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Are Your Go-To Disinfecting Wipes Laden with Pesticides?


Throngs of consumers reach for disinfecting wipes because they believe the product rids their home or work setting of disease-causing microbes. Yet lurking in certain types of these pleasantly scented cleaning agents are pesticides and other toxins that pose a health risk.

While regular cleaning agents remove germs, disinfectants actually kill germs, an effect achieved through the use of antimicrobial pesticides such as quaternary ammonium compounds or “quats.” These pesticides can cause allergies, asthma and irritation of the lungs, eyes and skin. In addition, some wipes contain chorine beach, which is linked to asthma, as well as ortho-phenylphenyl, a chemical associated with cancer. Wipes that are labeled “pre-moistened” may have chemicals like formaldehyde releasers or parabens.

The chemicals present health risks to people of any age, but children are especially vulnerable because of their smaller size. Moreover, aside from the aforementioned adverse effects, the overuse of certain disinfectants can contribute to the emergence of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

When and How Should Disinfecting Wipes Be Used?

In many cases, exposure to the toxic cocktail found in certain types of disinfecting wipes isn’t necessary. According to the hygiene hypothesis, some contact with living bacteria strengthens immunity, particularly in children.

Experts are recommending that the use of particular disinfecting wipes be stopped in classrooms and offices and be confined for use in instances where the benefits outweigh the risks. Such examples would include wiping away body fluids from a contagious illness like the flu or cleaning a cutting board used to cut raw meat.

When cleaning with disinfectant wipes, be careful to use them as directed. Follow certain precautions, including keeping them out of children’s reach, washing hands after use and wearing gloves to avoid contact with skin. After disinfecting a cutting board or kitchen counter, wash it before use to avoid ingesting food that has come in contact with the chemicals.

Are Safer Alternatives Available?

For routine cleaning, make sure you only select disinfecting wipes without the hazardous ingredients mentioned above. Clorox sells great options. Click here to check them out. You can also opt to use soap and water with paper towels. Alternatively, you can make a cleaner by mixing a few drops of tea tree oil (like this one) in vinegar and putting the mixture in a spray bottle. Other nontoxic cleaning agents include baking soda and castile soap. Check the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning to learn more.

Although it’s relatively easy to protect your family from toxic cleaning products at home, it’s more challenging to protect your children at school. Ask their teacher or principal about what policies are in place concerning disinfecting wipes. Some schools prohibit the use of these products. However, if the wipes are used at the school, request nontoxic alternatives.

Antibacterial hand soaps contain hormone-disrupting chemicals like triclocarban or triclosan. The American Medical Association advises against their use because research doesn’t support their claims. One of the best ways to stop the spread of germs is through washing hands frequently with plain soap and water.


Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.

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