Disinfectant use during cold and flu season (or anytime for that matter)

dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in General Health

With cold and flu season in full swing, I thought I would share some of my observances. Even if we do try to limit or delete the commercially available household chemicals we have in our homes, some of us have jobs where they are used. We may be required to use them, we may be the one directing their use, or we may simply know they are used in our place of employment.

There product label is a wealth of information and instruction. As boring as it is, and as many $50 words as there are, it is important to read. It tells what it is designed to do, how well it does it, what it can be used on, how long it takes to meet the intended results, and how to properly prepare for its use. And most likely, somewhere, it will say that it is a violation of one of the alphabet soup agencies regulations to use it for anything other than its intended use.

Companies spend bu-coo bucks to make the claim that their product kills or eliminates 99% of fungi, viruses, and bacteria. They love to say that it does it faster than the competitor. Face it, if you go shopping for this kind of product and one will do the job in 1 minute and the other in 2 minutes, you are going to get the one that only takes 1 minute.

I've just randomly looked up the old standby for years for numerous families; plain old lysol disinfectant spray. It still claims to kill "99% of the viruses and bacteria that your family comes in contact with everyday*" and that it will eliminate them on commonly touched hard and soft surfaces. Did you know that in order for it to do what it claims to do, to disinfect the item, you have to pre-clean the surface, and that the item you are killing the germs on has to stay wet for 3 minutes then be allowed to air dry? Did you know that if it is the Norovirus it has to stay wet for 10 minutes, then be allowed to air dry? Did you also know that no where on the website does it say it disinfects the air if you push the nozzle and spray it wildly around the room?

Lysol isn't the only product we misuse, there's clorox wipes, bleach, and a host of other products.

If we simply spray some on a cleaning rag then go around the house wiping door knobs have we killed the germs there?


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    I think if we wipe it to take off excess drips, but it still remains wet until it air dries, then there is that possibility that it will still work. That's how I look at my use of cleaning strength vinegar.

    I have no more of those dangerous cleaners/disinfectants left in our home. The often cancer causing chemicals have no place here. It bothers me that now Lysol claims to have a sustaining power in a new product for washing clothes. I do not want that anywhere on my body or in my lungs. Bleach can have much the same lasting effect and of course, is not healthy either.

    I am so very happy to be able to actually breathe while cleaning the bathroom, unlike when I was growing up & forced to use those harsh chemicals. I remember how some of those cleaners used affected my breathing. My mom accused me of just trying to get out of work. 😒 She lived the chemicals. She was scared of germs in the house.

    When I was researching natural cleaners, I noticed that disinfecting, sanitizing and other terms require different substances & time frames. It was quite interesting.

    This need to disinfect reminds me of Rosemary Gladstar's lavender sanitizing spray. It is basically lavender infused into vodka.

  • dottile46
    dottile46 Posts: 437 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2020

    @Laurie so glad you have found an alternative product. Doesn't it just smell so much better when you use a natural product?

    You are right, there is a difference between disinfecting and sanitizing. I think of them as sanitizing only wounds the offender while disinfecting kills the offender. I looked at something last night that said that sanitizing causes the bacteria and viruses to stop reproducing while disinfecting actually kills the bacteria or viruses that are present.

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    @Laurie what's your favorite natural bathroom cleaner? I've tried making my own with a vinegar base, but certain of my family members are very sensitive to the vinegar smell. I've also used the one from Public Goods. I like the eucalyptus smell, but it makes my husband sneeze. So I'm wondering what I can use that doesn't smell like vinegar (or, I guess, eucalyptus :) ). Maybe something hydrogen peroxide based? Anyway, I'd love to know what you use, if you don't mind sharing! :) Thanks!

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,218 admin

    @Merin Porter I use a straight 10% vinegar for cleaning most things. It is strong. My kids complain. With the door open & window in summer, it isn't that bad. The smell disperses quickly anyway. Sorry that I am no help in that department.

    For the tub, I use dish soap or borax (if needed). The toilet gets borax inside, vinegar outside. Most tub & toilet manufacturers today don't want harsh chemicals used on them. It eats/scours away the finish in a toilet trap & causes them to plug. The harsh powders scratch the finish on tubs.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I have been using vinegar for cleaning for a while now because I am caring for a person with end stage COPD. The harsh chemicals aggravate breathing issues. I do like the EO and baking soda idea and will be trying that for the scouring power it should have.

