You’ve Probably Been Using Clorox Wipes All Wrong

Let’s talk about cleaning products, shall we? Namely, the Clorox wipe. You know what we’re talking about: the disinfectant cloths that come in that fun tube? They’re one of the best ways to clean the house in the nick of time (i.e., when your clean-freak mother-in-law unexpectedly tells you that she’s on her way over).

No rubber gloves, no clunky cleaning equipment, Clorox wipes are simply the best. From your kitchen counters to your coffee table and bedroom dresser, Clorox wipes are always there to get rid of germs, crumbs, dirt, you name it. I mean, one of the reasons we love Clorox wipes so much is that they can be used on anything—right?

Unfortunately for our porous surfaces, no. You actually shouldn’t use Clorox wipes on any surface that’s protected by a sealant because it could damage that sealant. For example, the ever popular granite countertops are one of the most common surfaces that fall into this category.

The ingredient that can cause the damage is the citric acid in the Clorox wipe, which is known to not counteract so well on this kind of surface. For granite, experts recommend just using the tried and true soap and water for those.

All right, so that’s not that exciting—and it kind of stinks if you’ve been using Clorox wipes on your granite (guilty). But here’s what really blew our minds: There’s actually a right and wrong way to use Clorox wipes—and it actually says it right there on the directions (but who really reads and follows those anyway?).

What’s the proper way to use a Clorox wipe?

“The main issue with wipes that disinfect is they have to be used precisely as the label instructs,” Dr. Ivan Ong, a microbiologist and VP of research and development at Microban, told Apartment Therapy. “The use instructions for Clorox’s disinfecting wipes stipulates that you should ‘Wipe surface, using enough wipes for the treated surface to remain visibly wet for four minutes. Let surface dry.’ Many users in a household rarely time themselves for four minutes while ensuring the surface is wet.”

Um, you’ve got that right. Like we said, we use Clorox wipes when we’re in a pinch—we want to get the house clean, and fast. Who has time to wait approximately four whole minutes, let alone stare at the surface to ensure it’s still wet?

Don’t worry—we in a hurry who do this aren’t alone. Dr. Ong says that most people don’t actually wait four minutes, and that they just continue to wipe the surface until it’s dry. That’s what we deem as clean, after all.

Cleaning this way isn’t the worst thing in the world, but technically, it’s not quite cleaning the surface as much as we think if we aren’t following those directions to a T. “What this might do is spread germs around the surface,” says Dr. Ong. Ugh, dang it.

Do you ever use Clorox wipes exactly the way they’re supposed to be used? Are you going to start now, or find yourself a less time-consuming product? Hmm, we’re still not sure what to think about this one!