Should I use disinfectant?

Real Mom Problem

“What do you clean with when your kids get sick? I use vinegar and water and I put a little bit of rubbing alcohol in it. One of my friends started yelling at me once because I wasn't using bleach!”

by timslilangel timslilangel

Quick Tips

  • 1. It's important to disinfect kitchen surfaces where you're preparing food and bathroom surfaces where bacteria is likely lurking
  • 2. Try to stick with natural disinfectants such as hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and steam, which are safer than chemicals for people and pets
  • 3. Be sure to disinfect cutting boards and countertops after preparing raw meat, poultry, or fish
  • 4. Use a disinfectant to clean doorknobs, light switches, phones, remotes, plastic toys, etc. to help keep germs from spreading, especially after someone has been sick
  • 5. If you have a dishwasher, use it to disinfect glasses and silverware or use very hot, soapy water to clean them
  • 6. Read warning labels and always use cleaning products according to directions

Real Mom Solutions

Using disinfectant strategically will help keep germs from spreading, which is especially important when someone has been sick. However, it's not necessary to bleach every surface in your house for it to be "clean." See how these moms disinfectant.

Becky Becky

Our Expert Mom Says...

Use a disinfectant that is safe to use around people. Disinfecting isn't necessary all the time, but in the bathroom and kitchen, there are definitely times when it's needed. Read the warning labels and make sure that the ingredients listed are safe to use. There are a lot of natural disinfecting cleaners you can mix up yourself, and I recommend using those in lieu of products that contain toxic chemicals.

Did you know that you can use hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant? You can screw a sprayer top on to a hydrogen peroxide (3%) bottle (hydrogen peroxide is light sensitive, so keep it in the container it came in) and spray any surfaces that need disinfecting. (Be careful because hydrogen peroxide can bleach towels and other surfaces, so you might want to test it in a less visible area first). I use this cleaner for cutting boards, the kitchen sink, and the shower as needed.

I keep disinfecting wipes handy in the kitchen and in each bathroom for quick clean-ups and disinfecting. I prefer to use the Method Antibac wipes. They smell great and work even better. Vinegar and lemon juice are natural alternatives that, when used properly, disinfect as well. You can mix up your own disinfecting all-purpose cleaner (in a spray bottle) with one cup of water, one cup of white vinegar, one to two tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, and a drop or two of essential oil (clove mixed with lemon or orange is my favorite cleaning scent).

Disinfectants that have a long list of warnings and need to be stored locked up aren't necessary and they are harmful to breathe in and clean with. You can research harmful ingredients online, but some common ones to try to avoid are ammonia, bleach (though I do use bleach to clean my front-loading washer), sodium laurel sulfate, and phthalates, to name a few.

Becky, aka Clean Mama, is a cleaning expert, list maker, wife, and busy mom to three little ones. She blogs at Clean Mama where she talks about all things clean and organized and she has a successful Etsy shop, Clean Mama Printables, where she helps others make lists, organize, and clean. She's been featured in HGTV magazine, as well as on, and Becky strives to make homekeeping fun AND easily implemented into everyday life.

The Moms of CafeMom Say...

  • Marz31

    We have botanical disinfectant wipes that don't need rinsing and they clean the countertops really well.

  • lovelychaos13

    Generally I clean most surfaces with a hot water and soap mixture with a washcloth. Only a few times a year do I bust out a can of spray Lysol disinfectant when the kids bring a bug home from school, or the nightmare that is pink eye is going around school. The school said it's impossible to contain that and we should expect the family to all get it when my oldest had it. Nope! I kept it contained to just her! It was a pain; I sprayed frequently-touched things like a mad woman, and I kept the kids separated.

  • johnny4ever

    I use a disinfectant when somebody has the flu.

  • lucsch

    I try not to overdo it with the disinfecting. I think we all need to learn to live with a reasonable level of germs. The only time I go out of my way to disinfect is on the occasion that someone brings home a tummy bug. I do try to clean well in the kitchen with hot water and dish detergent. We change our dishcloths, kitchen towels, and bathroom hand towels frequently, too -- at least daily.

  • MamaJane

    I don't bleach anything. I don't do anything different when my kids are sick, I just clean more diligently and more often.

  • Caitlin411

    If I'm trying to disinfect, I use steam.

  • Mommyto2cherubs

    I use the Great Value disinfecting wipes. I think they work great. I use them daily in my kitchen and bathroom. I also use them to clean my kids' toys and to wipe down my trash cans.