  • Obiora E
    Obiora E Posts: 517 ✭✭✭✭

    @MerinPorter I primarily use Baking soda, White Distilled Vinegar, and/or Apple Cider Vinegar. And I have been doing so for about 26 years now.

  • Heidi
    Heidi Posts: 29 ✭✭✭

    My go-to cleaners are vinegar, baking soda and essential oils. Use year round and we rarely get sick here.

  • DebiB
    DebiB Posts: 92 ✭✭✭

    I think a good discussion has been started here. What are some good, nontoxic cleaners? I’m no expert but I’ll share what I know. Sunlight is a very good disinfectant, no chemicals, no funny smells. One technique I learned working in a pharmacy was spraying a surface with alcohol, allowing it to stay wet for 30 seconds and then wiping it clean is a quick and easy way to kill germs. Just a couple of ideas.

  • ines871
    ines871 Posts: 1,283 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2020

    re the original question: If we simply spray some (Lysol) on a cleaning rag then go around the house wiping door knobs have we killed the germs there?

    COVID-19 / Coronavirus can stay alive on surfaces for 5-20 days. - And once infected & supposedly healed, no immunity has emerged, & people can get REinfected, with some dire/deadly consequences.

    in about 7 years, I get a mild something or other from the outside world, but the rest of the time my immune system takes care of whatever with simply my Nutrient routines. - For cleaning surfaces, I use Water, white Vinegar, & in some places bleach. I can't afford expensive EO's right now.

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    i believe i read some where that sometimes some germs or viruses when sprayed actually spread in the mist and can be spread that way.

    i use vinegar and baking soda and my homemade liquid soap for a lot of cleaning, i bought 35% hydrogen peroxide to dilute to 4% for cleaning. also i made my own orange cleaner by taking the peels of lemons and oranges and filling the jar with vinegar

    @MerinPorter you can use hydrogen peroxide it doesnt smell you can also make your own orange cleaner like i did above

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    One of my favorite cleaning supplies is 50/50 mix of vinegar and peroxide. It will really make chrome shine! But my house has a lot of granite counters etc. and the vinegar will erode the shine over time. So I'm back to Bronner's diluted in water and essential oils. It works great. If I need scrubbing power I just sprinkle a bit of baking soda then spray and clean. This does need to be washed off or the baking soda will stay gritty on the surface.

  • Momma Mo
    Momma Mo Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    I also use vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils in different DIYs for cleaning and disinfecting my house. However, we need microorganisms in our environment to keep our immune systems functioning!

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,207 ✭✭✭✭

    I am very allergic to most essential oils but have used vinegar and baking soda to clean my oven. I was shocked to find out well it worked. I have also used vinegar and baking soda in sinks, counters, and bathtubs. One of my friends says that Simple Green cleans toilet bowls clean. You may have to leave it overnight but she is correct.

  • Kelley
    Kelley Posts: 140 ✭✭✭

    Lots of good info! I was raised using white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide , alcohol and baking soda to clean with. Over the years I have tried a lot of different products but always go back to my start. I like using citrus peels for scenting my white vinegar. Makes a great oven cleaner too.

  • Melissa Swartz
    Melissa Swartz Posts: 270 ✭✭✭

    I have been using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda together for super tough cleaning with good results.

  • Emily
    Emily Posts: 14 ✭✭✭

    Orange peel put in alcohol (drinking or isopropol) and left to set is a spray that sterilizes. You can buy it concentrated at Amazon, where comments will tell you more about it.

    While I'm at it - unrelated - cucumber peel repels roaches, and peppermint repels mice and rats.

  • hz.beecher
    hz.beecher Posts: 1 ✭✭✭

    I found hypochlorous acid a year ago- it’s amazing! I bought a small countertop unit ($149) that makes it, from tap water, sea salt, and vinegar. The unit electrolyzes the NaCl (the vinegar provides the proper pH). The result is a solution at least 100 times more powerful than bleach, yet completely biologically friendly (our own bodies make it to fight sinus infections!). It speeds healing of open wounds, it disinfects like crazy, and it’s cheap. But no shelf life - only lasts a few weeks, it denatures rapidly about 1% per day, so then you make more! During this pandemic, my little machine is going non-stop as I churn it out for family, friends, and neighborhood! Do your research- this stuff is crazy awesome!!