Disinfecting Hard Surfaces

It’s time for spring cleaning and consumers today have many, many choices about the cleaning products they use. Some like to stick with the tried and true traditional cleaning products that were probably the same ones used in their homes when they were children.  Some like to use “green” cleaners, of which there are increasing options. And, some like to make their own cleaners out of simple household supplies.

Consumers should beware, however, when following directions for “making your own disinfectant*.” These “home brews” have no scientific data showing that they can disinfect, despite the enormous amount of information online that would lead you to believe otherwise. For instance, we often see “recipes” for homemade “disinfecting” solutions that consist of water and white vinegar.  These water and white vinegar solutions have not been shown to meet the requirements established for disinfectants to kill H1N1 or other harmful viruses or bacteria that cause disease. By law, only products shown to meet these disinfectant requirements and registered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can make disinfectant claims. To suggest that consumers can make their own “disinfecting” spray from a water and vinegar mixture, is both inappropriate and misleading.

What Works, and What Doesn’t

Many consumers realize the health risks associated with viruses and bacteria and take precautions to protect their families by disinfecting surfaces. To truly disinfect a surface, consumers should use  an EPA-registered product.  More information can be found at www.aboutantimicrobials.com.

Consumers should have available to them a variety of options for all types of cleaning.  For some practical advice about cleaning and cleaning products, visit www.aboutcleaningproducts.com. And, remember, always read and follow directions on product labels and be cautious about home-brewed cleaners.

*Disinfectants or antimicrobials are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), which provides the basis for regulation, sale, distribution and use of disinfectants in the U.S. and authorizes the EPA to review and register disinfectants for the specified use (such as killing H1N1) for which a registrant (a company) applies.  Before registering a disinfectant product, EPA requires extensive scientific studies and tests from applicants (companies).  When EPA registers a disinfectant product, it approves the product’s label, which includes (among other things) directions for use, claims for efficacy against germs (microbes), hazard warnings, and precautions.

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