If you have never considered using a natural disinfectant – perhaps you should. Recent studies have shown that 40% of cleansers and disinfectants sold in stores are ineffective against germs and bacteria!
Noroviruses – the viruses responsible for more than half the cases of food poisoning and stomach flu – are only eliminated with bleach-based cleaners.
In the United States, 21 million people are infected every year with noroviruses.
Professor Julie Jean at Université Laval Agriculture and Food Sciences was part of a team of scientists who examined many common disinfectants used in households, businesses and institutions.
She talked about her team’s recent study, which was published in the Journal of Food Protection. “Once attached, these viruses can survive for weeks and potentially contaminate anyone who touches them. And it’s highly probable that our findings on stainless steel surfaces also apply to other materials.”
These resilient germs make themselves at home on surfaces and foods, and objects such as utensils or door handles.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bacteria double every 20 minutes! That means if you have 5 bacteria on a sandwich at noon – there will be more than 10 million on your sandwich by 7pm!
Germs are forever increasing and mutating, making them harder to eliminate and protect against. The CDC has identified some reasons for this worldwide viral and bacterial growth.
Why Germs Are Getting Stronger
• Population growth coupled with increased poverty levels and relocation into previously uninhabited areas.
• Faster and more affordable transportation causes germs to spread further and faster.
• Overuse of antibacterial products and medications renders them largely ineffective.
• Less focus on total body health and disease prevention.
• Damage to the environment – especially our air, soil and water supplies.
Fully killing bacteria and viruses before they spread is crucial in hospitals and within the food service industry in order to prevent infection, which could lead to sepsis and possible death.
Types of Commercial Disinfectants
• Bleach-Based Products
Cleaning with bleach is 100 times more effective than cleaning with alcohol- or ammonium-based cleaners. 40% of the household cleaners and disinfectants are made with the less effective ingredients.
The news regarding bleach isn’t all good, however. Bleach can cause respiratory problems, skin burns and central nervous system damage. The fumes can be particularly irritating to those who suffer from asthma.
If mixed with ammonia or urine – such as when cleaning a cat box or toilet – the fumes can stop your lungs from functioning. Mixing bleach with dish soap creates mustard gas, and mixing bleach with blood, food, feces or other organic compounds produces chloroform.
• Alcohol-Based Products
Cleaning with alcohol-based disinfectants isn’t very effective. Most germs quickly become resistant. Hospitals use vast amounts of alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and unfortunately the amount of germs such sanitizers don’t kill – noroviruses – is significant.
The CDC reports that infections in hospitals are approximately 1.7 million – with almost 100,000 infection-related deaths occurring every year in the United States. A study conducted in elementary schools found no long-term difference in germ transfer between children who washed their hands with simple soap and water and those who used hand sanitizer.
• Ammonium-Based Products
You may not realize a product contains ammonia because manufacturers add scents to cover the toxic fumes. Your body’s natural instinct to pull away from chemical smells is fooled by these fragrances.
Pine cleaners and window washing sprays should never be mixed with bleach since the result is a gas so toxic your lungs can simply stop working.
Hospitals and the food industry must use disinfectants. But the abundance of antibacterial everything – from hand sanitizers to laundry detergent to air fresheners – is causing far more harm than good in our homes.
Top 3 Reasons to Use Natural Disinfectant
- Chemical cleansers and disinfectants are toxic – causing harmful side effects to you and your family. They are only killing some of the germs, leaving the rest behind to adapt and mutate.
- Overuse of antibacterial goods leads to superbugs that are increasingly more resistant to antibiotics. The products aren’t working and there is zero evidence that excessive antibacterial use in the home results in fewer illnesses for your family.
- Your immune system is weakening – the more you try to make your environment germ free, the harder it is for your immune system to adapt to stronger strains of bacteria. There is actually such a thing as too clean when it comes to your home. Exposure to everyday dirt and germs makes our immune system stronger.
Scientists believe the overuse of antibacterial products has led to higher incidents of allergies and immune system disorders over the last several decades.
What is the Answer?
Your first line of defense is good, old-fashioned soap and water. Use it to wash your surfaces, your body and your clothes.
Natural Disinfectants – The Safer Alternative
• Spray hydrogen peroxide – which whitens like bleach but much more safely – followed by spraying vinegar on surfaces.
• Simmering cloves and cinnamon on the stove is an effective air freshener and baking soda absorbs odors in carpets, trash cans and inside your fridge and freezer. The best air freshener is to find the problem, fix it and open the windows for fresh air.
• Baking soda mixed with apple cider vinegar does a better job – and is far less toxic – than other bathroom scrubbing powders. Perfect for toilets and tubs.
• Vinegar used alone is safe and effective on counters, floors and windows. One cup of vinegar to three cups of water is strong enough to clean even the grimy outsides of your windows.
• Baking soda added to your rinse cycle is an effective fabric softener.
• Club soda in a spray bottle also works well on windows and mirrors.
• Lavender and tea tree oils are antiseptic and naturally antibacterial – in much lower doses – and leave behind a pleasant smell when added to baking soda or hydrogen peroxide.
Small steps that slowly replace the antibacterial products in your home with natural disinfectants cleansers will allow your immune system to catch up and fortify itself. Of course you want your home clean and smelling fresh.
If there is already illness in the home and you need to use bleach – dilute one teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water and wipe down all surfaces. Leave slightly damp and allow to air dry.
Natural disinfectants may require a bit more creativity and elbow grease, but developing a stronger defense against illness and disease is an immune boosting trade-off.