10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (2023)

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    10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (1)Kimberly HollandUpdated: Oct. 14, 2022

      Antibacterial wipes are a time-crunched cleaner's best friend—but not when it comes to these cleaning jobs.

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      Don’t waste your wipes

      As people around the world become vastly more attentive to cleaning, they’re buying antibacterial wipes as fast as retailers can keep them stocked. People are using them to wipe down everything, in the hopes that it’ll make their homes a little cleaner and safer. And, of course, we get it—they’re certainly easy to use. But while they’re a great cleaning tool, there are a few times when you’re far better off choosing something else. Of course, we still love wipes under the right circumstances—and here’s why Clorox wipes are so good at killing germs.

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (3)gorodphoto/Shutterstock

      Children’s toys

      When you wipe a surface with an antibacterial wipe, you see a gratifying smudge of grime on the white rag. What you don’t see is what’s left behind—chemicals. “The major reason that I believe people should not use antibacterial wipes as an everyday go-to wipe is that we are seeing an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” says chemist John Manolas, co-owner of Whyte Gate. “Some of the blame for this phenomenon goes to antibacterial soaps and wipes. Most surfaces will probably be equally germ-free after regular cleaning with soap and water or other household cleaners,” he says. Manolas also stresses that parents shouldn’t use the wipes on children’s toys because kids are likely to put the toys in their mouths.

      What to use instead:Vinegar and water. Add half a cup of vinegar to a gallon of water and wipe down the toys with the solution. If the toy is waterproof, you should soak it in the vinegar solution for at least 15 minutes to kill any bacteria. Rinse it thoroughly and let it air-dry. It’s a great non-toxic way to clean toys. One note: If the toys still smell like vinegar once they’re dry, make sure to rinse them again. Here are more household uses for vinegar you probably never knew about.

      (Video) 10 Mistakes You're Probably Making With Antibacterial Wipes

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (4)Direk Yiamsaensuk/Shutterstock

      Anything that absorbs moisture

      To be effective, antibacterial solutions often need to sit for several minutes to kill bacteria. If the surface is soft—foam or carpet, for example—it won’t stay wet long enough to be truly effective. If you have to use multiple wipes to achieve the result, the moisture could damage the surface. If you want to know how long your surfaces must be wet to be sterilized, look at the bottle, says Jason Courtney, owner of the Office Pride in downtown Pensacola. “Every kind of wipe has a ‘kill claim’ on the back, which indicates what it will kill in a certain amount of time. In a lab, wipes are tested for everything from hepatitis B to influenza to staphylococcus,” he says. “If the wipe kills the germ, it can be listed on the container. How long the surface must remain wet to kill the germ is spelled out on the container, too.”

      What to use instead: Hydrogen peroxide.There are all sorts of ways to clean your carpet that won’t damage it. Of course, make sure to vacuum your carpet, but if you’re targeting specific stains, hydrogen peroxide is a good catch-all. For this solution, combine a teaspoon of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (a higher concentration might bleach your carpets) with a little cream of tartar or a dab of non-gel toothpaste. (Always do a spot test first.) Make sure you also brush up on all of the handy ways to remove carpet stains.

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (5)Switlana Symonenko/Shutterstock

      Kitchen counters

      If you think a swipe of an antibacterial wipe on a kitchen counter that just had raw chicken on it is enough to keep your family safe, think again. “Kitchen counters are hot spots for germs and bacteria, and cleaning them using only antibacterial wipes isn’t nearly enough,” says Lily Cameron, a cleaning professional and supervisor at Fantastic Services.

      What to use instead:When you need to disinfect your counters, Cameron says, it’s better to use soapy hot water and a sponge. Just make sure you’re properly cleaning (or frequently replacing) your sponge, one of the germiest items in your kitchen.

      (Video) The Dirty Truth About Disinfecting Wipes

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (6)Elena Elisseeva/Shutterstock

      Bathroom countertops and fixtures

      Your bathroom sees a lot of bacteria day in and day out, and an antibacterial wipe isn’t going to do much to keep bacteria growth at bay. “To kill bacteria effectively, a disinfectant needs to stay on the surface for about five to ten minutes,” Cameron says. “Cleaning with antibacterial wipes leaves the surface dry less than five minutes, for sure. Overusing such wipes may expose your family to harmful chemicals without the germ-destroying benefit.”

      What to use instead: Comet Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner. This is one of thecleaning products professional house cleaners swear bybecause it powers through soap scum, hard water, and whatever else your bathroom can throw at it. And yet it’s gentle and won’t harm your surfaces. Talk about a win-win!

