Clorox wipes are a common and beloved household item. Due to how often they are used, and how expensive they can be, many begin wondering if they can be reused with the same effectiveness. While I was searching for ways to save money and products in my own home, I looked into reusing my Clorox wipes.
Can you reuse clorox wipes? Most experts say no. In fact, to get the most effective disinfectant coverage, more than one wipe may need to be used at a time. It is possible to make your own reusable clorox wipes to reduce waste.
The conclusion seems clear cut here, but diving into why and ways to keep sustainable disinfecting going should help explain the answer.
How To Effectively Use Clorox Wipes
The main reason clorox wipes should not be used across multiple surfaces, or multiple times, is due to how they are meant to be used in the first place. Disinfectant wipes are supposed to make the surface wet for a minimum of four minutes. Some brands recommend up to ten minutes on the back of their containers!
Disinfectants only work as long as the disinfectant is touching the surface. This is commonly called contact time, and is what is actually killing germs. The longer a surface is wet with the chemical solution, the more germs will be killed. This means that occasionally, even one wipe will not be enough.
When To Change To A New Clorox Wipe
Changing to a new Clorox wipe should happen under a variety of different circumstances. The two most common ones are:
- Switching between surfaces
- When the wipes have lost their saturation
It may seem wasteful to switch so much more often, but this will ensure that the wipes are actually disinfecting, rather than just cleaning the surface of the various parts of your home.
Switching between surfaces with the same clorox wipe is not recommended. While it may seem like this is effective, the main hazard that comes from this is the spreading of germs. The clorox wipe can pick up a variety of bacteria and germs from one area, which is good.
Sadly, though, if that same clorox wipe is then used on an entirely separate area of your home, it is likely to simply spread them in the new area. Switch wipes every time you switch surfaces to keep disinfected areas clean.
Another common time when wipes should be switched out is when they have lost their saturation factor. While it may seem absurd to see how much solution most of these disposable wipes are covered in, this is really the power of disinfectant wipes. Because contact time for disinfectants needs to be so long, it is vital that most of the solution is being left behind on the first wipe.
To ensure proper cleaning, the moment you notice the wipe is no longer full of cleaning solution, it is time to toss it. Occasionally, this will mean that larger areas such as counters or doors need more than one wipe to fully clean.
When To Use Clorox Wipes
While keeping in mind how to effectively use clorox wipes to disinfect, it may seem a waste to use an expensive and occasionally hard to find item for daily cleaning. To help save money, the environment, and avoid making germs resistant to disinfectant, it is useful to consider whether you really need to use clorox wipes or another daily cleaner.
In reality, for most cleaning needs a simple solution of soap and water or other cleaning product will do the trick. This will create less worry, less trash, and keep costs down.
However, sometimes clorox wipes really are the best solution. Times like these include:
- Cleaning after working with raw meat
- Wiping after a sick child or person
- Cleaning high contact areas during times of sickness
Other nonspecific times where disinfectant wipes may be the best bet are generally marked by lots of contact or working with things or people that can get you sick. Otherwise, a general cleaning should do just fine for daily maintenance.
Alternatives To Clorox Wipes
Clorox wipes can be expensive, hard to find, and create lots of waste. Due to this, many alternatives have been developed to keep their ease of use while reducing their impact on people.
Outside of simple name brand alternatives, there are ways to make disinfectant solutions at home or for much cheaper than the normal wipes. In addition, it is possible to make reusable and washable wipes utilizing most of these cleaners (though they should still only be used once on each surface before washing!)
Some of the most common alternative are:
- Diluted Bleach
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
The most important part of choosing an alternative to clorox wipes is to make sure that it can actually disinfect surfaces. Otherwise, soap and water will be just as effective. Because of this, common household cleaners are a mixed bag. Be sure to read the labels and check before relying on anything.
Diluted bleach is one of the best alternatives because of its ease of access and general use in cleaning and disinfecting. Mixed into a simple concoction of bleach and hot water, this will help scrub away any and all germs in your home.
Keep the amount of bleach very small. A common recommendation is about 4 teaspoons per quart of water. Anymore than this and bleach can start causing damage to some surfaces.
Be wary of bleaching various surfaces while cleaning this way. Although very good at disinfecting, bleach is not meant to be used on everything. If you are unsure of the way bleach will interact with a material you want to disinfect, spot test on a small, out of the way area in case things go wrong.
In addition, bleach can cause metals to rust if left mixed with water too long. Do not leave the cleaning solution mixed together past use, and check to make sure your bleach is not expired.
Rubbing alcohol is a common household item, useful for cleaning wounds or other abrasions. Another use, however, is for fighting off viruses. Rubbing alcohol comes diluted already, at various percentages, and should be effective for keeping away most diseases. The higher a concentration you can find, the more effective it will be. Be sure to grab at least 70 percent alcohol for the best usage.
Due to the price of rubbing alcohol, as well as the smell, it is wise to keep use of this item pretty exclusive. Consider only using rubbing alcohol on high contact areas like doorknobs and seats, or other areas where people congregate.
Hydrogen peroxide is a fantastic cleaner for breaking down all sorts of bacteria and germs. Even better, almost every house has some variation of it on hand. Be careful to not mix hydrogen peroxide with other cleaners such as bleach, as doing this can cause health problems.
Hydrogen peroxide can be sprayed or wiped on most surfaces, although it can discolor some materials like fabrics or leathers. Once again, test in a small, unknown spot if you are unsure. One big boon of hydrogen peroxide is its usage on metal.
Unlike bleach, hydrogen peroxide has no chance of rusting metals and can be sprayed or splashed onto all sorts of doorknobs and handles.
Common household hydrogen peroxide is a 3% solution, and that should handle almost all of your disinfecting needs.
Know How to Disinfect the Right Way
While you may want to reuse Clorox wipes to save a few wipes, it will not be effective. Instead, consider using a rag and an alternative disinfectant to get the job done.