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- With the rise of infection from the measles virus as well as the usual cold and flu viruses, protecting your family is more crucial than ever.
- While there isn’t just one product that will easily disinfect everything in your home, we’ve put together the best disinfecting cleaners for everything from clothes to counters and athletic gear.
- We found the Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray to be the best disinfectant for surfaces as it’s safe to use around food.
- Other best household disinfectants include the Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, Clorox Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes, and Method Antibacterial Toilet Cleaner.
The world can be a germy place and as we interact with others, we share bacteria. Some bacteria are actually good for our body systems but other, viral strains like measles, flu, and colds can be dangerous. And, fungal infections like athlete’s foot, while not life-threatening, are pretty uncomfortable.
To help combat against them, there are products available that do a great job of killing bacteria. Disinfecting cleaners come in many forms and you are sure to find one that fits your needs. You may see the words "antibacterial," "sanitizing," or "disinfecting," which are used interchangeably by many companies. But take time to look for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number that ensures the product has met EPA requirements for killing germs. If there is no number, you’re just wasting your time and money.
Key ingredients to also look for are pine oil, quaternary ammonium compounds, sodium hypochlorite, phenols, and ethanol. Different active ingredients kill different types of bacteria. A good disinfecting cleaner will list which bacteria, fungi, and viruses it is intended to kill.
With a young grandson, I’m particularly concerned about all the germs he brings home from school. So, I’ve been testing disinfectant cleaners on a regular basis. I’m not a microbiologist, so I rely on the EPA ratings about killing specific bacteria. But along with what I use in my own home, I’ve been testing products for decades as a home economist for companies and publications. I am giving you the disinfecting products that are the easiest to use, least damaging to surfaces, and the best value.
Read on in the slides below to discover our top picks to disinfect nearly every surface and fabric in your home.
Here are the best disinfecting cleaners you can buy in 2019:
- Best disinfecting cleaner for kitchen counters: Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray
- Best disinfecting cleaner for laundry: Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive
- Best disinfecting spray for nonwashable goods: Lysol Disinfectant Spray
- Best disinfecting wipes: Clorox Ultra Clean Disinfecting Wipes
- Best disinfecting cleaner for toilet bowls: Method Antibacterial Toilet Cleaner
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best disinfecting spray overall
Why you’ll love it: Bacteria that cause food-borne illnesses are quite common. With Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray you can kill bacteria without needing to rinse counters to remove the cleaner.
Salmonella and E. coli are just two of the bacteria that are common in our food sources, among the many other germs on our hands that we risk bringing into the kitchen. While all of the EPA-registered disinfectants will kill those bacteria if used properly, they require an extra step of rinsing if used around food preparation areas. Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray eliminates that rinsing step.
With a rapid kill time of only 30 seconds, the product is also quick drying. With the designation of a Safer Choice Product by the EPA (registration number 84368-1-84150), it is safe to touch nearly instantly. Simply spray on a cutting board, baby’s crib railing, or pet’s chew toy and you can use it safely without rinsing.
While it doesn’t pretend to deep-clean surfaces, it is safe to use on plastics, metal, granite, sealed wood, and upholstery to kill germs, thanks to its patented ethyl alcohol technology. While it works perfectly to disinfect toys and every room in my home, I use it frequently on kitchen counters, door and cabinet hardware, and appliance handles and touchpads.
First introduced to the mass market in 2016, the product is offered in 32-ounce spray bottles and in a 1-gallon jug that can be used to refill spray containers. If you would prefer an unscented version, try Purell Professional Foodservice Surface Sanitizer.
With more than 100 reviews on Amazon, it has a 4.4-star rating. As Kelsey stated, "If you are looking for a heavy-duty cleaner, this is not it … but if you are looking for a great disinfectant, you’ve found just what you need!"
Because it isn’t a general consumer product, it may be harder to find at your local store. However, you can easily order it online.
Pros: No rinsing needed, safe to use around food, kills 99.9% of bacteria, designated as an EPA Safer Choice product
Cons: Not readily available in all mass-market stores
Buy Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Spray in a three-pack of 32-ounce bottles for $13.95 on Amazon
The best disinfecting cleaner for laundry
Why you’ll love it: Bacteria can cling to fabrics for several hours after exposure and athlete’s foot fungus continues to multiply in our damp clothes hamper. If you are looking for one product that will sanitize your laundry and not damage your clothes, Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive is your best bet.
While most viruses and bacteria are transmitted during human-to-human contact, some can be transmitted from inanimate objects like clothes. Sanitizing laundry is particularly important if someone in your home is ill or has a compromised immune system. Healthcare workers and anyone working with young children should also take precautions, especially during any community healthcare crisis.
We’ve all heard that hot water kills germs. That’s not always true and the water in our clothes washers don’t reach the necessary temperature anyway, and many fabrics simply can’t stand up to hot water. What to do?
Chlorine bleach is an effective disinfectant but it can’t be used on colored clothes or on synthetic fabrics safely. It’s time for Lysol Laundry Sanitizer Additive (EPA registration number 777-128). This product contains a phenolic disinfectant that is safe to use in any water temperature, in both standard and high-efficiency machines, with any detergent, and on any washable fabric.
I simply add it to the rinse cycle and make sure that the cycle is set for at least 16 minutes. To be effective, the product and water must be in contact with the fabrics for a period of time, so be sure to follow the bottle directions carefully. The clothes come out feeling soft and lightly scented with the Lysol Crisp Linen fragrance.
I recommend it for any clothing worn close to the body, children’s clothes, and bed linens to protect against possible cross-contamination. Of the more than 500 reviewers on Amazon.com, 68% have given the product 5 stars.
Pros: Comes in three fresh scents, easy-to-use, kills 99.9 percent of bacteria on fabric, no chlorine bleach
Cons: Does not come in a dye and scent-free formula for those with sensitive skin
The best disinfecting spray for nonwashable goods
Why you’ll love it: Available in a dozen scents and a top performer, Lysol Disinfectant Spray kills 99.9% of bacteria on fabrics and hard surfaces.
When a family member was sick with the flu or a cold, did he stay in bed or wander out to the couch, use the TV remotes, and head to the kitchen to grab a snack from the refrigerator? If it’s the latter, he probably left some bacteria for everyone else.
That’s why you need a good disinfecting spray like Lysol (EPA registration number 777-127). This is not just an air-freshener: It contains the ingredients necessary to kill bacteria and is safe to use on fabrics and hard surfaces.
The key to proper protection is to cover the surfaces with the mist and allow them to remain wet for 30-seconds or up to 10 minutes. The active ingredients in the spray need time to work. Drying times for a specific virus are listed on the container. If you are spraying surfaces that will be used for food preparation, they should be rinsed with clean water after the Lysol has dried. The same applies to toys that children might put in their mouths.
With more than 400 reviews of the Crisp Linen scent on Amazon.com, 92% rate it as 4 or 5 stars. Reviewer Shalom says it all: "Am a lifelong user of Lysol products. Can’t say enough how great they are for disinfecting. Colds, flu, you name it … it gets it. Crisp Linen scent is refreshingand& gives the area used a nice clean fresh scent."
If Crisp Linen is not your thing, there are 11 other scents to choose from to protect your family.
Pros: Disinfects fabrics and hard surfaces, kills 99.9% of bacteria, available in a dozen fragrances
Cons: Not available in an unscented formula, surfaces used for food preparation and children’s toys must be rinsed with water before use
Buy Lysol Disinfecting Spray, Crisp Linen Scent in a two-count package (38-ounces) for $10.54 on Amazon
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