Antibacterial wipes are convenient products that make cleaning and disinfecting seem like a snap. Rather than filling a sink or bucket with hot soapy water before wiping down surfaces, one can simply grab a wipe, give surfaces a quick swipe, and be done. But antibacterial wipes may not be as effective as you think. In fact, they may actually spread germs rather than kill them. Additionally, they may be creating health problems, including asthma and antibiotic resistance. Read on for eight reasons you may want to ditch the antibacterial wipes and switch to plain soap and water, and when it can be appropriate to use them.
9. They May Not Kill Germs
You may feel confident in grabbing an antibacterial wipe to clean countertops after cutting meat or to disinfect surfaces when your family has the flu. However, many antibacterial or disinfectant products need to sit on surfaces for a certain length of time in order to kill bacteria. Check the label on disinfecting cleaning supplies and you will notice they advise allowing surfaces to be wet with disinfectant for a given period of time, often around 10 minutes. While antibacterial wipes may remove germs with a swipe, they do not remain in contact with surfaces long enough to kill harmful bacteria.
8. They Can Spread Germs
In addition to not killing germs, antibacterial wipes may actually spread germs from one surface to another. If you use a wipe to clean your kitchen countertop and then use that same wipe to clean your refrigerator door, you may be just transferring germs from your countertop to the fridge. Science Daily reports that a study at Cardiff University demonstrated that use of antibacterial wipes in the hospital setting spread bacteria. This was due to the ineffectiveness of the wipes in killing germs. If you do choose to use antibacterial wipes to clean surfaces, be sure to use each cloth in one area only and then dispose of it to avoid spreading bacteria.