Cleaning Product Experiments 2

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-purpose cleaner, Chlorine bleach, Clorox Clean-up with bleach, Scott 24 hour sanitizing spray, Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray, Lysol Disinfectant Spray. 


To test cleaning products, I used masking tape to section off squares on my kitchen countertop and labeled them according to what I would be testing. I made sure that my countertop was very clean to start with, of course. 

Next I made germy water. To do this I mixed a small scoop of mud from our back yard into purified water. Then I poured the muddy water through a paper towel to filter out the chunks. I was left with very dirty water which contains lots of bacteria. For some experiments, I also scraped bacteria off of an already grown agar plate from a previous experiment and mixed those germs in. This way my "germ water" had lots of bacteria in it. 

I put 1mL of germ water onto each square with the exception of the "clean" control square using these 1mL syringes

I rubbed the germ water around the square with my gloved finger. Then I let the squares dry completely which took 2-3 hours. 

Once the squares were dry, I put .5mL of each cleaning product onto its respective square. 

I rubbed the cleaning product around to completely cover the square using a clean gloved finger. I went over the square a few times to make sure that the cleaning product completely covered it. Then I set a timer and let the cleaning product sit on its square for 5 minutes (10 minutes for some experiments). 

After the allotted time, I used a sterile swab to swab the square. Most squares were still wet after 5 minutes. However, if a square was dry, I dipped the swab in sterile water before I rubbed the square. I rubbed all over the square but I did not touch the tape (just in case the tape held onto bacteria and interfered with the experiment). 

Then I scribbled all over an agar plate with the swab. 

If you want to do these experiments yourself, I used these agar plates available on amazon. They come with the sterile swabs.

The plates were incubated for 24 hours in my homemade incubator consisting of a plastic box and a heat lamp. The temperature was about 90 degrees F. In case you are repeating this, the plates need to be put into the incubator upside down. (That means that the agar is on top so condensation does not settle on the bacteria colonies.)  Any bacteria present on the plate will grow and multiply. After about 24 hours you can see colonies (or piles) of bacteria on the plates. It is important to remember that viruses do not grow on these plates. Just bacteria and some fungus. Also all types of bacteria do not grow on these plates. So, a clean looking plate does not necessarily mean that there were no microorganisms present. It just means that nothing that could grow on the agar plate was present. However, this is still a very valuable information for comparing different cleaning products. 

In this experiment, I tested 3% hydrogen peroxide(H2O2), 10% chlorine bleach, Clorox® Hydrogen Peroxide Spray, Scott 24 Hour Sanitizing Spray , 70% isopropanol, Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface CleanerMethod All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner, pure white vinegar, and 3 different bottles of Lysol Disinfectant Spray. This experiment had a TON of bacteria to start with because you can not even see individual colonies on the dirty control plate. That just means that the cleaner had a LOT of work to do. 

Only the 3% hydrogen peroxide, the 10% chlorine bleach, the Clorox® Hydrogen Peroxide Spray, and the Scott 24 Hour Sanitizing Spray did well. I simply can't BELIEVE the results for the 3 different bottles of Lysol spray. The Lysol bottle says that it takes 30 seconds to sanitize and 10 minutes to disinfect. Keep reading to see the 10 minute experimental results. Also, some of my experiments have TON of bacteria in them (much more than would normally be on a household surface). Also, almost all of these cleaners say that they need to be used on a "pre-cleaned surface" which is not happening in my experiments. So, just because a cleaner doesn't appear to do anything in my experiments, doesn't mean that it really doesn't do anything at all. The cleaner probably works as advertised in their specific laboratory tests. The cleaner just has to be really powerful to look good in my experiments. My experiments separate the MEN from the BOYS.  So, I am not saying that "Lysol doesn't do anything." I am saying that Lysol disinfectant spray does not kill bacteria in these experiments nearly as well as regular 3% hydrogen peroxide. Here is a photo of the 3 different cans of Lysol that I tested in these experiments. If you want more information about how I clean with hydrogen peroxide, please read the bottom of this page.  

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-purpose cleaner, Clorox Clean-Up with Bleach, and Scott 24 hour Sanitizing Spray.

I had already tested Seventh Generation Multi-purpose cleaner in an experiment with a ton of bacteria. However, I repeated it in an experiment with LESS bacteria in the germ water to give the Seventh Generation a better chance. As you can see below, with less bacteria to begin with, you can see that the Seventh Generation really does kill some germs. I also tested Clorox Clean-Up with bleach in this experiment. So, if you have a nice expensive countertop like granite and don't want to risk hydrogen peroxide ruining it, I think the Seventh Generation is a good choice.

Seventh Generation on my kitchen sink

I wanted to give the Seventh Generation Multi-purpose cleaner another chance in a real life situation. So, I tested it on my kitchen sink. I had not sanitized my 2-sided stainless steel kitchen sink for at least 24 hours. I swabbed the sink and rubbed it on an agar plate for a dirty control. Then I sprayed 1 side of the sink with 30 sprays of hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for 5 minutes. I sprayed the other side with 30 sprays of the Seventh generation cleaner and let it sit for 5 minutes. I did not wipe the sink at all. Then I swabbed the sink again and rubbed the swabs onto the appropriate plates. The plates were incubated for 48 hours.

The Seventh Generation disinfecting cleaner did a great job on the sink. You need to use a lot and completely cover it. If you don't want to risk bleaching your countertop with hydrogen peroxide, I think this Seventh Generation cleaner is a good choice. 

If you would like to suggest an experiment, please post on my facebook page. I also really need to earn money from this website in order to keep doing experiments (agar plates, essential oils, and cleaning products are expensive). If you want to contribute, please use my Amazon affiliate links. Just click on any of my links that go to amazon, and buy whatever you want. You don't have to buy what I recommend or even the product that the link goes to. Here is a link. I'll get a small percentage of the sale and use the money to buy experiment supplies. Thank you.

--Annie Pryor, Ph.D.