Cleaning Showdown: Scientists Test Wipes vs Soap & Water — Their Result Might Surprise You…


We all know the type of people who maintain a kitchen that seems as sterile as can be to the point of obsessiveness.

According to a story in the UK’s <a href=””>Telegraph</a>, a new study from Northumbria University in Newcastle upon Tyne has cast doubt on one tool of the hyper-cleaners.

Dr. Clare Lanyon, a biomedical scientist from Northumbria University, has conducted an experiment on the effectiveness of anti-bacterial wipes commonly used to ‘touch up’ or spot treat contaminated areas.

Lanyon found that such wipes are, for all intents and purposes, useless. This is because bacteria can replicate itself within 20 minutes if at least one cell is left untouched. With wipes boasting a bacteria kill rate of only up to 99 percent, it should become obvious that the use of them are, as Lanyon says, “an absolutely redundant” exercise.

“Some bacteria can divide every 20 minutes so it doesn’t take long for one cell to become one million cells – in fact it would only take around 6.6 hours,” said Lanyon.

Instead, Lanyon suggests that those cleaning kitchen surfaces use good old bar soap and water, which contains ingredients that effectively kill bacteria by breaking down their cell walls.

Dr. Lanyon conducted the experiment for the BBC program, ‘Trust Me I’m A Doctor’. The audience saw the “dramatic growth” of microbes within 12 hours of cleaning of a regular kitchen surface with wipes.

Advise was also offered as how to minimize the chance of contracting the bacteria. Lanyon strongly suggested that after handling raw meat, the area, utensils and the individual’s hands should be cleaned thoroughly with soap and water.

Lanyon stated that it is impossible to keep a kitchen and any room entirely free of microbes, so it is a waste of time to obsess over extreme acts of sterilization.


“The point of the show is you don’t need to be so fastidious in cleaning your house from top to bottom because you can’t actually remove all bacteria and nor would we want to – exposing ourselves to everyday pathogens is good in keeping the immune system healthy and strong.

“The research shows you can quite quickly reestablish bacteria that we have in our homes anyway. You’re never going to get your home sterile and clean – no way – and there are better things to be doing with your time.”


Lanyon added: “Spend your time cleaning up after food that’s known to be high risk. But on a Sunday, if your kitchen is clean, don’t be cracking out the antibacterials and wiping it down because it’s an absolutely redundant exercise – the minute you walk around the kitchen you’re shedding bacteria and fungi into the area again and it’s just recolonising.”

“Personally I don’t waste my time purchasing antibacterial products for the home… Our research found that a lot of antibacterial cleaning products were not as effective as good old fashioned soap and water.”
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