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Children’s toys

Children’s toys
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When you wipe a surface with an antibacterial wipe, you see a gratifying smudge of grime on the white rag. What you don’t see is what’s left behind – chemicals. “The major reason that I believe that people should not use antibacterial wipes as an everyday go-to wipe is that we are seeing an increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria,” says chemist, John Manolas. “Some of the blame for this phenomenon goes to antibacterial soaps and wipes. Most surfaces will probably be equally germ-free after regular cleaning with soap and water or other household cleaners,” he says. Manolas also stresses that parents shouldn’t use the wipes on children’s toys because kids are likely to put the toys in their mouths.

Anything that absorbs moisture

Anything that absorbs moisture
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To be effective, antibacterial solutions often need to sit for several minutes to kill bacteria. If the surface is soft – foam or carpet, for example – it won’t stay wet long enough to be truly effective. If you have to use multiple wipes to achieve the result, the moisture could damage the surface. If you want to know how long your surfaces must be wet to be sterilised, look at the bottle, says Jason Courtney, owner of the Office Pride. “Every kind of wipe has a ‘kill claim’ on the back, which indicates what it will kill in a certain amount of time. In a lab, wipes are tested for everything from hepatitis B to influenza to staphylococcus,” he says. “If the wipe kills the germ, it can be listed on the container. How long the surface must remain wet to kill the germ is spelled out on the container, too.”

Check out these tricks to avoiding germs that actually don’t work.

Kitchen benchtops

Kitchen benchtops
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If you think a swipe of an antibacterial wipe on a kitchen counter that just had raw chicken is enough to keep your family safe, think again. “Kitchen counters are hot spots for germs and bacteria, and cleaning them using only antibacterial wipes isn’t nearly enough,” says cleaning and organising professional, Lily Cameron. Instead, Cameron says, when you need to disinfect your counters, use soapy hot water and a sponge.

Bathroom benchtops and fixtures

Bathroom benchtops and fixtures
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Your bathroom sees a lot of bacteria day in and day out, and a quick swipe with an antibacterial wipe isn’t doing much to keep bacteria growth at bay. “To kill bacteria effectively, a disinfectant needs to stay on the surface for about five to ten minutes,” Cameron says. “Cleaning with antibacterial wipes leaves the surface dry less than five minutes for sure. Overusing of such wipes may expose your family to harmful chemicals without the germ-destroying benefit.”

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Hardwood surfaces

Hardwood surfaces
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The chemicals and other ingredients in antibacterial wipes can do damage to some of your home’s surfaces over time. This includes hardwoods, which might lose their shine after repeated scrubs. They can also be damaged by moisture. Wood surfaces need to dry quickly, but wipes leave the surfaces relatively wet so they’re counterproductive.

Greg Shepard, founder of Dallas Maids, says, “With wood, less is more. Wood floors, furniture and wood trimming should not be cleaned often with products because with frequent cleanings the finish dulls over time. This goes double with bacterial wipes because they contain alcohol, which damages wood’s finish.”

Wiping down the whole kitchen

Wiping down the whole kitchen
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If you’re tempted to take out a wipe from the canister and quickly move from your stove to your fridge to your microwave to your sink – stop yourself. Antibacterial wipes are not meant to clean large areas. In fact, you may make a bacteria problem worse if you use them for multiple spaces. “Never use one antibacterial wipe to clean more than one surface,” Cameron says. “A dirty wipe has germs remaining on it and can transport bacteria to another location. Instead, use one wipe per surface, and then toss it.

Find out which common kitchen items are secretly toxic.

 

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Surfaces with a sealant

Surfaces with a sealant
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The chemicals and acids in antibacterial wipes can eat away at the polish of sealed surfaces, like marble and granite. They may make the surfaces look dull, even scratched. Look for specially-designed sealers for these surfaces, or use plain soap and water, which is highly effective as a multi-purpose cleaner.

Leather

Leather
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Here’s that alcohol problem again: many disinfectant or antibacterial wipes contain it, and alcohol can dehydrate supple leather. Repeated use may leave your leather goods looking dry and chalky. If you do want to use disinfecting wipes on leather, be sure to read the label and make sure it doesn’t contain alcohol.

Lacquered furniture

Lacquered furniture
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You can dull the beautiful finish of lacquered chairs and desks by using these alcohol-containing wipes. The same is true for any woodwork in your home, such as staircase railings or chair moulding, which may have a high-sheen lacquer finish.

Your hands

Your hands
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If the disinfectant is good for door knobs and kitchen surfaces, it should be good for your hands, right? Not so fast, Cameron says. “Never clean your hands with antibacterial wipes before or while eating, because the wipes leave a residue on the skin. Plus, not all the microbes and bacteria will wipe away,” she says. “The alcohol may irritate the skin, too. Instead, stop the spread of germs by washing your hands with soap and warm water.”

Be sure you don’t confuse antibacterial wipes designed for your hands with the disinfecting antibacterial wipes for homes and offices. Hand wipes are a convenient way to keep your hands clean when you are away from soap and water.

Think you’re washing your hands properly? Check here.

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Source: RD.com

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