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (7)Ivaylo Ivanov/Shutterstock

      Hardwood surfaces

      The chemicals and other ingredients in antibacterial wipes can do damage to some of your home’s surfaces over time. This includes hardwoods, which might lose their shine after repeated scrubs. They can also be damaged by moisture. “Wood surfaces need to dry quickly, but wipes leave the surfaces relatively wet,” says Alberto Navarrete, general manager of Frisco Maids in Dallas, “so that is counterproductive.”

      Greg Shepard, founder of Dallas Maids home cleaning, adds: “With wood, less is more. Wood floors, furniture, and wood trimming should not be cleaned often with products because with frequent cleanings, the finish dulls over time. This goes double for bacterial wipes because they contain alcohol, which damages wood’s finish.”

      What to use instead: Pine-Solwillsafely clean wood surfaces and leave them shining. Plus, it’s got a disinfectant component that’ll keep things germ-free. By the way, here’s the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (8)Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

      The whole kitchen

      Tempted to take out a wipe from the canister and quickly move from your stove to your fridge to your microwave to your sink? Stop yourself. Antibacterial wipes are not meant to clean large areas. In fact, you may make a bacteria problem worse if you use one for multiple surfaces. “Never use one antibacterial wipe to clean more than one surface,” Cameron says. “A dirty wipe has germs remaining on it and can transport bacteria to another location.”

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      What to use instead:Use one wipe per surface, and then toss it. It might seem wasteful and you’d rather conserve wipes—especially when they’re in short supply—but using the same wipe for your entire kitchen is acleaning mistake that actually makes your home dirtier.

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (9)Nongnuch_L/Shutterstock

      Surfaces with a sealant

      The chemicals and acids in antibacterial wipes can eat away at the polish of sealed surfaces, like marble and granite. They may make the surfaces look dull, even scratched. (Incidentally, you shouldn’t use vinegar on these surfaces either.)

      What to use instead: Look for specially designed sealers for these surfaces, or use plain soap and water, which is highly effective as a multipurpose cleaner.

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (10)ivosar/Shutterstock


      Here’s that alcohol problem again: Many disinfectant or antibacterial wipes contain it, and alcohol can dehydrate supple leather. Repeated use may leave your leather goods looking dry and chalky.

      What to use instead:You’ll want to use a gentle cleaner on leather, like baby soap, and put a few drops into a quart or so of water. When you’re finished cleaning, go over the leather again with a clean, damp sponge to remove any soapy residue. And if you do want to use disinfecting wipes on leather, read the label to make sure they don’t contain alcohol. Check out more tips for cleaning leather.

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (11)Nick Vakhrushev/Shutterstock

      Lacquered furniture

      You can dull the beautiful finish of lacquered chairs and desks by using these alcohol-containing wipes. The same is true for any woodwork in your home, such as staircase railings or chair molding, which may have a high-sheen lacquer finish.

      (Video) Do You Know What’s Growing on Your Towel?

      What to use instead:Use gentle soap and warm water. Seriously, don’t overthink it. Put one teaspoon of liquid soap into a half-gallon of water and use a damp (not dripping) cloth. On the other hand, these are the things you shouldn’t clean with water.

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (12)sebra/Shutterstock

      Your hands

      If the disinfectant is good for doorknobs and kitchen surfaces, it should be good for your hands, right? Not so fast, Cameron says. “Never clean your hands with antibacterial wipes before or while eating, because the wipes leave a residue on the skin. Plus, not all the microbes and bacteria will wipe away,” she says. “The alcohol may irritate the skin, too.”

      What to use instead: There’s no replacement for thoroughly washing your hands! “Stop the spread of germs by washing your hands with soap and warm water,” says Cameron. You also need to make sure you don’t confuse antibacterial wipes designed for your hands with the disinfecting antibacterial wipes for homes and offices, according to Brian Sansoni, vice president of communications for the American Cleaning Institute. “Hand wipes are a convenient way to keep your hands clean when you are away from soap and water,” he says. Find out which household products kill coronavirus.


      Originally Published: August 23, 2021

      10 Times You Shouldn’t Use Antibacterial Wipes (13)

      Kimberly Holland is a lifestyle writer and editor based in Birmingham, Alabama. When not organizing her books by color, Holland enjoys toying with new kitchen gadgets and feeding her friends all her cooking experiments.

      (Video) How Many Disinfecting Wipes Can Your Smartphone's Screen Take? | WSJ


      How many times can you use a wipe? ›

      Disinfectant wipes should never be reused. Reusing wipes will move germs from one surface to another, which is potentially harmful in the current pandemic.

