Powerful sanitizing formula kills harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours after spraying. Also kills viruses within 60 seconds of contact. Inhibits mold and mildew growth. Removes soap scum. Useful for bathrooms as well as high-traffic items like doorknobs and faucets.
Can cause temporary but serious eye damage. Not intended for wood or porous surfaces. Keep out of reach of children.
Kills 99.99% of germs, including cold and flu viruses. Biodegradable; Non-chemical, non-synthetic scent that doesn’t linger. Very effective on dirt and grime. We love the one-step cleaning; does not need to be rinsed or wiped off.
Active ingredients thymol and citronella create an herbal thyme and citrus smell that is strong and unpleasant. Pretty expensive.
Kills 141 microorganisms. Powerful product without an overpowering odor. Very effective on showers, especially caulk, ceramic tile, and stone. Tends to leave a nice, clean shine on surfaces. Can be used for multiple household purposes.
Contains ammonia and is hazardous to humans and animals. Only kills mold-causing bacteria but will not remove mold stains from porous surfaces like shower curtains. A little expensive.
Eliminates 99.9% of germs, viruses, and bacteria. Stands out for its light citrus scent that is not altered by disinfectant properties. Comparable alternative to disinfecting wipes. Leaves a streak-free shine like the original. Great price point.
Not effective for heavy-duty cleaning. Disinfecting takes 10 minutes.
Kills 99.9% of germs. Gets top marks for being safe and environmentally friendly. Removes surface mold and mildew. Eliminates rust, hard water, and soap scum stains.
Takes slightly more time to kill germs than chemical-based products. May leave a sticky residue. The smell of the active ingredient, citric acid, is very strong.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
In the bathroom, cleaning isn't enough. Besides scouring away dirt and grime, you need to disinfect your surfaces to keep germs at bay. A disinfectant kills a wide range of potentially harmful microorganisms that may be thriving on surfaces such as the sink, toilet, tub, and tiles. Without using a disinfectant, no matter how vigorously you scrub, bacteria will remain.
A good disinfecting bathroom cleaner is often a broad-spectrum disinfectant, something that allows you to kill the widest variety of germs with just one product. The ideal cleaner acts fast and has been certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Factors such as dwell time, shelf life, and eco-friendliness also matter to many consumers, and it’s important to understand these terms before choosing a product.
Disinfectants are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In order to be certain that a product performs as the label claims, an EPA registration number must appear on the label.
To receive EPA certification, a product undergoes rigorous testing to determine if it can do precisely what the label claims it can do. If it can't, the label must be altered before the product receives certification. For example, in 2011, a company had to remove wording that its hydrogen peroxide product was fungicidal before it could be marketed. The takeaway is, if a disinfectant has an EPA registration number, the claims on the label were tested and found to be true.
Since disinfectants must be tested against specific germs, you could end up getting a half dozen different disinfecting bathroom cleaners to use in your bathroom because each would target a specific microorganism. It is much more economical to choose a broad-spectrum disinfectant, so you only have to use one product to get the job done.
Disinfectants do not kill germs immediately; it takes time for them to work. The length of time it takes for a disinfectant to do its job is the dwell time. During the dwell time, the disinfectant must remain wet and undisturbed on a surface. There are products that require a full three minutes of dwell time and products that require only one minute of dwell time.
For some people, dwell time could be a major selling point. For others, it might not be a big deal.
If you are concerned about the environment (and yourself), it is possible to find disinfectants that are manufactured using safe, non-toxic, or even all-natural products. These disinfectants may cost a bit more, but if being green is important to you, you may find the higher price worth it.
While selecting a product that cleans and disinfects sounds like a good option, it may be wise to use a separate product for each step. The reason: disinfection should occur after a surface has been cleaned.
The shelf life of a disinfectant tells you how long the product can sit on a shelf and remain effective. Some disinfectants may have specific storage conditions that must be met to achieve the maximum shelf life. Read the label to discover what these conditions are. In general, a disinfecting bathroom cleaner is only good for about a year, though some brands have a two-year shelf life. Luckily, most products are used frequently enough that they will be long gone before expiring. If you get a larger refill container, make sure it doesn't expire before you use up the product.
While you may get more bang for your buck by selecting products in bulk, do not over-stock. If you get a larger quantity than you can use in a year, the product may begin to lose effectiveness before it’s used up.
Disinfecting bathroom cleaners tend to exude an offensive, acrid smell that some find hard to tolerate. If you have a sensitive nose, it may be best to look for a product with a somewhat pleasant fragrance.
Just as a cleaning product is not formulated to be a disinfectant, a disinfectant is not typically formulated to clean. While a disinfectant may eliminate certain microorganisms from surfaces, it may also leave dirt behind.
Using disinfectants can be hazardous. You do not want to get any in your eyes or on your skin. For individuals looking for some handy PPE (personal protective equipment), here are three suggestions.
Safety goggles: SuperMore Anti-Fog Safety Goggles with Splash Protection
To protect your eyes from harmful splashes, you'll need to wear safety goggles specifically designed to guard against splashes. SuperMore's safety goggles are anti-fog, impact-resistant models that offer a wide range of vision.
Face Shield: Christmas By Krebs Reusable Face Shields
If you want to step it up a little to protect the skin on your face as well as your eyes, a face shield is what you need. This affordable model comes in a six-pack and features an anti-fog coating along with hypoallergenic foam for comfort.
Cleaning gloves: Elgood Reusable Cleaning Gloves
The most important area to protect when cleaning is your hands. If your hands have ever felt slick or oily when using a disinfectant containing bleach, that feeling is actually the skin on your hands breaking down and dissolving. This offering from Elgood is a two-pack of reusable, latex-free, nonslip cleaning gloves with cotton lining.
Many disinfecting sprays aren't very expensive, so you should be able to find a product in your price range that will fit your needs.
For less than $10, you can find a number of products that clean and disinfect. Some are very effective but read the label to determine if the product can do what you need it to do.
From $10 to $25, you'll find the greatest variety of products, from broad spectrum disinfectants to cleaners masquerading as disinfectants. For most individuals, if you read the label thoroughly, you will find precisely what you need for $15 or $16.
As you move over $25, the two most important elements to change will be volume (you may get a multi-pack or a large refill container) and formula. For instance, at the upper end of the price spectrum, you may find specially formulated disinfecting bathroom cleaners that are less harsh on your skin and the environment.
The chemicals found in disinfectants can be dangerous. If used incorrectly, they can damage your skin, eyes, and/or lungs. If ingested, they can lead to accidental poisoning. Following are a few safety tips to keep in mind when using disinfecting bathroom cleaners.
A. Cleaning simply removes materials, such as dust and dirt, from a surface through the process of scrubbing or washing and rinsing. Sanitizing reduces specific bacteria (the kind identified on the sanitizer's label) by at least 99.9%. Disinfecting is much like sanitizing, but it kills a wider range of specific microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, mildew, or fungi).
A. No. Sanitizers and disinfectants are only effective on specific microorganisms. Each is tested against specific germs to determine if it is potent enough to be called a sanitizer or a disinfectant. This is extremely important for the consumer to realize because it means that not all disinfectants are the same. In other words, if you do not read the label to determine if a disinfectant is effective against the microorganism you need to eradicate, you have no idea if the product is even working.
A. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an independent executive agency of the United States federal government, regulates sanitizers and disinfectants. Each individual product is certified through extensive testing to determine if it meets predefined criteria. It is unlawful to label a product a sanitizer or disinfectant until it has been certified by the EPA. After certification, a product must have a label that contains wording approved by the EPA as well.