Cleaning Product Experiments 4

Do Pine-Sol, Clorox Clean-Up with bleach, Clorox Anywhere Spray, Baking Soda, and Borax kill germs?

Answer: Clorox Clean-up with bleach is great!

For these next experiments, I tested Clorox Clean-Up With Bleach SprayClorox Anywhere Spray , Pine-Sol, baking soda water, and Borax water. I did the experiment the same way. I made dirty water using dirt from the back yard. I also added some bacteria from a previous experiments agar plate. In this case, the bacteria was from a swab of the bottom of my son's school shoe.  For the borax and water mixture, I used 1 teaspoon of borax and 10 teaspoons of sterile water. It completely dissolved. For the baking soda and water mixture, I used 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 10 teaspoons of water. It was still gritty and did not dissolve completely. If you would like the details of this experiment, please read this procedure page.

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. 


As usual, 3% hydrogen peroxide and 10% bleach do a great job killing germs. Clorox Clean-Up With Bleach Spray did a great job killing germs. It also contains enough chlorine bleach to kill norovirus so it is a good choice if you are cleaning up after someone with a stomach virus. It produces terrible fumes in my opinion, though, so I would always prefer the Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide wipes and Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray which are proven to kill norovirus surrogates but don't usually cause asthma attacks. Clorox Anywhere Spray did not seem to do much.   Pine-Sol  (which I used straight without diluting it at all) might have done a tiny bit of germ killing. The Pinesol bottle says that it needs to sit for 10 minutes to kill germs and I only left it on for 5 minutes. The baking soda water did not seem to do much. Perhaps the Borax in water did a little bit of germ killing but nothing impressive. Please remember that my experiments contain a lot of dirt and bacteria. A product has to be really powerful to look good in my experiments. They are not sensitive enough to detect subtle germ-killing. So, I am not saying that these products do not kill any germs and do not do what they claim on the label. I'm just comparing them to 3% Hydrogen Peroxide

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 determine how long a product takes to kill germs since the product is picked up in the swab with the germs and sits on the agar plate with the germs for the incubation period. 

Clorox Anywhere on my kitchen sink
Since my previous experiments contained a lot of dirt and germs, I wanted to test the Clorox Anywhere spray on something that I would really want disinfected, my kitchen sink. I thoroughly rinsed out the sink so there was no debris in it. Then I swabbed it and rubbed the swab onto an agar plate. Then I sprayed 40 sprays of Clorox Anywhere spray all around the sink. That is much more than anyone would ever actually use. I did not wipe at all. I just let it sit for 5 minutes. It clearly killed some germs.

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.