When not to use antibacterial wipes

Antibacterial wipes may seem like a fast and friendly solution to dirty surfaces, but they aren’t always as suited or safe as you might think. The Readers Digest has come up with warnings about when not to pull out those handy antibacterial wipes.

Kitchen counter
Your kitchen counter is exposed to its fair share of bacteria, so it’s best to disinfect it regularly. However, you’d be wrong to think that a disinfectant wipe is enough to keep your family safe from the germs in raw chicken and the like. To properly disinfect the surfaces in your kitchen, you’ll have to wash them with hot soapy water. The same applies for your bathroom counter and fixtures.

Soft surfaces
Some antibacterial solutions need to sit on a solid surface and remain wet for a few minutes to take effect. This isn’t possible on some soft surfaces such as carpets, foam or fabrics. This means that the wipe may not only be ineffective, but it may also damage the surface area.

Leather
Some wipes contain alcohol, which can dehydrate leather. After multiple uses the leather may be left looking flaky and dry.

Sealed surfaces
Sealed surfaces such as marble and granite may be damaged by the chemicals and acids in antibacterial wipes. It’s best to use soap and water on these surfaces, as antibacterial products may leave them looking dull. This also applies to any lacquered furniture, as it may react to the chemicals and alcohol in antibacterial wipes.

Wooden surfaces
Hard wood surfaces often lose their shine when they are scrubbed multiple times or with certain chemicals. You also shouldn’t leave water or moisture resting on hard wood surfaces for too long as this may alter its appearance. The solution in antibacterial wipes needs to remain wet on the surface for a few minutes, so is incompatible with hard wood.

Kid’s toys
The rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria has been partly blamed on the overuse of antibacterial wipes and soaps. The removal of bacteria means that our bodies aren’t exposed to pathogens, so we cannot build up an immunity to them naturally. When children aren’t exposed to bacteria early in life, they remain vulnerable later. Antibacterial wipes also replace bacteria with chemicals, potentially harming children should they put toys in their mouths.

Overusing one wipe
As useful as they may be, an antibacterial wipe isn’t designed to clean a large surface area. If you wipe down your sink and then move to wipe down your bench top, you may be spreading more bacteria than you are killing.

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Written by Liv Gardiner

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