Antibacterial products: How do they work, and where should I use them?

Wondering about antibacterial sprays, soaps, or wipes? What is in them, and why are they effective? Find out all about antibacterial products here.

Updated

We’re all guilty of doing a half-hearted job once in a while when it comes to household chores. Whether we messily fold clothes before putting them in drawers, vacuum around obstacles rather than moving them out of the way, or simply wipe dust with a cloth rather than using polish, we’ve all used shortcuts at one time or another. But some parts of your home really do need an in-depth clean.

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 – antibacterial wipes, spray, and antibacterial soap – kill roughly 99 percent of these germs and are, therefore, much more effective at sanitising environments than regular soap and water.

Antibacterial products are particularly vital when it comes to cleaning your bathroom and toilet. Using a good quality toilet cleaner and floor cleaner – we like the Domex range – can not only prevent the transfer of germs, but also ensure that the room continues to smell fresh.

What Do Antibacterial Sprays and Wipes 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.

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 Wipes, Soaps or Sprays?

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 Use Antibacterial Soap in Kitchens and Bathrooms?

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 sanitize 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:

Antibacterial Soap

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

Key Steps:

  1. Use antibacterial spray to clean those tricky areas like door handles and toilet flushes.
  2. Antibacterial wipes are perfect to use on the go but are also great for wiping kitchen surfaces.
  3. Antibacterial hand soap should be used after handling raw meat.

Originally published