Everything You Need To Know About Disinfectant Wipes

Keeping safe in the age of coronavirus means keeping clean, and there are a lot of stories going around about what to do and what not to do. Along with plain old soap and water, you could be using disinfectant wipes. But do you know what they are, and why they work (and in some cases, don’t work)? Here is everything you need to know about disinfectant wipes.

What does disinfectant mean?

There are a lot of big words floating around right now: disinfectant, antibacterial, antiseptic. They all mean something different and specific. Disinfectants kill living microbes like bacteria, germs, mold, and other things that can make you sick. Routine cleaning with soap and water will remove the germs and help prevent more from taking hold; disinfectant kills the germs that are there.

When should you use disinfectant wipes?

Any surface that comes into contact with something that can spread disease should be disinfected. This includes kitchen surfaces that come into contact with raw meat or eggs, which can grow bacteria. Also, surfaces that come into contact with blood or other bodily fluids need to be disinfected. (Did your cat miss the litter box? Disinfect the area.) And of course, if someone is ill with a contagious disease such as the flu, surfaces need to be disinfected regularly (think doorknobs, light switches, and anything else this person has touched or sneezed near.)

What can you use disinfectant wipes on?

Disinfectant wipes are meant to be used on furniture and appliances, walls and floors, wherever you think you need to kill germs. There are exceptions: don’t use them on untreated wood, fabric, or other absorbent surfaces. Also, they should not be used on waxed or polished surfaces, or metals such as aluminum or copper. Remember, they’re like any other cleaning product in that you should never let kids come in contact with them.

Are disinfectants safe for the human body?

Definitely not! Disinfectant kills germs and viruses on household surfaces, but it is not safe to use on your body (either inside or outside). Disinfectants are toxic to the human body and poisonous if ingested. Do not drink or inject any kind of disinfectant — that’s what they do when they embalm a corpse. Read the warning label of disinfectant products: you do not want to get disinfectants in contact with your skin or eyes. You should wear gloves while handling disinfectant wipes; they can burn your skin otherwise. Remember, disinfectant wipes are not the same as baby wipes.

How do you use disinfectant wipes effectively and correctly?

Disinfectant wipes aren’t meant to be quick solutions. A disinfectant is meant to be used in addition to, not instead of, routine cleaning. If you’re using disinfectant wipes to do a quick 15-second wipe down of the bathroom or kitchen surfaces, you’re most likely just spreading more germs over the area than killing them. This is because disinfectant needs to remain wet on surfaces for several minutes in order to be effective.

  1. To use disinfectant wipes properly and effectively, first, clean the surface with soap and water.
  2. Then, let the surface dry fully.
  3. Once the surface is dry, it’s ready to wipe with the disinfectant. The surface should be wet with disinfectant for a few minutes (read the product’s label for exact time instructions for effectiveness).

Lastly, do not use the same wipe for different surfaces; dispose of them after one use. Otherwise you risk spreading germs from one surface to another.

Do disinfectant wipes ever go bad?

Actually, yes, they can. They can dry out after being opened if not sealed properly. Also remember that they are pre-moistened, so even they can be susceptible to mold if they dry out. Then you’re just making everything worse. For that reason, don’t keep them in your vehicle, as the heat/cold will destroy their effectiveness in short order. 

Are disinfectant wipes useful against the coronavirus pandemic?

As a matter of fact, they are. Disinfectant wipes are very useful for keeping clean things cleaner. As they are killers of germs and other microbes, they also kill some viruses. Fortunately, coronavirus is one that disinfectants can work against. Remember that wipes are meant to be used in addition to regular, deep cleaning of kitchen and bathroom areas. They can also be used to disinfect small items like keyboards, cell phones, remote controls, and other frequently touched items like doorknobs and light switches.

Can using disinfectant wipes too much be bad?

This is a tough question. After all, disinfectants kill germs and viruses, but it never kills all of them. That’s why labels say their products are 99% effective. It’s certainly possible for the viruses that don’t die to evolve into what are called “superbugs” in some cases. It’s because of the mutation and evolution of viruses that we keep having to find new flu shots, as the old ones don’t work against the newly developing viruses. But the important thing is to stop the spread of the current illness, and disinfectant wipes can be one of the best tools we have for stopping it.