      Are antibacterial wipes safe for skin? ›

      Antibacterial wipes are designed to kill bacteria on hands so are safe to use on skin. Many brands of hand wipes, such as Nice 'N CLEAN® Sani-Hands® Antibacterial Hand Wipes, are infused with moisturizing ingredients like aloe to help soothe hands and prevent dry and cracked skin.

      Can I wipe myself with antibacterial wipes? ›

      Disinfecting products are designed for use on hard surfaces and are not meant to be used in or on the human body. People who intentionally drink disinfecting wipe solutions or apply them to their own skin may experience unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects.

      What happens if I use antibacterial wipes on my face? ›

      Using Disinfectant Wipes on Skin

      Most disinfectant wipes are too harsh to use directly on your skin, and can cause irritation, dryness or an allergic reaction. If you are looking to sanitize your hands without soap and water, use a sanitizing wipe instead.

      What happens if you wipe too many times? ›

      Over-wiping with rough and dry toilet paper can lead to itching, pain, and bleeding. In fact, improper wiping is the leading cause of America's most common bum-related injury – anal fissures (aka anal tears). Other common problems include UTI's and hemorrhoids.

      Why is it important to wipe after pooping? ›

      The reason is that you'll be moving feces away from your more delicate parts, lowering the risk of infection. This prevents the transmission of bacteria and goes a long way in preventing UTIs or an itchy, uncomfortable bum.

      Can you use wet wipes on your bottom? ›

      Unless advised by your healthcare provider because you have hemorrhoids or a fissure, avoid wipes. You might like wipes for that fresh butt feeling, but they can cause their own problems. "I see so many people who have irritation and rashes around the vulva and perianal area from using wipes," said Dr. Dweck.

      Can you use wet ones on private parts? ›

      The University of Iowa's vulvar skin care guidelines suggests that it is best to refrain from using any type of “feminine hygiene sprays, perfumes, adult, or baby wipes.” They also suggest that women use only white, unscented toilet paper and stay away from those containing aloe.

      What are the safest disinfectant wipes? ›

      6 best natural cleaning & disinfectant wipes that actually work.
      • method All-Purpose Compostable Cleaning Wipes.
      • Babyganics Toy & Highchair Wipes.
      • Babyganics Babyganics All Purpose Surface Wipes.
      • Grove Co. ...
      • Aunt Fannie's Cleaning Vinegar Wipes.
      • Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes, Multi-Surface.

      What is healthiest way to wipe yourself? ›

      After comfortably passing a stool, always wipe from front to back. Avoid any skin-to-skin contact with stool. Simply reach behind your back and between your legs, using plenty of crumpled or folded toilet tissue. Wipe backward from the perineum , the space between the genitals and anus, moving toward and past the anus.

      Is it better to wash or wipe after poop? ›

      A Consultant Public Health Physician at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Prof. Tanimola Akande, says washing with water, rather than wiping with tissue paper, is more hygienic after defecating.

      Is it better to use wipes or toilet paper? ›

      Are Wet Wipes Better Than Toilet Paper? From a hygiene perspective, wet wipes win. For a more effective clean, wet wipes win hands down. For a more soothing and gentle cleansing experience, we'll have to go with wet wipes again.

      Can I use Wet Ones antibacterial wipes on my face? ›

      Description. Our best clean for hands and faces, gentle enough for sensitive skin. Now, clinically proven and pediatrician tested to be safe for babies.

      What happens if you wipe with disinfecting wipes? ›

      Alcohol and bleach, kinds of disinfectants, can dry out the skin and may even transfer harmful chemicals to your body. While there is a chance frequent use of sanitizing wipes can dry out your hands, they won't harm your skin as disinfectant wipes may. Be sure to keep sanitizing wipes away from the eyes and face.

      Can You Use antibacterial wipes on your phone? ›

      Most household antibacterial wipes and disinfectants are actually super abrasive and can damage or scratch your phone. Disinfecting wipes are effective at killing germs, but if they're not specifically designed to clean phones, they can corrode and remove the protective coating on the glass screen.

      Why is my poop sticking to the bottom? ›

      Because the large intestine absorbs excess water, not drinking enough fluids can harden poop and make it more difficult to go. Someone who is experiencing constipation should increase their fluid intake to help keep poop soft.

      Should you wipe after every pee? ›

      Cleaning your private parts after peeing is an important part of overall hygiene. It helps get rid of odors caused by leftover urine droplets and keeps your genitals healthy. Bacteria need warmth and moisture to grow, so keeping the area clean reduces the risk of skin irritation and bladder and yeast infections.

