The use of sanitizers and disinfectants is a current hot topic for the following reasons:
To be classified as a sanitizer or disinfectant the product must contain an EPA registered pesticide or a high percentage of alcohol – at least 62%. The use of sanitizers with EPA registered pesticides have been shown to contribute to the increasing problem of antibacterial resistance.
- ABC News – Antibacterial Soaps Concern Experts
- BBC – Antibiotic resistance as Big a Risk as Terrorism
- Nightmare Bacteria Growing Threat – Antibiotic Resistance
The disturbing recent discovery in hospitals that alcohol based sanitizers are creating superbugs was unexpected. Sanitizers using alcohol such as ethyl alcohol (the same alcohol that is in wine, beer and liquor) were thought to not cause a superbug issue because alcohol acts in a completely different manner than a pesticide. Alcohol kills germs within seconds through a mechanical action by physically destroying the cell membrane. Scientists thought that there was no mechanism by which the germs could become resistant to it, but unfortunately, it turns out that some bacteria are quite adaptive and have developed resistance to sanitizers with alcohol.
The discovery that the use of antibacterial products may be weakening our immune systems. Some exposure to germs is good since that allows our immune systems to build up its own resistance.
- Antibacterial Soaps Can Hurt Children’s Immune Systems
- Too Much Hygiene May Affect Immune System
- Dangers of Waterless Hand Soap/Hand Sanitizers from Livestrong
- Children/Hygiene and The Development of Allergies
The EPA registered pesticides penetrate the skin and enter the body and can cause hormonal disruption.
- Scientists Urge UN to take action on Hormone Disruptors in Consumer products and Pesticides
- Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals in Sanitizers
- Beyond Pesticides
The pesticides in personal care products like hand sanitizers and disinfectants are infiltrating our water supply, which also can impact or disrupt hormones.
So, it is important to realize that using a sanitizer or disinfectant does not take care of all germs. This has been shown in study after study because the germs have developed resistance and are not killed. In fact, using just plain soap and water or a cleaning soap product with surfactants like Branch Basics is much more effective than sanitizers/disinfectants at removing ALL GERMS. In addition, “to date, studies have shown that there is no added health benefit for consumers using soaps containing antibacterial ingredients compared with using plain soap.*” (from the CDC website)
Washing hands with a pure soap and water or a cleaner like Branch Basics is the best way to remove germs. Proper hand washing instructions for using a product like Branch Basics to wash away germs according to the CDC are:
- Using a foamer or spray bottle apply Branch Basics liberally to the hands.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of the hands, between the fingers, and under your nails.
- Rub hands together or scrub for at least 20 seconds. Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
- Rinse with clean, running water.
- Dry hands using a clean towel or air dry them
Cleaning the Bathroom
Using Branch Basics in the bathroom removes germs. For best results spray the surface with Branch Basics Bathroom cleaner, let sit a couple of minutes then scrub the toilet with a brush and flush. For cleaning floors and other surfaces, spray Bathroom cleaner and let sit a couple of minutes and wipe with a microfiber or microfiber mop. Microfibers are best because bacteria has an overall negative charge and the positively charged microfiber grabs hold onto the germs and particles and removes them from the surface.
What about cleaning a cutting board where raw meat, chicken, or fish has been cut?
The CDC has done testing that shows conclusively that cleaning with a natural soap or a surfactant based cleaner removes all germs whereas cleaning the same area with a sanitizer or disinfectant leaves resistant germs on the surface. In addition, most of these products have a dwell time and for the most part, consumers aren’t even aware of this factor. In other words, if you have a sanitizer that contains an EPA registered pesticide and you just spray it and wipe it, you are not killing germs. It has to sit there for a period of time to do its work – dwell time is typically 30 seconds to 10 minutes. Germs are forever increasing and mutating, making them harder to eliminate and protect against. So the bottom line is sanitizers and disinfectants add harmful chemicals to the air and surfaces and encourage the spread of resistant superbugs in your home.
Directions for cleaning bacteria from raw meat, chicken, or fish off a cutting board.
- Rinse off all remaining meat, chicken, or fish with hot water.
- Spray cutting board with All Purpose or Bathroom Spray
- Let sit a couple of minutes.
- Scrub with a cleaning brush
- Rinse thoroughly with hot water
Note: If you are still uncomfortable with this – Spray 3% (brown bottle Hydrogen peroxide on the board and let sit a few minutes – rinse with hot water.
Using Vinegar and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide as a Disinfectant
Study shows that Vinegar and 3% Hydrogen Peroxide used in combination (in separate bottles) are more effective at killing germs than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner. Vinegar is good at killing some germs and hydrogen peroxide is better at killing others.
Team Branch Basics and Microfiber with Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide for a Powerful Homemade Disinfectant Team
- Branch Basics All-Purpose or Bathroom Cleaner
- Split fiber Microfiber
- Distilled White Vinegar (5% acidity)
- Hydrogen Peroxide (3% solution – brown bottle)
- A spray nozzle for the brown bottle of peroxide
- A spray bottle for the vinegar (or a spray nozzle for the bottle if it will fit)
Cleaning and Disinfecting Process:
Step 1: Before using the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide, clean the surface first with a microfiber and Branch Basics or soap and water to remove dirt, grease and grime. Most people don’t realize that just spraying a countertop, cutting board, or surface with a disinfectant and wiping it off does not get rid of germs.
- Dirt and grease interfere with germ killing abilities of sanitizers and disinfectants. They should first be removed with soap and water.
- You must also incorporate the dwell time specified on the disinfectant which can be anything from 30 seconds to 30 minutes.
Step 2: Rinse with hot water if surface is a cutting board. Just these first two steps can completely remove germs, but if there is still concern on cutting boards, food, countertops continue.
Step 3: The vinegar and hydrogen peroxide must be in separate bottles – do not combine. Screw a spray nozzle top onto your brown bottle of hydrogen peroxide. Exposure to light breaks down hydrogen peroxide so the brown bottle protects it. Put white distilled vinegar in a separate spray bottle, or find a nozzle that will just fit on your bottle of vinegar
Step 4: Spray the surface with one of the liquids. The order doesn’t matter. You can start with either the vinegar or the peroxide. After spraying, let it sit for 5 – 30 minutes (dwell time), then wipe with a microfiber.
Step 5: Repeat with the other bottle by spraying the surface, letting it sit for 5 – 30 minutes (dwell time), and then wipe with a microfiber.
- CDC Recommendations on Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use
- Mayo Clinic: Hand-washing: Do’s and don’ts
- FDA: Antibacterial Soap? You Can Skip It, Use Plain Soap and Water
- FDA issues final rule on safety and effectiveness of antibacterial soaps
- FDA requests additional information to address data gaps for consumer hand sanitizers