Anti-bacterial cleaners put to the test: Do the products disinfect and kill germs they claim

TULSA, Kan. (KJRH) - Do anti-bacterial cleaners disinfect better than soap and water?

The Food and Drug Administration says there is no evidence that anti-bacterial cleaners are better than regular soap and water. In fact, they may even contain ingredients that pose a long-term health risk.

We decided to put them to the test.

Many homeowners use sprays, wipes or aerosol disinfectants in the kitchen, and Katherine Haskell is no different.

"With three kids, their friends and a dog, it gets pretty dirty here," said Katherine. "I kinda ascribe to the 'little bit of dirt doesn't hurt' but I like a clean kitchen."

Katherine says she wipes down her kitchen counter a couple of times a day, but does that simple swipe, squirt or spray kill bacteria on countertops?

To answer that question, we enlisted the help of the University of Tulsa microbiologist Ahmed Gad.

He collected test samples from a kitchen counter that hadn't been disinfected for two weeks prior to cleaning it with Lysol Disinfectant Wipes, Scrubbing Bubbles Heavy Duty all-purpose cleaner and Great Value Disinfectant Spray.

Did those products pass the germ test?

The before look on the test plates showed the countertop was covered in bacteria before it was cleaned.

But what about after cleaning?

The result of using the Lysol Wipes came back relatively clean, except for some small bacteria growth around the edges.

The result from using the spray was better than the wipes, but the aerosol was almost clear.

Our unscientific test proved the cleaners do disinfect, but with a catch.

You must follow the directions. If not, germs could be left behind.

The Lysol Wipes instruct you to let the area stay wet for 10 minutes to air dry.

The Scrubbing Bubbles directions advise waiting 10 seconds before wiping the surface dry.

The aerosol cleaner should be shaken well and sprayed 6 to 10 inches from the surface until it is thoroughly wet, and allowed to completely air dry.

Most cleaners claim to kill 99.9 percent of the germs, and the products we tested did pass our test, but only when used according to the directions.

The FDA is expected to issue new regulations for anti-bacterial products later this year.

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