The effectiveness of three home products in cleaning and disinfection of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli on home environmental surfaces

J Appl Microbiol. 2015 Nov;119(5):1245-52. doi: 10.1111/jam.12935. Epub 2015 Sep 24.


Aims: The objectives of this study were to investigate three products for: (i) cleaning effectiveness on two common household surfaces, and (ii) disinfection effectiveness against two common bacteria. Products included conventional ('bleach'), environmentally preferable (EP), do-it-yourself (DIY: distilled white vinegar, club soda, tea tree oil), 24-h old DIY, and individual DIY components in dilution.

Methods and results: For cleaning ceramic, no product was effective (≥85% removal of Hucker's soil), however, DIY performed better than EP and bleach. On stainless, only DIY failed to meet the standard. For disinfection, bleach and EP achieved ≥5·00 log10 reductions under all conditions. DIY and components were more active against Escherichia coli than Staphylococcus aureus but only fresh DIY and 50% vinegar achieved ≥5·00 log10 reductions.

Conclusions: EP is an effective alternative to bleach. DIY may be an adequate alternative for cleaning ceramic and for household use, where complete elimination of micro-organisms is unnecessary; however, it must be freshly prepared each day.

Significance and impact of the study: This is the first report of performance of purportedly safer alternatives for both cleaning and disinfection for use in home health care. The EP product and DIY are potential alternatives for some household uses.

Keywords: cleaning; disinfection; environmental surface; home health care; infection control.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disinfectants / pharmacology*
  • Disinfection / instrumentation
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / growth & development
  • Household Articles
  • Housing
  • Humans
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects*
  • Staphylococcus aureus / growth & development


  • Disinfectants