The Dangers Of Clorox Wipes Finally Explained
We’ve come a long way since the days of polluted water systems and once-yearly bathing. We’re now aware of how cleanliness can affect our health and environment, and how easily germs and bacteria can multiply and spread. According to research, viruses are so small that “billions can fit on the head of a pin”, so you could see the potential risk in that.
Our modern awareness is certainly a change for the better, which is evidenced by the fact that the average life expectancy for women in the modern world is 81.2 years, and 76.4 years for men. By contrast, average life expectancy in the middle ages for women was 43.6 years, and 48.7 years for men. Much of this improvement is due to our practice of disinfecting.
Disinfecting means to clean something in order to kill any bacteria. And it’s important because it’s what stops the spread of viruses and diseases, helping to keep us safe. A 2014 study which measured germs present on fomites, or inanimate surfaces, found that “the use of a disinfectant wipe greatly reduced the microbial load on fomites”. However, there is a concept of too much of a good thing. We’ve become obsessed with disinfecting, to the point that we are now facing new challenges like peanut allergies. Our immune systems are no longer busy fighting off typhus – now, they’re attacking innocent nuts instead.
And this isn’t only from bathing more frequently. There are now disinfectants in everything – hand soaps, toothpaste, and cleaning wipes. But do we honestly need that much disinfectant? And if we do, how do we know what products are safe to use and which we can do without?
What Are Clorox Wipes?
Clorox is the brand name of these disinfectant wipes. Clorox wipes are made to be used on surfaces that typically attract germs, like tables, sinks, light switches, trash cans and handles. Clorox claims that their wipes kill off 99% of viruses, bacteria, and germs while making your surfaces look cleaner at the same time. They sound great, and they work. But are Clorox wipes really the best option for your home or office?
Are Clorox Wipes Safe For Skin?
For a product that proudly advertises that it’s safe to be used on toys, you want to make sure you’re really making an informed decision when you choose to buy Clorox wipes – or any product, for that matter. So, are Clorox wipes safe for skin?
The reason you would use disinfecting wipes is because you want to kill germs and bacteria. The chemicals in these wipes not only remove germs, but actually kill them off. Sounds intense? It is. And unfortunately, those same chemicals can cause bad reactions when they come into contact with your skin.
You might not even make the connection between Clorox wipes and your reaction, especially if it’s only mild. Mild reactions to Clorox wipes include things like red, itchy, or peeling skin. You might break out in hives or suddenly find yourself suffering from flu-like symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing and congestion, or an itchy nose or mouth.
But there can be more severe allergic reactions to Clorox wipes as well. Coughing, difficulty breathing, nausea with or without vomiting, or swelling of the throat or face all point to a severe and life-threatening allergic reaction. If you suffer from asthma, using Clorox wipes can trigger an asthma attack.
Because the chemicals in the wipes are going to kill off living organisms, they need to be powerful – and this can be dangerous to people who are sensitive. Always wear gloves when using Clorox wipes, and only use them when really necessary.
Top 5 Healthy Alternatives To Clorox Wipes
A 2000 study assessing the efficacy of both commercial disinfectants and natural products found that “the natural products were less effective than commercial household disinfectants”. Yet there’s basically no product out there that’s as healthy as making your own would be. Here at Maple Holistics, we’ve brought you loads of DIY recipes, from DIY foundation to DIY dog shampoo. Now, we offer you the top 5 healthy alternatives to Clorox wipes – and yes, you can make all of them from the comfort of your own home!
1. Hot Soapy Water And Paper Towels
Yes, honestly – hot soapy water and paper towels. Think about the purpose of disinfecting. It’s to kill germs and bacteria. If you just took off your tablecloth and want to wipe down your table before putting on a clean tablecloth, chances are there’s not really that much bacteria that you need to kill. Just dampen a few paper towels with hot, soapy water, and wipe it down. Much easier, and definitely healthier!
In a world where we tend to disinfect like it’s going out of style, we need to sometimes stop and think: do we need to actually disinfect, or simply clean? Cleaning where it’s needed – instead of unnecessarily disinfecting – can help boost your immune system and allow the good bacteria (that we need in order to live healthily) to thrive and keep us in top form.
