We used to use disinfecting wipes all over the place.
Counters, floor… even our hands. Yes that’s dumb, but we thought the point of these wipes (like Lysol or Clorox) was to be uber convenient. Pull it out like a Kleenex, wipe something off, and BOOM, it’s clean.
I bring this up because we’re not the only ones that use wipes this way – even though their own labeling says you can’t just use them, willy nilly.
With our goal of a toxin-free home, we don’t use wipes any more. Here’s why:
Disinfecting Wipes’ Own Labeling Defeats the Purpose
That’s what so many of us pay for. That’s one of the joys of living in the 21st century – everything is so dang fast, easy, and cheap.
Ziploc bags, microwaveable popcorn, McDonald’s, and disinfecting wipes.
But as it turns out, wipes were never meant to be convenient. Sure they’re packaged that way, but take a look at their label:
Oh. I guess that means I shouldn’t have used them like hand sanitizer. But wash hands after use? If it’s not meant to be on your hands… probably don’t want your food touching it, right?
We’ve been using these ALL WRONG! Take a look at these countertop instructions:
So now I’m washing my hands, and washing my counter afterwards? In fairness, they DID warn us with their labeling.
Did you also notice in those instructions that you should keep the countertop visibly wet for 4 minutes? Jeez, Clorox! How many wipes does THAT take? These things are like the opposite of convenient.
Funny anecdote: we learned how to make our sourdough bread from our holistic doctor. He said that he commonly sees people who actually kill their sourdough by kneading it on a counter cleaned with disinfecting wipes. If it can kill the probiotics in sourdough….
Harmful Antibiotic Ingredients
We’ve done a complete rundown on why you should karate-kick antibiotics to the curve, but we found some more damning evidence:
- This study concludes that antibacterials should be discontinued in consumer products until proven safe, with an emphasis on preventing the creation of superbugs.
- One of the lead microbiologists with the FDA, Colleen Rogers, has said there is no current evidence that OTC antibacterial soap is any more effective than washing with plain soap and water. She even went so far as to say:
New data suggest that the risks associated with long-term, daily use of antibacterial soaps may outweigh the benefits.
- According to EWG’s website (our go-to source for checking up on toxic ingredients in our products), 3 of the main ingredients in Clorox wipes cause moderate concern for “respiratory effects.”
- Triclosan and Triclocarban (common chemicals in antibiotics and seen in disinfecting wipes) have been shown to significantly alter thyroid functions in rats, cause endocrine disruption in aquatic wildlife, and cause “progressive carcinogenesis of human breast cells from non-cancerous to pre-malignant.” That’s just saying it’s a proven contributor of cancer.
And if you’re thinking our bodies just expel this stuff before it causes damage, think again:
Regular use of products that contain triclosan appears to contribute to concentrations detected in humans.
Several studies have found triclosan in urine, serum, and breast milk.
Okay, You’ve Made Your Point. What Do I Do?
If you’ve been using disinfecting wipes, don’t be hard on yourself. As parents, we do the best we can to keep the house clean and help our kids, but we also have to keep our sanity. Convenience is often king because we’re too busy making sure our kids don’t stick their fingers in electrical outlets or eating the chapstick (and lotion in Ryker’s case).
But now that the evidence exists, it’s time to swap out those wipes for other more natural approaches that won’t contribute to cancer, asthma, or endocrine problems (and specifically your thyroid).
Use good ol’ hot soapy water with a paper towel. Most of the germs we worry about come from actual chunks of food staying on our counter or sticking to your pots and pans. Get rid of those, and most of the concern is gone.
Researches from the Welsch School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University discovered that one of the big issues with wipes is they mostly just spread germs around. This is why we recommend paper towels – you can chuck them after cleaning an area.
In our house, we stay far away from green sponges or a cloth that hangs out in our sink. Those are gross natural breeding grounds for germy-germs to hang around and proliferate like rabbits.
Make your own cleaners! With water, castile soap, and certain essential oils, you’ve got an all-natural cleaner that you could serve as a drink and only be concerned with the flavor.
We get all our cleaner recipes from Mommypotamus (best eBook I’ve ever bought!). The recipes are dirt cheap, dead easy to make, and you can feel better about not slathering cancer-causing toxins and antibiotics on your counters.
And lastly, you can make your own disposable wipes (if you’re into the convenience and a total DIYer)! All you need is a baby wipes container, a roll of paper towels (or fold up some old cloths for reusable wipes) cut in half, and the right anti-microbial all-natural ingredients. Here’s a recipe we’d try.
What do you think about using disinfecting wipes? Have you considered an alternative?