      Why is my poop sticky like peanut butter? ›

      Smelly and sticky stools are typically a symptom of nutrient malabsorption. This means your body isn't able to completely absorb and digest nutrients from your gastrointestinal tract due to damage to the small intestine, not having enough pancreatic enzymes, liver disease, HIV/AIDs, or other conditions.

      How do Indian wipe their bum? ›

      In India and the Indian subcontinent, over 95% of the population use water for cleansing the anal area after defecating. The cleaning of hands with soap/ liquid soap after this cleansing process is very important. In urban areas and newer settlements, bidet showers are widely used.

      How do you clean your bottom if you can't reach? ›

      If you cannot reach behind your back, reaching in between your legs from the front is fine as long as you wipe from front to back,” says Dr. Posina. You can also use wipes. “Wiping until you're clean is important – meaning you don't see streaks on your toilet paper,” says Dr.

      What happens if you don't wipe after you pee? ›

      You see, when you don't clean yourself down there after peeing, the urine droplets stuck in your pubes get transferred to your underwear. This gives rise to a foul odour. Moreover, it also gives birth to bacteria in your underwear, increasing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTI).

      How should a girl wipe after pooping? ›

      Unless you have physical limitations that prevent you from doing so (more on this later), it's best to reach around your body, behind your back and through your legs. This position allows you to wipe your anus from front to back, ensuring that feces is always moving away from your urethra.

      Should you use wet wipes after pooping? ›

      Use wet wipes

      Wet wipes can help you avoid irritation from dry toilet paper. Even wet toilet paper can work in a pinch. Look for products that are unscented and for sensitive skin. Otherwise, these wipes could cause irritation and actually worsen your symptoms.

      Is it OK to wipe with toilet paper? ›

      But now doctors are warning that wiping alone could leave faeces behind while excessive use could cause health problems such as anal fissures and urinary tract infections.

      What is the safest feminine wipe? ›

      Dr. Jessica Shepherd recommends SweetSpot Labs wipes, as these pH-balanced wipes are unscented and free from glycerin, sulfates, alcohol, parabens, MIT preservatives, and phthalates. Plus, they're vegan and cruelty-free. This 30-pack is convenient, and the wipes are biodegradable.

      How do I keep my Odourless private parts? ›

      Wash your genitals with a good quality intimate wash water every day, tenderly wash under the foreskin by pulling it back. The area under your genitals should be washed particularly since sweat and hair can create a solid smell, as unpleasant as in the armpits.

      What is the best antibacterial wipe? ›

      Each container has a snap-close lid and comes with 110 single-use, disposable wipes.
      • Arm & Hammer Essentials Disinfecting Wipes. ...
      • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. ...
      • Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach. ...
      • Method Antibacterial Cleaner. ...
      • OxiClean Powder Sanitizer. ...
      • Scrubbing Bubbles Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Spray.
      4 Oct 2022

      What to use instead of disinfecting wipes? ›

      Rubbing Alcohol, or isopropyl alcohol, is available at drugstores and serves as a quick-and-easy alternative to disinfecting wipes.

      Is it better to spray or wipe disinfectant? ›

      According to the American Journal of Infection Control, disinfectant wipes produced much better results when compared to spray-based disinfectants. It has been demonstrated that wipes are more effective and better for gym equipment.

      How do men wipe after pooping? ›

      Remember to be gentle

      To avoid getting anal fissures and irritation, be gentle when you wipe. As OB-GYN Antonio Pizarro, M.D., told Yahoo Health, “I always tell patients to dab gently—not wipe.” This is especially true if you have early signs of irritation.

      Should human feces sink or float? ›

      Stool usually sinks, because it is more dense than water. It can sometimes float and not be a cause for concern. However, in some cases, floating stool may indicate the presence of a medical condition, and a person should contact a doctor.

      Do men wipe standing up? ›

      While a Reddit user surveyed 950 participants—626 identified as male, 306 identified as female, and 18 people put their gender as “other”—they found that 65.7% of respondents wipe sitting down and 34.3% wipe standing up. But even though standing wipers may be in the minority, they do exist.

      Why do Americans clean toilet paper? ›

      In America, we use toilet paper for our hygiene, like cleaning up after using the bathroom, cleaning and clearing our noses, and more. Toilet paper is cheap, useful, and practical in our culture.

      Do you wipe until its clean? ›

      “Wipe till it's white.” That's the rule of thumb for post-poop cleanups, meaning you should wipe your butt until no more traces of fecal matter remain.

