The world is indeed a place full of germs and as we interact with different people, we share and spread bacteria with one another. We encounter bacteria almost everywhere from kitchen surfaces to doorknobs, to toilets, to the garden, to the pool, to the gym, to the workplace, etc.
The fight against harmful bacteria has led to a lot of cleaning products that claim to kill the most bacteria being made available in the market.
As a result, it is essential to know which cleaning products are true to their claims of killing the most bacteria.
The Cleaning products that kill the most bacteria are:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Essential oils
- Alcohol solution (isopropanol or ethanol)
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
- Soap and Water.
Key ingredients you can look out for when searching for the best cleaning products that kill bacteria are pine oil, quaternary ammonium compounds, sodium hypochlorite, phenols, and ethanol. Different active ingredients kill different types of bacteria.
A good disinfecting cleaner will list which bacteria, fungi, and viruses it is intended to kill. You can easily identify cleaning products that kill bacteria with the words “antibacterial”, “sanitizing”, “disinfectant”.
Although some bacteria may be good for our body systems, a vast majority are generally very dangerous and are responsible for a lot of health hazards. For this reason, it is essential to use cleaning products that can kill bacteria effectively to clean our homes.
The heavy scent of bleach in the air is usually taken to mean that an area is really clean. But, this is not necessarily so. Bleach may be great for a lot of things, but cleaning is, not technically one of them.
Bleach is a very good disinfectant and stain remover but not a great general cleanser. So how can it be used in your home? Are there some instances where it is better to use than others?
First, bleach is a disinfectant, not a cleaner. Bleach does a fantastic job of killing germs; it removes tough stains and whitens clothing.
Bleach doesn’t exactly clean dirt and residue from surfaces. To do that, you will need to scrub and rinse the surfaces first and then apply a bleach solution.
Most of us smell bleach and think that it is cleaning a surface, but really, it is only disinfecting the surface instead. For instance, bleach is used by many in their bathrooms to wipe their toilets and bathtubs. Those are areas that are prone to germs.
Bleach is a specific type of laundry aid that removes stains from clothing, but it also removes the colour from clothes. Bleach creates a chemical reaction with a stain that breaks it down and removes it from clothing. It also has a whitening and brightening effect on white clothing.
There are two main types of bleach to choose from when deciding what to use for laundry:
Chlorine bleach and oxygen bleach.
Chlorine bleach is usually in liquid form, but can occasionally be found in powdered form. Chlorine bleach contains sodium hypochlorite diluted with water. This type of bleach is very powerful. It disinfects laundry, but it isn’t safe for many fabric types, especially colored clothing or clothing with patterns.
Oxygen bleach is safe for use on many fabrics and is sometimes referred to as color-safe bleach or all-fabric bleach. Unlike chlorine bleach, this bleach does not remove color or patterns on most types of colorfast clothing.
When to Use Bleach
Chlorine bleach can be used on whites to remove stains and odors. Using it on any other type of clothing may result in a laundry disaster such as splotchy fading of the color in irregular patterns and even holes and damage to the clothing.
Oxygen bleach can be used on clothing that calls for non-chlorine bleach. It is less risky to use with colors and patterned clothing. Oxygen bleach removes stains and can even brighten colors when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
So, although bleach is one of the best cleaning products that kill bacteria, it is advised to be very careful when using bleach.
For many household cleaning jobs, bleach just isn’t the right cleaning solution. It has heavy fumes that can make you sick. Contact with bleach on your skin is irritating and can be very harmful. Mixing it with many other cleaning products can produce toxic results. Bleach can also damage surfaces and remove color.
Never mix different bleaching agents or types of bleach. Thoroughly wash and rinse all cleaners out of clothing before adding another type.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best and most effective cleaning products that kill bacteria.
A concentration of 3% hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant typically found in stores.
Hydrogen peroxide can damage some surfaces and is a more dangerous chemical than some disinfectants, so be cautious when handling it.
Hydrogen peroxide is often used to clean skin wounds and prevent infection from minor cuts and scrapes.
As a household cleaner, hydrogen peroxide is an effective cleaning product that will not only kill bacteria but viruses and other germs as well.
Hydrogen peroxide works as a disinfectant by destroying essential components of germ cells and can deactivate a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and spores.
hydrogen peroxide is also said to be more effective in killing some forms of bacteria than the quaternary ammonium compounds found in many household cleaning products.
When it comes to reducing the bacteria in your home, hydrogen peroxide is a good option to use but never forget to be careful when handling hydrogen peroxide.
Hydrogen peroxide is safe to use alone, but shouldn’t be mixed with other household cleaning agents, like vinegar or bleach. Both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide can be used on the same surface if you make sure the area dries between uses, but they should not be combined in the same container.
For optimal use, store hydrogen peroxide in a dark container to keep its concentration stable and effective at killing bacteria. Exposure to light reduces its potency.
Essential oils are one of the best cleaning products which kill bacteria without any risk of releasing harmful toxins into the atmosphere. It is probably the favorite of green home keepers who wish to make their homes as free as possible from toxins.
Essential oils are the distilled liquid essence of a plant. They are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial. They can disinfect, purify and even remove stains without any toxic chemicals in the mix. Some, of course, work better for cleaning than others.
Some of the best essential oils used as a cleaning product that effectively kill bacteria include:
- Tea tree
- Tea Tree
- Palma Rosa
Alcohol is a good disinfectant but cannot be used to disinfect the whole house or broad surfaces because it will likely evaporate before it can begin its work of disinfection. It is best used for disinfecting smaller surfaces.
In case you are wondering, alcohol that can be consumed orally by humans will not effectively serve as a disinfectant. Alcohol used for disinfecting surfaces is of a higher concentration and is mass differently.
Isopropanol which is also known as rubbing alcohol is the most recommended for killing bacteria. Isopropanol contains 70% alcohol and is very effective in killing bacteria.
Ethanol is also very effective in killing of bacteria and is also at a concentration of 70%. Like isopropanol, it kills bacteria by denaturing protein in the presence of one water.
Although, alcohol is a good disinfectant, using concentrations of less than 70% will be a total waste of time as they are not concentrated enough to kill bacteria.
70% is the most recommended because lower concentrations are not as effective and higher concentrations evaporate very easily.
According to some studies, alcohol of 60% can also be effective but anything below that will not kill bacteria.
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds
Quaternary Ammonium Compounds also known as “quats” is an antibacterial chemical used in producing a vast majority of branded disinfectants. It is what allows them to be called disinfectants.
If you are looking to purchase a chemical disinfectant, it’s best to ensure that the quaternary ammonium compound is listed as an ingredient.
Soap and Water
We all know how important cleaning with soap and water is. Although soap and water do not necessarily kill bacteria, it was added because they effectively wash away germs. The use of soap and water for cleaning cannot be overemphasized.
In conclusion, choosing the best cleaning product that also effectively kills bacteria is dependent on individual preferences. If you are ok with chemical products then using bleach, hydrogen peroxide, or products with quaternary ammonium compounds are good options.
But, if you are looking for a toxin-free alternative, using essential oils is just right for you!