Scrubbing Bubbles Experiments

8/2/2017

How well does Scrubbing Bubbles kill germs?

Answer: It does great on the shower and bathtub when you put a thick layer on and let it sit 10 minutes. 



Experiment Details

After many requests, I finally tested Scrubbing Bubbles. My sister uses scrubbing bubbles to spray off her showers and bathtubs a few times a week and INSISTS that it keeps them white and clean. She figured that it must be killing germs, too. The can does say that it kills 99.9% of bacteria. I decided to put it to the test. If you would like to know who I am, please read my About the Scientist page.

Scrubbing Bubbles on the bathtub and shower

For these experiments, I tested Scrubbing Bubbles on an actual bathtubs and showers. The bathtubs/shower were not artificially contaminated. They were my kids' bathtub, my shower, and my neighbor's bathtub. They hadn't been cleaned for a week. First, I rinsed the bathtub/shower with clean water to remove dirt, sand, and grass. They looked pretty clean. 


Then I swabbed all over the floor and sides of the bathtub. I only swabbed the floor of the shower. Then I rubbed the swab onto a clean agar plate. 


Then I sprayed the tub or shower with a very, very, thick coat of Scrubbing Bubbles and let it sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I swabbed the tub or shower again. 

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 necessarily mean that no microorganisms whatsoever were present. We assume that a clean plate means that most bacteria were killed. However, there is the possibility that the cleaning product just stopped the bacteria from growing as opposed to actually killing it.

Results






As you can see, Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner  did a great job killing bacteria in the bathtub and shower.  However, I wasn't sure how long it took the Scrubbing Bubbles to kill the germs because the Scrubbing Bubbles was still on the bathtub when I swabbed it. That means that the Scrubbing Bubbles was incubating with the germs on the agar plate. So, I repeated the experiment, but this time I rinsed the Scrubbing Bubbles off before I swabbed. I put a thick coat of Scrubbing Bubbles all over my bathtub and shower floor. I let it sit for 10 minutes this time. Then I thoroughly rinsed it off with cool water. Then I swabbed a large area and rubbed the swab onto an agar plate. 



As you can see, the Scrubbing Bubbles did a great job killing germs in the bathtub and shower in 10 minutes. They both looked much whiter and cleaner. The fumes were not unbearable. I'll be using Scrubbing Bubbles on my bathtubs and showers now. 

Scrubbing Bubbles countertop experiment

I also tested Scrubbing Bubbles in my countertop experiments. For these experiments, I put dirty water onto countertop squares, let it dry, and put the .5 mL of cleaner on for 5 minutes.  Scrubbing bubbles was difficult to measure because it is a foam. I sprayed it into a paper cup and let it sit for 5 minutes to let the bubbles pop. That is the only way I could accurately measure out .5 mL of the liquid. After the Scrubbing Bubbles sat on the square for 5 minutes, I swabbed the square and rubbed the swab onto an agar plate. If you would like more details about this countertop experiment procedure, please read this page


As you can see, Scrubbing bubbles did not do that great killing germs on my artificially contaminated kitchen countertop. This means that Scrubbing bubbles is not as powerful as 3% hydrogen peroxide or the pure thieves oil. However, there is a lot of dirt and germs in my countertop experiments. Many products that don't do well in my countertop experiments, still do fine during normal use. Scrubbing Bubbles still did great on bathtubs and my shower which is what you are really going to use it on. So, I think Scrubbing Bubbles is a great choice for normal time when no one is sick. When someone in the house is having diarrhea or vomiting, I recommend cleaning with a solution of 10% chlorine bleach in water or the Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray and Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Wipes because they have been shown to kill norovirus surrogates. 

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.




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.