2. Baking Soda And Vinegar
I’ve used baking soda and vinegar on my sinks and taps, and let me tell you, it really works! Plus, you probably have them sitting around in your pantry anyway. You don’t have to go out to the store to buy a new cleaning product. Convenience is the name of the game!
Vinegar has mild disinfecting properties, so you can use it on surfaces like your bathroom tap or shower head. Mix together vinegar and baking soda until it forms a paste. Scrub it over the surfaces you want to clean, and leave it on for a few minutes. (You can use this to remove rust as well – just leave it on for longer, at least a half hour.)
Scrub off the mixture with warm water, and marvel at your beautiful, gleaming bathroom surfaces!
3. DIY All-Purpose Spray
This DIY all-purpose spray is perfect for when you want to clean off your kitchen, bathroom or other surfaces. The essential oils are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial – plus, they’ll give you that amazing, clean scent without any of the chemicals.
- 16-oz spray bottle
- 2 cups distilled water
- 2 tablespoons castile soap (or up to ¼ cup, for a soapier solution)
- 15 drops lavender, peppermint OR orange essential oil
- 15 drops lemon essential oil
Have all of the materials ready in front of you. To make the spray, first pour the water into the spray bottle. Then add the soap and essential oils, and shake gently to combine the ingredients.
Make sure to shake the bottle before each use. Spray down the surface you want to clean, and wipe them using a damp cloth (to avoid leaving that soapy residue behind). That’s it! A clean, healthy way to clean your table, chairs or counter tops. Not to mention, it’s pretty budget-friendly as well!
4. DIY Cleaning Wipes
Okay, I get it. Sometimes you want an actual wipe, right? You don’t want to use a spray. And that’s okay. Because luckily for you, making your own chemical-free DIY cleaning wipes at home couldn’t be easier.
- A soft cloth, cut into squares (you can even use an old T-shirt)
- A glass jar
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 10-15 drops essential oil (such as tea tree, lemon, lavender, or grapefruit)
First, combine all of the liquid ingredients. Then stack the cloth squares in the jar. You can also roll them up or fold them if you want to feel like you’re using “real” wipes. Next, pour your solution evenly over your cloths, and shake the jar to ensure your wipes are properly saturated. Then close the lid on your jar, and store it in a cool and dry place. Whenever you need to wipe something down, just open the lid, pull one out, and get scrubbing!
These wipes are reusable. You can wash them after each use. Then just make another batch of the solution, pour over the cloths, shake, and you’re good to go.
5. DIY Thyme Disinfecting Spray
The annoying thing about using vinegar is that while it is effective, its disinfecting abilities are not quite as potent as a commercial product’s. Plus, it smells, well, you know, like vinegar. So give this DIY thyme disinfecting spray a try. It uses rubbing alcohol instead of vinegar, which makes it a stronger germ killer, and doesn’t leave behind any unwanted scent. You’re welcome!
- 20 drops thyme essential oil
- 1 oz rubbing alcohol
- 8-oz spray bottle
- Water, to fill bottle
To make the spray, pour both the essential oil and the rubbing alcohol into your prepared bottle. Shake the bottle to mix the ingredients, and then fill the rest of the bottle with water. You can use this spray on kitchen, bathroom and laundry surfaces, or any other place in your house that needs a little disinfecting.
I remember once reading that back in the days when people were ignorant about hygiene, surgeons used to perform operations without washing (never mind disinfecting or sterilizing) the tools between each surgery. Thankfully, nowadays, not only are surgery tools thoroughly sterilized, but our homes, schools and offices are now far more sanitary thanks to disinfectants and other hygiene practices.
Still, just because something has a good side to it, does not mean it doesn’t also have a bad side. Clorox wipes may kill bacteria and viruses, but they can also lead to allergic reactions and can be harsh on the skin. Not to mention, you probably don’t want you baby ingesting all those chemicals you just wiped down his toy with.
So stay safe, and try the DIY approach. You’ll be surprised at how effective DIY products can be – and also how much fun they can be to make! It’s really satisfying to use something you made yourself and see the sparkling effects after you’ve finished using it.
If you are working in a place where they insist on using Clorox wipes, make sure to always wear a plastic glove when wiping down surfaces so that the wipe doesn’t touch your skin. Are you passionate about living a healthier lifestyle in general? Then head on over to our blog and discover our tips, recipes and advice on all aspects of a healthy and natural lifestyle. Enjoy!