Are the disinfectant cleaners you use at home getting the job done?

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. --- Over one year ago, Michiana confirmed its first COVID-19 case. Since then, much of daily life became about how to stay safe.

With disinfectant sprays and wipes at the top of mind, ABC57 Investigates wanted to find out how effective the cleaners are in getting the job done and whether name brands are worth the extra cash.

ABC57 Investigates coordinated with Andrews University in Berrien Springs to run another experiment.

“Over the past year, people have been more focused on cleaners than ever before,” Medical Technologist and Assistant Professor Melissa Poua said. “And I know you’ve probably experienced too where you go to the supermarket and entire shelves have been wiped out of wipes or cleaners.”

Our team put a few different types of cleaners to the test, including vinegar and water, glass cleaner, sani-spray, generic disinfectant wipes and name brand disinfectant wipes.

“One of the things that makes a cleaner effective is whether it’s able to interfere with the envelope, which is the lipid layer on the outside of the virus,” Poua said.

Medical Technologist and Assistant Professor Melissa Poua conducted the experiment, along with a few of her students who have run a similar test several times in preparation for Andrew University’s Research Symposium.

Our team tested various types of cleaners against vegetable shortening to see how well the disinfectants measured up against the fat layer created by the shortening. Oil control wipes were used to show the visible stain left over after one wipe-through of cleaner.

This test does not show 100% how cleaners would interact with a virus, but it does give an idea of whether the disinfectants would be effective in disrupting the lipid layer of a virus, demonstrated by the vegetable shortening. The disruption is what determines the effectiveness of a cleaner, according to Poua. This is one test, others may produce different results.

Please see video above for experiment and results.

We are trying to help solve the tough problems impacting your life, so if you have a story you want investigated, just send an email to 57investigates@abc57.com.

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