Which cleaning products kill germs the best?

My Cleaning Product experiments have moved my new experiments website! Please read them there. www.DrAnniesExperiments.com


With so many different cleaning products on the market, it is hard to decide what to use. Are the natural cleaning products as effective as those with strong chemicals? What is the safest yet effective product to use for my family? To answer these questions, I decided to compare the effectiveness of different cleaning products on bacteria. (It is not possible to test for viruses at home.) These are relatively simple experiments that you can repeat at home and would make great science fair projects for your kids. If you would like to know more about me, and why I am qualified to do these experiments, please read the About the Scientist section at the bottom of this page. 

If you would like to be alerted when new experimental results are posted, please like my Facebook page

Here is a list of all of the cleaning products that I have tested. You can click on the product and go to the page where I discuss those experiments and show the results. This list does not include all the essential oils and hand sanitizers that I have tested. Those experiments are on separate pages. I have also rated some of the products that I feel I have tested enough to give a reliable rating. I've taken into account how the product performed in my experiments as well as the claims made by the company or other scientific research about the product to give my rating. I'll be adding more products to this list frequently. I would feel confident using any product that I have listed as 3 stars or higher for general disinfecting around the house when no one has a stomach bug. If someone has a stomach bug, I'd use a solution of 10% chlorine bleach in water which is still the gold standard for germ killing or the Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray or wipesAny products that are 2 star or 1 star might be good for removing grease and grime, but don't count on them for germ-killing.

 Product  Rating
 Alpet D2
 Baking Soda  
 Better Life Multipurpose Cleaner  
 Citrus II  
 Cleaning Vinegar  
  Clean Smart Multi-surface Cleaner   
 Clorox Anywhere Spray  
 Clorox Chlorine Bleach (10%)  
 Clorox Clean-up with bleach  
  Clorox Hydrogen Peroxide Spray  
 Clorox Wipes  
 Dawn Dish Soap  
 DoTerra On Guard Cleaner
 DoTerra On Guard oil-concentrated  
 Essential Oxygen 3% hydrogen peroxide  
 Force of Nature  
 Frank's hot sauce  
 GFS BioProtect Clean and Seal  
 H2O at Home  
 Honest Company Multipurpose Cleaner  
 3% Hydrogen Peroxide  
 91% isopropanol  
 70% isopropanol   
 Lemongrass Spa  
 lemon juice 
 Lysol concentrate horrible smelling brown liquid
 Lysol Disinfectant Spray  
 Lysol Power and Free Cleaner  
 Melalca Sol-u-guard  
 Moonshine (64% ethanol)  
 Norwex Dish Soap  
PureGreen 24   
 Purell Surface  
 Pyoure Hydrogen Peroxide cleaners  
 Salt water  
 Scott 24 hour Sanitizing Spray  
 Scrubbing Bubbles  
 Seventh Generation Multipurpose Cleaner  
 Shakelee Basic G  
 Shakelee Basic H  
 Star San  
 Thieves Household Cleaner  
 Thieves oil (concentrated)  
 Thieves Spray  
  Vodka (20% ethanol) 
 White Vinegar  
 Zylast Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 

My other experiments

Essential Oils

If you are new to my website, let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Annie Pryor. I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry from The Ohio State University. After a few years working in a research lab, I "retired" to be a stay-at-home mom. When my first baby got a terrible stomach virus that required a trip to the ER, I decided to research the subject and created this website dedicated to reducing the prevalence of the stomach "flu" in the world. My 3 little kids keep me busy, but I still get a hankering to do experiments now and then. I've tested cleaning productshand sanitizersproduce washing techniquesessential oilsNorwex ClothsSteriPenslaundrylunch box coldness, the Phone Soapsponges, and even sunlight. I also happen to be the inventor of a really useful drying rack. I invented it because I needed a convenient place next to the kitchen sink to hang baby bibs up to dry between meals. It is also perfect for drying sports water bottles, dish cloths, food-storage bags, cleaning cloths and many other items. I have a shorter drying rack (12.75 inches tall) which is available here on Amazon. I also have a taller 15 inch rack available here on Amazon. If you would like to be informed when new experimental results are posted, please like my Facebook page

I 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.

About the Author

I am also very proud of my daughter, Katie Scarlett. At age 9, she has written, illustrated, and published the first 4 books in a delightful series! Princess Katie and the Fairy Tea Party , Princess Katie and the Mermaid Lagoon  Princess Katie and the Kitty Club , and Princess Katie and the Sweet Shopare available on amazon. The stories are so sweet and teach about kindness, forgiveness, including others, doing the right thing, and working hard. I think every little girl would love them! Please consider buying them for a little girl that you love. Katie gets about a $2 royalty from amazon for each book sold that is getting deposited into her college savings account. 

My thoughts on being "too clean".

Many people are confused and think that I want to kill all the germs in the world. This is not true. There is good bacteria in our bodies and our environment that is extremely important. I consider myself a "norophobe" and not a "germaphobe". I mainly detest stomach viruses and anything that will kill you. I also detest toxic chemicals. So, I don't want to waste my time using a toxic cleaning product that isn't really doing anything or isn't necessary. That is why I wanted to test these products and figure out what is best. So, I don't think you need to sterilize your entire house. It would be impossible anyway.  Our bodies, produce, carpet, floors, clothing, and environment are full of germs. Most of them are harmless or even helpful. My kids come inside covered in dirt every day and snuggle with our dog. Everyone gets PLENTY of germ exposure.  If you have ever taken a toddler outside to play, you know that they get dirt in their mouths, and it is pretty much impossible to keep them "too clean". However, from my schooling and research I have learned that most nasty illnesses are spread through poop. So, I see no harm in having a clean toilet and washing hands before eating. Washing your hands before eating, keeping a relatively sterile toilet and food preparation surfaces is not going to make a dent in the total number of germs that you are exposed to every day. It will just reduce the likelihood of you coming in contact with a terrible germ. 


If you would like to help support my work, please use my Amazon links when you shop on amazon. I have an Amazon affiliate account. If you use any of my Amazon links when you shop on Amazon, I get a small percentage of the sale. For example, you can click to Amazon using this link and buy something. It doesn't matter what you buy, but I will get a small percentage of the sale. I use that Amazon money to buy agar plates and all the supplies that I need to do these experiments. If you don't want to bother using amazon links, you are welcome to send me a small donation through paypal. If you really want to brighten my day, please buy one of my daughter's books. They are excellent! If you don't have a little girl to give them to, buy a copy for your local elementary school library or children's hospital. Thank you!


Feel free to email me your questions, comments, personal stories, and experiment suggestions. You are also welcome to like and post on my facebook page

--Annie Pryor, Ph.D 
phd.annie at gmail.com