Best Non-toxic House Cleaner for Disinfecting
Dangers of "kill cleaners" residue
People have been increasing the use of disinfectants everywhere to help kill viruses that can impact our health. But these products contain Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered pesticides that might cause harm if not used as directed.
The results of a recent CDC survey found that 1/3 of people have used disinfectants in risky ways: They have washed food with bleach, and applied disinfectant products to their bare skin.
Even when using cleaning and disinfecting products as directed, we need to be very careful. “Disinfectants, by design, kill living organisms, so in order to keep you and your family safe, you need to follow label directions” says Jason Marshall, Laboratory Director at the Toxics Use Reduction Institute. Disinfectants can kill viruses, but can also harm human and planet health, as they can contain harmful chemicals like quaternary ammonium compounds. These chemicals can trigger or cause asthma, respiratory, skin and eye irritation.
A safer alternative for your sanctuary
With all that being said, it just doesn’t make sense to try and detox a house by spreading even worse chemicals around! The good news is that some disinfectants on the EPA’s list for use against viruses include MUCH safer active ingredients, like hydrogen peroxide, ethanol, and citric acid.
What is the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting?
Cleaning removes dirt, dust, food, and germs from surfaces or objects. When you clean, you will likely use soap and water to physically clean off the surfaces and objects. This may not necessarily kill germs, but will remove some of them, making it so that there are fewer germs that could spread infection.
Sanitizing means that you are lowering the number of germs to a safer level, reducing them by 99.9%. What you do to sanitize will vary, depending on your needs. You might be mopping a floor using a mop, a chemical, and water. You might use a dishwasher to sanitize the dishes, due to its high heat. Or you could be using an antibacterial wipe on a tv remote!
Disinfecting uses chemicals (disinfectants) to kill germs on surfaces and objects. Some common disinfectants are bleach and alcohol solutions. You usually need to leave the disinfectant on the surfaces and objects for a certain period of time to kill the germs. Disinfecting does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces, though!
Whether you are cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting, there will be residue left behind from the product you’ve used, so it’s important to ensure you’re using a completely safe cleaning product. And not just one that's legal to call safe, but a proven cleaner like our Sensitive Home All Purpose Cleaner.
How to safely disinfect
- Clean before you disinfect. It is much harder for a disinfectant to kill the organisms if they are covered with dirt. So clean first, and then disinfect.
- Never mix cleaning and disinfecting chemicals together. Mixing chemicals can cause dangerous reactions. Especially with DIY cleaners, if bleach and ammonia are mixed, they produce toxic gases that can be lethal.
- When using disinfecting or sanitizing products, always follow EPA and CDC guidelines, as well as product label instructions. Check to see that the antimicrobial product has an EPA registration number on the label — if it does not, it cannot legally be sold as a disinfectant or sanitizer, and has not demonstrated that it can pass rigid standards for efficacy and safety.
- Using disinfecting products with active ingredients such as ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, and citric acid as active ingredients will leave less-harmful residues (again, look at the label!).
- Beware of overusing disinfectants. Disinfecting kills all microorganisms, good and bad. There is a school of thought that some “microflora” are beneficial, and that overuse of disinfectants can cause its own health issues and promote the growth of super bugs!
If you have some dirty surfaces that need a good clean (who doesn't?!) check out our All Purpose Cleaner- it's strong enough to get the job done and sensitive on you and your home.