One of the Best Disinfectants is Simple Soap
January 31, 2006
Allison Janse, co-author of The Germ Freak's Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu, turns into "a Stepford wife" whenever one of her family members gets sick.
Her techniques include spraying disinfectants on phones, doorknobs, TV remotes, light switches, the refrigerator handle and everything in the bathroom. Then she dips toothbrushes in Listerine, washes all toys, and changes bedding daily.
Even Janse admits this may be overdoing it. The effects of this kind of hygienic assault on diseases is unknown. No study has shown that a vigorous program of home disinfection leads to a reduction of illness in a family.
Hot, Soapy Water
Cheryl Mendelson, author of Home Comforts: The Art and Science of Keeping House, in contrast, prefers plain hot, soapy water. She believes that the heavy marketing of disinfecting cleaners has led many to mistakenly believe that simple soaps and detergents aren't good enough.
Marketing of anti-bacterial hand soaps, for example, led many to buy products that the FDA has said are unnecessary and possibly dangerous.
The best solution for preventing the spread of disease is, most likely, frequent hand-washing.