      Is it better to wipe or use water? ›

      No matter how soft the toilet paper is, you still have to scrub it against your skin. Water is best suited for people who are sensitive to toilet paper. If clean water is used, it reduces the inherent chances of infection that toilet paper causes when one forgets to wipe from FRONT to BACK.

      Can I use baby wipes on my armpits? ›

      When you start feeling icky, but can barely find time to pee, let alone shower, baby wipes are a great way to get a quick and easy refresh. For example, you can use the wipes to cleanse your face, clear sweat from your neck and armpits, and freshen up intimate areas.

      Can you use disinfecting wipes on mirrors? ›

      Clorox Disinfecting Wipes dry clear and won't leave behind a streaky residue, so you can use them with confidence on shiny surfaces, such as glass tables, mirrors, and metal fixtures.

      Where do you use antibacterial wipes? ›

      Using them on soft surfaces: Antibacterial hand wipes aren't intended for use on your sofa cushions or your rugs. They are intended for use on your hands.

      What is the best thing to clean my phone with? ›

      Do use disinfectant wipes with 70% isopropyl alcohol or a similar disinfecting spray, spritzed onto a clean microfiber cloth. Do spray any cleaners onto a soft cloth, not directly onto your phone. Do wring out the wipe or cloth before using if it's too wet.

      How often should you clean your cell phone? ›

      Health experts suggest cleaning your phone at least once a day as a preventative measure. Before you begin, check with the manufacturer for guidance on how to clean your device. Apple and a number of Android device manufacturers offer similar recommendations: Unplug the device before cleaning.

      How dirty is your phone? ›

      A recent study found that there is an average of 17,000 bacterial gene copies on a single cell phone. phones every 12 minutes. bacterial gene copies. housed on a cell phone than a toilet seat.

      Why do I have to re wipe again later? ›

      Common causes include: Chronic diarrhea Constipation Hemorrhoids Crohn's disease The skin of the anus can stick to the stool and make it difficult to clean the anorectal area after a bowel movement. Leaky gut Leaky gut is also known as fecal incontinence.

      Can I use wet ones to wipe after pooping? ›

      Use wet wipes

      Wet wipes can help you avoid irritation from dry toilet paper. Even wet toilet paper can work in a pinch. Look for products that are unscented and for sensitive skin. Otherwise, these wipes could cause irritation and actually worsen your symptoms.

      How long does it take for a wipe to break down? ›

      Most wet wipes aren't biodegradable, so it could take 100 years or more for them to disappear from landfill. Even worse, all too often people flush wipes down the toilet, so they end up clogging up sewers, damaging marine life and littering our beaches.

      Is it better to wash or wipe? ›

      Allybocus Akbar writing in pubtexto.com, an open access journal, stated that water is considered more hygienic since all faeces and urine are washed off and leaves no bad smell in underwear; whereas wiping does leave residual smell, behind no matter how much one scrubs with toilet paper.

      What happens if you don't wipe after pooping? ›

      Failure to wipe correctly could leave you vulnerable to a urinary tract infection or aggravate any existing rectal issues, like hemorrhoids or anal fissures.

      Why can't I wipe my bottom clean? ›

      Put an End to Endless Wiping

      It's most likely because you have poop “turtling” inside your anus, so just be patient and let it all come out. And most importantly, level up your wiping materials so you can clean—not smear—the aftermath from your dump.

      How do you thoroughly wipe after pooping? ›

      After comfortably passing a stool, always wipe from front to back. Avoid any skin-to-skin contact with stool. Simply reach behind your back and between your legs, using plenty of crumpled or folded toilet tissue. Wipe backward from the perineum , the space between the genitals and anus, moving toward and past the anus.

      Is it better to wipe standing up? ›

      Should you wipe standing up? In terms of cleanliness, it's a bit of a matter of personal preference. However you feel cleanest is likely ideal, though it's best to be thorough, no matter how exactly you choose to go about it.

      Do you wipe down or up? ›

      Not Wiping Front to Back

      Lesson number one: "Always wipe from front to back," says Alyssa Dweck, M.D., an ob-gyn and author of V is for Vagina. "Wiping from back to front can bring bacteria from the rectum toward the urethra and increase your chances of a urinary tract infection," she explains.

      Do most people sit or stand to wipe after pooping? ›

      While a Reddit user surveyed 950 participants—626 identified as male, 306 identified as female, and 18 people put their gender as “other”—they found that 65.7% of respondents wipe sitting down and 34.3% wipe standing up. But even though standing wipers may be in the minority, they do exist.


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