What You Need to Know

Disinfectant cleaners seem to be an easy solution for wiping up messes in the kitchen, the bathroom and even in the classroom. In fact, disinfectant wipes have been on students’ school supplies lists for some time now.

However, as new research emerges, it seems that these disinfectant solutions aren’t as innocent as they appear. WCVB news reported that a Massachusetts agency urged elementary schools to refrain from using cleaning wipes in the classrooms for fear that children are being exposed to harsh chemicals.

If you’re unsure whether it’s time to ditch your cleaning wipes, check out these three reasons to consider limiting the use of disinfectants in your home.

Certain Chemicals in Disinfectant Cleaners Can Trigger Health Concerns


Check the back of disinfectant cleaners for a list of ingredients to search for chemicals called quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as “quats.” These compounds have been known to irritate skin and lungs. Disinfectants containing these chemicals most often include a warning stating to keep out of reach of children.

A Sterile Environment Isn’t Necessarily Good for Your Family


It’s important to remember that there is a very big difference between cleaning and disinfecting a surface. Bacteria can be removed from a surface without resorting to the use of harmful chemicals to kill them. The overuse of disinfecting chemicals can actually promote antibacterial-resistant bacteria, also known as superbugs. Though it hardly needs to be said, superbugs are not good for your family.

Research Doesn’t Support the Claims


Products labeled “antibacterial” actually aren’t better for you, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently banned several antibacterial ingredients, including triclosan, which has been shown to interfere with hormones in animal studies.

The next time you’re reaching for a cleaning wipe after cooking dinner for your family, give these facts a second thought and decide if a disinfectant is really needed. But how can you avoid too much contact with harsh chemicals? Here are a few options.

  • Choose safe cleaning alternatives. High-quality microfiber cleaning cloths are a great alternative since all you need is water to lift up dirt, bacteria, grime and stains from surfaces.
  • Use disinfectants only when necessary and be sure to follow proper instructions, as most cleaners don’t disinfect with a single wipe. Some cleaners instruct users to soak the cleaning surface with a wipe for 4 – 10 minutes in order to be effective.
  • Always follow safety instructions when it’s necessary to use wipes, and make sure never to flush them after you’ve finished using them.
  • If you have little ones helping clean up messes, make sure that they do not handle any disinfecting cleaner that contains a warning label.


Did you know that most disinfecting cleaners suggest washing your hands with warm water and soap after each use? Just be sure to lather up with plain soap and water and skip the triclosan-laden “antibacterial” soaps.

comment_2Do you have a DIY solution for keeping your home clean without harmful chemicals? Share your answer with other concerned moms in a comment below!
Does your child’s school still ask you to supply disinfectant wipes?

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