We’ve all used cleaning shortcuts at one time or another – when you’re short on time, a quick surface wipe down may seem like the best you can do. But some parts of your home really do need an in-depth clean – and that’s where antibacterial products come in.
Areas such as the kitchen and bathroom are home to millions of germs and bacteria. Most of them are harmless, and some are actually beneficial, but there are some germs we shouldn’t come into contact with – particularly those from waste products or raw food, for example – that can make us ill. Most antibacterial products on the market – wipes, spray, and antibacterial soap – kill roughly 99 percent of these germs and are, therefore, much more effective (and faster) at sanitising environments than regular soap and water.
What Do Antibacterial Wipes and Sprays Do?
Antibacterial products available from stores often contain a combination of chemicals and natural oils that have antibacterial and antifungal properties, making them ideal for killing – or at least reducing – the number of harmful germs and bacteria lurking in the home.
Antibacterial soap usually contains hexachlorophene, a disinfectant, and triclocarban, a substance that slows down cell growth, so that bacteria cannot multiply at its usual rate. Tests have found that these products can significantly reduce the lifespan of bacteria living on household surfaces, with full potency lasting up to two hours. A recent study showed that the use of antibacterial soap on intensive-care patients reduced the likelihood of bacterial infections by 44 percent.
It’s not all about chemicals though: many antibacterial wipes and sprays contain natural oils, such as lavender, citrus, tea tree, and eucalyptus, that also help to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria found around the home.
Which Parts of the House Can Benefit From Antibacterial Products?
Antibacterial products, regardless of their form, can be used throughout the home to keep all surfaces clean and hygienic. We don’t always, however, have time to give every room of the house a thorough daily clean. It’s therefore sensible to prioritise antibacterial product use.
Ensure that the kitchen and bathroom – two well-known germ hotspots – are given regular and thorough attention. Other lower-risk areas, such as bedrooms and the living room, can be cleaned with something like an antibacterial spray on a weekly basis.
Why Focus on Kitchens and Bathrooms?
There are two main reasons why the kitchen and bathroom are two very high-risk areas when it comes to germs:
1) We keep or use bacteria-laden products in these rooms.
- In the kitchen, raw meats, fish, and eggs are known to carry germs, but soft cheeses, fruits, and even vegetables could harbour food-borne viruses. E. coli and salmonella are just two examples of bacteria that can be picked up from food, causing nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea, among other symptoms.
- In the bathroom, waste products also contain many harmful germs – this is the reason it’s vital that we always wash our hands after using the bathroom, and regularly sanitise the toilet flush, basin taps, door handles, and light switches.
2) These are the two rooms of the home that are most likely to become warm and steamy on a regular basis.
- Germs and bacteria thrive in warm environments, so the kitchen and bathroom are the perfect breeding grounds for bacteria.
Antibacterial Spray, Soap, or Wipes: Which is Best?
As long as a product contains antibacterial and antifungal agents, such as those mentioned above, it really doesn’t matter – in terms of effectiveness – which type of antibacterial product you choose for your home. The only exception is antibacterial soap, which is best used for hand washing, rather than for wiping surfaces, but otherwise it’s simply down to personal taste and practicalities. Here’s how many homeowners choose to use each product:
- Keep an antibacterial soap near to your bathroom basin. It doesn’t matter whether you choose a liquid or a solid bar, as research shows there’s very little chance of germs transferring from a contaminated bar soap.
- Also keep an antibacterial soap near to your kitchen basin. If you’ve been handling raw meat, it’s sensible to wash your hands in the kitchen rather than opening doors on the way to the bathroom.
- For times when you’re away from a basin, consider carrying around an alcohol hand sanitizer that can reduce germs without the need for soap and water.
- Antibacterial wipes are ideal for wiping down flat surfaces such as kitchen worktops and counters.
- These wipes can also be used in refrigerators for mopping up food and drink spillages, or for just giving the fridge a regular clean.
- You can often purchase antibacterial wipes in small packets that can easily fit into a handbag or pocket. They’re very useful to have while out and about, especially for wiping down tables in restaurants before you eat.
- Antibacterial spray is the perfect product for cleaning those hard to reach areas, or tricky areas such as door handles and toilet flushes.
- Antibacterial spray can also easily be used on flat surfaces such as kitchen counters, although you’ll need to ensure you also have a cloth to hand, which is why many prefer the convenience of the antibacterial wipes.
For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.