Cleaning Product Experiments 2


Do 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, Method All-Purpose cleaner, isopropanol, Thieves Spray, Zylast antiseptic, and white vinegar kill germs?

Answer: 10% chlorine bleach, Scott 24 hour sanitizing spray, Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray, 3% hydrogen peroxide, and Clorox clean-up with bleach are great at killing germs! Seventh Generation Disinfecting multi-purpose cleaner is pretty good.






Understanding Agar Plates



In case you are new at looking at agar plates, let me explain. Agar is a Jello-like substance that bacteria and fungus like to grow on. The whitish/yellowish dots you see are colonies (or piles) of millions of bacteria. Some types of bacteria are not able to grow on these agar plates. Viruses can not grow on these agar plates. So, just because a plate looks clean, doesn't mean that no microorganisms whatsoever were present. We assume that a clean plate means that most bacteria were killed. However, there is the tiny possibility that the cleaning product just stopped the bacteria from growing as opposed to actually killing it. Also, I can't make any determination as to the time it took the product to kill the bacteria since the product was still with the bacteria on the agar plate. (Both the bacteria and the cleaner would be picked up in the sterile swab.) So, I don't know if it took 1 minute to kill the bacteria or hours. These experiments are still very useful when used to compare cleaning products and cleaning methods.

White Vinegar, Isopropanol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Method All-Purpose Cleaner, Thieves Spray, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, and Zylast Hand Sanitizer

In the following experiments, I tested pure white vinegar, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, 70% isopropanol, 91% isopropanol, 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), Method All Purpose Natural Surface
Cleaner, Thieves Spray, and Zylast Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer. (Zylast Antiseptic is one of the few hand sanitizers that I recommend for killing norovirus.) I put 1mL of dirty germ water on each square. In the first experiment dated 5-3-2015, the germ water did not have additional bacteria added. The experiment dated 5-5-2015 DID have additional bacteria added. I used .5mL of each cleaning product. To get .5mL of the Lysol spray, I sprayed it into a plastic cup and then got .5mL in a syringe. If you want to read the full details of my standard countertop experiment, please read this page.



Results


As you can see, only the 3% hydrogen peroxide and the Zylast hand sanitizer seemed to do a great job. The Method All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner wins the award for my favorite smelling cleaning product. I am stunned and saddened by the Lysol Disinfectant spray results. Since the 5-3-2015 experiment did not have extra bacteria added, it is essentially the same as someone tracking dirty water from outside onto your floor and you spraying it with Lysol. I have a separate page with more isopropanol and other alcohol experiments that you can read here

I was in such shock about the Lysol spray results that I repeated the experiment without DIRT. I thought maybe the Lysol and the alcohol just couldn't penetrate dirt. So, I scrapped bacteria from the previous days dirty control plate and mixed it up in water. I put 1mL of that "clean" germ water onto each square on my countertop and did the experiment again. 




I was so surprised that I got about the same results. The Method All Purpose Natural Surface Cleaner and the Thieves spray seemed to do a bit better this time. The 3% hydrogen peroxide and the Zylast Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer really do an impressive job killing bacteria compared to the rest. However, please remember that most of these cleaning products say on the bottle that they can only be used on "pre-cleaned" surfaces. So, I guess I shouldn't be surprised some products don't do much in my experiments. I have a separate page with many more Lysol Disinfectant Spray experiments





Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray, Scott 24 Hour Sanitizing Spray, 70% isopropanol, Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner, Method All Purpose Cleaner, Lysol Disinfectant Spray


In this experiment, I tested 3% hydrogen peroxide(H2O2), 10% chlorine bleach, Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide SprayScott 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. There is a photo of the 3 different cans of Lysol that I tested in these experiments.The Lysol bottle says that it takes 30 seconds to sanitize and 10 minutes to disinfect. However, Lysol is supposed to be used on already clean surfaces so it probably just can't handle all the dirt and germs in my experiments. I have a separate page devoted to Lysol experiments that you can read here.  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 countertop experiments. My countertop 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. I have an entire page dedicated to more Lysol experiments so please read this page for more info about Lysol disinfectant Spray.   


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.


White vinegar and 3% hydrogen peroxide on the kitchen sink


Just because a cleaner doesn't appear to do much in my experiments, doesn't mean that they don't do what the label says. Most of them say that they can only be used on already clean surfaces. Some of my experiments have so much bacteria that it might not be a true reflection of what is going on in your house. So, throughout this page I'll also be testing cleaners on my kitchen sink and my neighbor's kitchen sinks. Here I tested pure white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide on my kitchen sink. I have a 2 sided stainless steel sink. First, I rinse the sink really well to make sure it looks clean. Then I swabbed the sink and rubbed the swab on an agar plate to see how much bacteria was in the sink. Then I sprayed 30 sprays of 3% hydrogen peroxide all over one side and let it sit for 5 minutes. I did not wipe at all. Then I swabbed that side. Then I sprayed 30 sprays of pure white vinegar all around on the other side and let that sit for 5 minutes. I swabbed that side and the plates were incubated overnight.












As you can see, the pure white vinegar does appear to kill some bacteria. It just isn't as strong as 3% hydrogen peroxide. The pure white vinegar does seem to kill more bacteria in my sink experiments than the On Guard or Thieves cleaner does (which you will see if you keep reading). There is even a little travel size bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide available that you can refill. I've tested this one and it is great.

Disclaimer: I can't be 100% certain that any product that I test is actually killing bacteria as opposed to somehow preventing the bacteria from growing on the agar plate by some other means. I also can't tell how long it takes a product to kill the germs since the product is picked up in the swab with the germs and stays on the agar plate during incubation. 



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 Multi-Surface 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. I still recommend using a solution of 10% chlorine bleach or the Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray if anyone in your house has a stomach bug. 

Disclaimer: I can't be 100% certain that any product that I test is actually killing bacteria as opposed to somehow preventing the bacteria from growing on the agar plate by some other means. I also can't tell how long it takes a product to kill the germs since the product is picked up in the swab with the germs and stays on the agar plate during incubation. 



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.