How effective is bleach as a disinfectant?

Posted by Steve Reble on

 

Christmas of 2018 was awful.

Everyone in our house got sick with the stomach flu, and it was not pretty. 

This winter Mandy and I were determined not repeat that nightmare and so she cracked open a bottle of bleach.  This was a big deal - we never use bleach to clean our house - but it's the most effective way to kill germs.

Or so we thought.

Now that we're in the middle of the Coronavirus Pandemic, Mandy's been away with the kids and I was all set to clean our house from top to bottom... with bleach.

That is until this quote from a National Geographic article popped into my newsfeed:

Using bleach “is like using a bludgeon to swat a fly,”...

"...says Jane Greatorex, a virologist at Cambridge University. It can also corrode metal and lead to other respiratory health problems if inhaled too much over time.

“With bleach, if you put it on a surface with a lot of dirt, that [dirt] will eat up the bleach,” says Lisa Casanova, an environmental health scientist at Georgia State University. She and other experts instead recommend using milder soaps, like dish soap, to easily sanitize a surface indoors and outdoors."

Dish Soap is as good as bleach?

Who knew?  Clearly not me, and the embarrassing part is that we actually make Dish Soap
There's just something about Bleach that seems so powerful. Is it the harsh smell that gives it the appearance of strength or maybe it's years of marketing?  Either way, I think we all have it in our heads that bleach, lysol and other disinfectants are the best or only choice.

Maybe it's time we challenged our assumptions of what makes things clean?

Here's what that National Geographic article had to say:
"Soap works so effectively because its chemistry pries open the coronavirus’s exterior envelope and cause it to degrade. These soap molecules then trap tiny fragments of the virus, which are washed away in water." (Sarah Gibbons, National GeographicMARCH 18, 2020)
So there you have it, dish soap may actually be as effective (and nicer smelling) option to rid your home of the Coronavirus. 
Guess I'll have to stop procrastinating, crack open another pod of dish soap and start cleaning... or maybe not.
Want to check out our Dish Soap? - CLICK HERE.

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Comments


  • Love your wax food wraps, so am eager to try this dish soap. Have cancelled all plastic bottles for 2021!

    Home Paulsen on
  • I use mostly dish soap and vinagar for cleaning since I had my kids. I have a steam mop and I just occasionally use lysol and windex.

    Julie Shea on
  • I agree with the use of soap and water in our homes instead of harsh cleaners with harmful fumes that have been cruelly tested on animals. It’s all about marketing and those companies making money! They exploit not only innocent animals with their useless testing, but also our fears which are illogical. Soap and water kills the virus. It’s all we need.

    Wendy Hollis on
  • For floors and surfaces in my home I rotate between vinegar and ammonia, since nothing can live in them, and they are good solvents for most dirt. I don’t want to kill healthy bacteria, or release bleach into the waterways, altho sometimes I do use it but no longer routinely in my laundry for instance. Using the oxoclean (peroxide) products seem to work well in the washer. That said, I’m not fighting pathogens like one would in a medical/vet office.

    bonita richman on
  • Years ago I worked at a small animal clinic with a very high volume of clients. The clinic used many different medical grade disinfectants and cleaners that were recommended by the different pharmaceutical representatives and the were 90-96% effective on some viruses. They did not kill all viruses and especially the parvovirus . Bleach was the only cleaner that was 99% effective on all viruses and especially parvovirus. To battle this very highly contagious virus we would use a mixture of soap, bleach and water to wipe down the stainless steel exam tables after each clients visit. The tiled floors and walls were also washed with this 99 % effective solution. The head veterinarian in the practice stated that this was the only disinfectant that was so effective in reducing transmission to clients coming in with very young pets.
    I have always used a bleach /soap solution for cleaning my bathrooms and kitchen due to this experience and the knowledge .

    Angelika Bondar on
  • Soap REMOVES dirt bacteria, germs, … providing a SURFACE is scrubbed w/ soap, AND wiped away and Dried. i still use bleach as NOTHING SURVIVES BLEACH … not the AIDS virus, not the cold virus, and i’ll bet not this iteration of the Corona virus … PERIOD. i also use ETHYL alcohol to wipe off surfaces, not – Isopropyl.

    ctg on
  • Hydrogen Peroxide. Non-toxic and effective. By concentrate, dilute in a glass spray bottle.

    Jeff Friedman on
  • I have used bleach & bleach products for over 50 years, in my home. I love the scent, but more importantly I love the job it does. I always dilute it when using it. It works !

    SUsan BUllock on
  • Soap is NOT a disinfectant. Soap clears away germs but does not get rid of them. The quotes in your article are accurate but the information you are pushing is flat out wrong.

    Teresa on
  • I hate to dis your product, guys, but I’m pretty sure your product, nor any ‘dish detergent’ is going to get the job done. ‘Soap’, in this case, means ‘Sodium Tallowate’, such as Ivory, though Dial should work, as well. You need something based on fat (the ‘tallow’ part) to kill the virii…

    William Peterson on

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