We’ve All Been Using Clorox Cleaning Wipes Wrong, Apparently

Clorox Wipes may have been taken for granted for many years but in light of the coronavirus, it seems as if they are the hottest item on the market. In fact, they rank right up there with toilet paper and fresh fruit and vegetables. Now that you use them regularly, you may wonder how you ever got along without them.

When you really stop to think about it, Clorox wipes can be used for so many different reasons. They are used for countertops, lamps, doorknobs, faucets, and almost everything in between. The one thing that they’re not supposed to be used on is the skin, although I have to say that many people have been wiping down their hands with Clorox wipes anyway.

As is typically the case, there is a gap between what we do and what we should do and that is true when using Clorox wipes. Is it possible that there are certain surfaces that could be damaged with the use of these magical wipes? Could the bleach harm furnishings or perhaps other items in the home? Some experts weigh in on how to use these wipes.

First of all, you might be shocked to learn that there isn’t any bleach in Clorox wipes. In fact, a rep for Clorox said that the wipes “actually don’t have any bleach in them, so they are safe on all hard, non-porous surfaces.” 

It is important to realize that any surface protected by a sealant may not be the best thing to wipe down with Clorox wipes. Some of the ingredients in the wipes can be bad for the sealant. More specifically, citric acid can be harmful to many types of sealants that are used on granite countertops. If you are cleaning granite, stick with hot water and soap.

You also should know how to use these wipes properly to get the most disinfecting power out of them. More than likely, you aren’t using them properly.

According to a microbiologist and VP of research and development, Dr. Ivan Ong, they must be used the right way. He told Apartment Therapy “The main issue with wipes that disinfect is they have to be used precisely as the label instructs. For example, the use instructions for Clorox’s disinfecting wipes stipulates that you should ‘Wipe surface, using enough wipes for the treated surface to remain visibly wet for four minutes. Let surface dry.’ Many users in a household rarely time themselves for four minutes while ensuring the surface is wet.”

I don’t know about you, but I never wait four minutes after wiping down any surface. In addition, he says that many people use these wipes over a large surface and continue wiping until it is looking clean and dry. “What this might do,” he cautioned, “is spread germs around the surface.”

Dr. William Schaffner gives us some reassurance that we can continue to use Clorox wipes. He is the chair of the Department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. His recommendation is to “use it and lose it” when using Clorox wipes. In other words, wipe down a single surface and then toss the wipe.

In the end, you can continue using Clorox wipes as long as you want, provided you follow the instructions on the label. Only use them on hard, nonporous surfaces. If you have bent the rules in the past, you likely haven’t ruined anything but it’s best to change your ways before moving forward.

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