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Antimicrobial Activity of Home Disinfectants and Natural Products Against Potential Human Pathogens

  • William A. Rutala (a1) (a2), Susan L. Barbee (a3), Newman C. Aguiar (a3), Mark D. Sobsey (a3) and David J. Weber (a1) (a2) (a4)...



To assess the efficacy of both natural products (vinegar, baking soda) and common commercial disinfectants (Vesphene Ilse, TBQ, Clorox, Lysol Disinfectant Spray, Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner, Mr. Clean Ultra, ethanol) designed for home or institutional use against potential human pathogens, including selected antibiotic-resistant bacteria.


A quantitative suspension test was used to assess the efficacy of selected disinfectants following exposure times of 30 seconds and 5 minutes. Activity was assessed against Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella choleraesuis, Escherichia coli 0157:H7, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Selected disinfectants were also tested against poliovirus, vancomycin-susceptible and -resistant Enterococcus species, and methicillin-susceptible and -resistant S aureus.


The following compounds demonstrated excellent antimicrobial activity (>5.6-8.2 log10 reduction) at both exposure times: TBQ, Vesphene, Clorox, ethanol, and Lysol Antibacterial Kitchen Cleaner. Mr. Clean eliminated 4 to >6 logs10 and Lysol Disinfectant ~4 logs10 of pathogenic microorganisms at both exposure times. Vinegar eliminated <3 logs10 of S aureus and E coli, and baking soda <3 logs10 of all test pathogens. All tested chemical disinfectants completely inactivated both antibiotic-resistant and -susceptible bacteria at both exposure times. Only two disinfectants, Clorox and Lysol, demonstrated excellent activity (>3 log10 reduction) against poliovirus.


A variety of commercial household disinfectants were highly effective against potential bacterial pathogens. The natural products were less effective than commercial household disinfectants. Only Clorox and Lysol disinfectant were effective against poliovirus


Corresponding author

′547 Burnett-Womack Bldg, CB 7030, Division of Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7030


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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
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