria and viruses that are immune to the disinfectant.

Hepatitis C virus
Hepatitis C virus

Thye are Everywhere


The Best Defense is Still

Plenty of soap and water is still the best defense against infections. Washing your hands often will do more to prevent the spread of a cold than any cleaning product with anti microbials in it. And not that little spot of soap, spot of water, rinse and dry. Really wash your hands. All it takes is 15 seconds of lathering your hands completely to wash the germs right down the drain.

This goes for the counter tops in the kitchen as well. Plenty of hot soapy water and a clean cloth or sponge will do an good job of cleaning the hard surfaces in the kitchen. When wiping the counters down just make sure to use a clean cloth or sponge (to keep sponges squeecky clean toss them in the top rack of your dishwasher).

Chlorine Bleach
Chlorine Bleach

An Inexpensive But Affective Alternative: Bleach

That's what I said, bleach, the same kind that is sitting in your laundry room.  I have worked in laboratory for over 25 years. Do you know what every hospital lab in America uses to disinfect their work stations? They use a solution of water and chlorine bleach. This solution eliminates both bacteria and viruses, including flu and the viruses that cause hepatitis and HIV. Simply mix one ounce of bleach with 9 of water. The bleach solution works by rupturing the outer membranes of both bacteria and viruses and none are immune to this mechanical action.

This Should be in Everyone's Pocket

Even Plastic Toys

The Health Department is aware of how well bleach works.  Day care providers are required to wash toys on a regular basis with a water and bleach solution.

So rather than spending money on products that just make the microbes stronger just remember to WASH YOUR HANDS.  When you can't wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer but hand sanitizers still don't work as well as plain soap and water.

Over 100 years Old and Still the Best

That's not to say that chlorine bleach  is completely safe.  It is a chemically stable form of chlorine and chlorine is toxic to all living things.  But unlike other cleaners, once the beach is exposed to light and air it breaks down leaving very little residue behind.  This simple product that has been around for over 100yrs is more effective than all the new fangled cleaning products and their antimicrobial action.


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    • mquee profile image

      mquee 7 years ago from Columbia, SC

      Very good hub with vital info. Everyone seems to be rushing out to buy sanitizers and the like, but forgetting the old stand by products.

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      You and I must come from the same era. When I was a microbiologist working in the hospital, I too was told that it was the mechanical action of scrubbing as much as anything else that got rid of the bacteria. I have a dickens of a time trying to find cleaning products without antibacterial action and it is almost impossible. I may have to try making my own.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

      What you say is so true and the unfortunate part is that it is now hard to find liquid soaps that are NOT anti-bacterial in nature. We would purchase them if we could. When I studied microbiology years ago, the mechanical action of scrubbing is the most effective part of the cleansing process whether it be dishes or hands.

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      For got to add, There are only a few inexpensive cleaning products that you really need. They are cheap and clean almost anything. White vinegar, baking soda and borax.

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks for the tip. It will become a staple on my kitchen.

    • Wealthmadehealthy profile image

      Wealthmadehealthy 8 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

      This hub is so right on...When the flu was announced, I went out and bought six gallons of bleach...You bet I use Lysol spray, but something noone even looks at concerning all the hand wipes, etc...they ruin your skin to boot...notice how dry your hands are after using them?? This goes for the hand sanitizer as well...I usually find a washroom and wash, wash wash my hands....using an elbow to turn on hand dryers afterwards...Bleach is the totally best disinfectant you can use. I keep a three gallon minimum supply on hand....It has many uses, one of them being to purify water....The best thing is it is less expensive than all those hand wipes.....

      Here is a good tip...take those empty hand wipe containers and put paper towels in them and pour a weak bleach/water solution in them...use those for sanitizing hands...yes, this will dry your hands out too....I guess the people who created hand lotion are making more money than ever now!!

      GREAT HUB!!!!