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How to properly use Antibacterial Wipes!

Antibacterial wipes seem like the superheroes of cleaning supplies: They’re easy to grab, completely disposable, and promise a clean and disinfected counter — if (and only if!) you use them absolutely correctly.  Even though these cleaners are billed as “easy,” they still require your care and attention when you use them. Make a wrong move, and all of their superpowers essentially disappear.

​Here’s the latest proof to that point: Researchers in the United Kingdom tested how well a single disinfecting wipe killed three different types of bacteria along three consecutive stainless steel surfaces. And what they found out is disappointing, to say the least: Apparently one wipe should only be used in a small area (about a meter square) in order to kill the bacteria. If you use the wipe on a bigger surface (or switch from, say, your microwave to your counter top with the same wipe) you might be spreading the bacteria instead of banishing it.

So if you only grab one piece to wipe down your entire kitchen island, you’re doing it wrong: You likely need two or three to really get the job done. Bummer, we know. But Michaelle Exhume, a product analyst in the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, says it’s worth the extra wipe or two: “​It’s not good practice to use one wipe across multiple surfaces, because this will likely cause cross-contamination.” (Yuck!)

But more than anything, Exhume recommends following the manufacturer’s directions: “If the area wiped does not remain wet for the time directed on the package, you’re only removing dirt and debris on the surface, not disinfecting,” says Exhume.

The bottom line: These trusty wipes are still effective, but each individual one might not go as far as you think. So just make sure you buy ’em in bulk from now on.

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