You've Probably Been Cleaning With Disinfectant Wipes All Wrong

Disinfectant wipes have been popular cleaning tools for a while now since you can quickly and singlehandedly use them to clean without busting out a bottle of cleanser and a separate rag or paper towel. And their popularity surged when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the states, with stores quickly selling out of the wipes as worried homeowners scoured their houses from floor to ceiling.

However, even if you're a fan of disinfectant wipes, they may be more than you need for day-to-day cleaning. If you're wiping household surfaces in an effort to kill germs and prevent the spread of disease, using regular soap and water is just as effective — and saves waste if you use a reusable cloth, per Today. But, there are times when disinfectants are needed to do the job, including when you're wiping counters that have come into contact with raw meat or when someone in your household is sick.

But, even if you're diligently wiping down phones, doorknobs, light switches, and other high-touch-point areas in your home, you may be using disinfectant wipes wrong anyway, which means all your efforts were a waste of time. Keep reading to find out the proper way to use disinfectant wipes.

Disinfectant wipes seem like a quick fix but require patience

Using disinfectant wipes seems like a no-brainer: You wipe a surface, and then it's clean, right? Not necessarily. Your wipe needs to keep the surface your cleaning wet for a set amount of time to be effective, according to the CDC (via Today). 

So, not only do you need to be more patient and mindful in your daily cleaning, but you need to check the package of each product you're using since instructions vary. For example, the surface should remain wet for four minutes in order to disinfect when using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes. On the other hand, when using Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes, the surface should appear visibly wet for 10 minutes to be effective.

Another common mistake is that someone will use one wipe to clean an entire room. Instead, per Today, you should use one wipe to clean one surface and then dispose of it — or else you could risk spreading germs from one site to another.

Finally, if you use disinfectants all day, every day, it could result in the formation of superbugs, bacteria that are highly resistant to treatment, according to Today. So, the next time you're cleaning, don't overlook simple soap and water — they can do the job just as well.