White vinegar, lemon, bicarbonate: are natural “disinfectants” as effective as chemical ones? An expert’s opinion: Femme Actuelle Le MAG

They have the wind in their sails. We spot them all over social media. Drawn to clean as well as to disinfect, they are sometimes attributed with miraculous properties. What about the functions of natural household products or even homemade mixtures (for the latter, pay attention to their shelf life) based on household white vinegar, lemon, citric acid, baking soda or even soda crystals? ? On her Instagram account, Océane Sorel, a scientist specializing in virology, popularizes public health subjects with humor and in particular everything relating to microbes. In a dedicated mini-guide, she gives her opinion on household products that really disinfect to respond to this very viral trend taken up by many insiders.

Be careful, these homemade products do not disinfect effectively

According to Océane Sorel, the “homemade products“are wrongly presented as”effective disinfectantsnon-toxic and natural“. According to her, they “can be useful for cleaning but they are not reliable disinfectants!“She refers to:

  • with household white vinegar
  • with lemon
  • with baking soda
  • with essential oils.

Why are these products not effective?

To justify her remarks, the scientist explains in his mini-guide that “their ability to fight microbes is very limited and depends on several factors such as temperature, product concentration, type of microbe (they are not effective against all!) and contact time. Although they may offer a slight antimicrobial effect under certain conditions, they do not guarantee complete and constant disinfection.“She does not specify in detail which ones are effective against which microbe but she ends by ironically:”save the vinegar for the salad!

These products that really disinfect

Should we therefore return to classic chemicals, that is to say the most toxic? “Unfortunately, yes. If you’re looking for 100% reliable natural alternatives for home use, Océane Sorel doesn’t have any. To date, there is no natural disinfectant.effective and completely non-toxicshe specifies in her guide.

But let’s not forget an important reminder: “Even the natural is chemical“. Although called “natural”, raw products are also part of biocides (which kill the living). It’s just that it is more difficult to control their effectiveness, unlike these 4 types of products:

  • Bleach : the most famous and very effective for a majority of microbes. “It is important to use it diluted with cold water, as hot water reduces its effectiveness and can release toxic vapors“, indicates the expert.
  • Household alcohol (with a concentration of 70°): be careful when using it. His downside? “It tends to evaporate quickly, sometimes making it difficult [l’atteinte du] contact time required to properly disinfect“. It is also highly flammable.
  • Commercially sold disinfectants (containing bleach and/or household alcohol).
  • Disinfectant wipes (although their single use is not the best alternative for the planet).

Is it really necessary to disinfect your home regularly?

The good news ? Disinfection is not always essential. Cleaning is often sufficient. Moreover, it is worth remembering the difference between cleaning and disinfecting:

  • Cleaning is an essential daily gesture which consists of removing dirt, grease and debris. “It does not kill microbes, but physically removes them from the surface and eliminates their food sources, reducing their numbers and preventing their proliferation.
  • DisinfectionShe “kills remaining microbes on surfaces after cleaning“, indicates Océane Sorel before insisting: “it should be used only when necessary and in addition, on surfaces that are already clean.

Natural or not, it’s “the dose [qui] makes the poison“. Whether for health or the environment, it is better to use them in moderation and only when necessary. Indeed, it is useful to remember that these are dangerous products, generally flammable and should be handled with care. However, they are useful in the event of:

  • encrusted dirt (fridge, freezer but also furniture and surfaces)
  • of epidemics flu, gastro or other microbe
  • of surfaces in contact with raw food (and in particular the kitchen, cutting boards, utensils)
  • For protect the most vulnerable.

The right actions to adopt

This article is an opportunity to remind you of the good actions to adopt on a daily basis to maintain your interior and limit your disinfection needs at home. To do this, we can:

  • clean surfaces regularly
  • immediately clean a stain or run to prevent it from becoming a breeding ground for germs

To disinfect:

  • Wear gloves and ventilate well
  • Use a different product than the cleaning product (even if it is “2 in 1”)
  • Rinse after”For minimize residue“.

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