8 Myths About Disinfecting, Busted by Cleaning Experts

Disinfectant wipes for granite and stone

The amount of information swirling around the most effective cleaning (and sanitizing and disinfecting) practices can be dizzying – and often misleading. What is probably true is that your home and the surfaces it contains are not thoroughly cleaned than you think.

While cleaning strategies are in abundance, one way to take the guesswork out of the equation is to store products that are one or two punches, like Weiman granite and stone disinfectant wipes. But you should also know how Use the appropriately.

To eliminate the most common misconceptions about disinfection and disinfection, we consulted with a resident cleaning expert. Carolyn Forte, Director of the Appliances and Cleaning Products Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute to help us break some cleaning myths.


Myth: Disinfection is the same as disinfection.

While commonly used as synonyms, cleaning, sanitizing, and sanitizing are three separate things, says Forte. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), cleaning removes visible dirt, dust and debris from a surface by washing and rinsing, usually with soap and water, but it does not automatically disinfect.

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Sanitize reduces the risk of disease by reducing some bacteria identified on a product label.

And if you want to be really thorough, you have to disinfect, which kills most bacteria and viruses identified on a product label.

Myth: All cleaning products disinfect.

Check your products, says Forte. Read the fine print on the label carefully. If you’re still not sure, look for the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number on the label, Forte says. Then type that number into the agency database for more details on the type of bacteria and viruses in its reticle.

Myth: If a disinfectant or disinfectant is effective enough, it can cut through layers of dirt.

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To properly disinfect or disinfect a dirty surface, you first need a quick wipe. Always check the instructions on the package for details. Weiman granite and stone disinfectant wipes, for example, suggests cleaning (soap and water will do just fine!) all visibly soiled surfaces before disinfection.

Myth: Herbal cleansers don’t work.

When used correctly, plant-based disinfectants can be just as effective as chemical cleaners – they might just work slower, Forte says. But, like chemical-based cleaners, not all formulas are created the same. Again, look for the EPA approved ones and carefully follow the directions on the package.

Myth: vinegar can kill germs.

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According to the CDC and NSF (a public health and safety organization), although vinegar is a suitable cleanser – remember, that means it is adequate for removing anything visible from a surface – cleaning products made from Vinegar and vinegar are not registered with the EPA as disinfectants. In addition, the effectiveness of these household solutions against germs and viruses has not been proven. To make sure you’re disinfecting properly, opt for registered products instead.

Myth: A solution of bleach and water can be used for days or weeks to disinfect.

So you made a bleach and water solution to get all those dirty spots out of your home, but ended up with an extra? Launch it. (You can safely dispose of these small amounts of bleach by pouring it down the sink while the water is running.) “A fresh solution should be made every time you want to use it,” says Forte. “Once mixed with water, bleach loses its effectiveness after about a day.”

Myth: Sanitizers work instantly.

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Good disinfection takes time. Whatever product you use, it’s critical to check the product’s directions for how long hard, non-porous surfaces need to stay wet to kill germs most effectively, says Forte. Weiman granite and stone disinfectant wipes, for example, kill 99.9 percent of the germs and bacteria touted on the label, including the H1N1 influenza virus and respiratory syncytial (RSV) – but only if the surface in question remains wet for four minutes.

Myth: Soft surfaces, like pillows and upholstery, can be disinfected.

“Disinfectants only work on hard, non-porous surfaces,” says Forte. “Many are safe to use on soft surfaces and kill germs, but they disinfect, not disinfect.” Remember: disinfectants reduce the risk of exposure, but not as completely as disinfectants.


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