Frequently Asked Questions About Antimicrobials
Antimicrobial vs Antibacterial - What’s the difference?
Antimicrobials and antibacterials are very similar in that they stop or kill bacteria. Antimicrobials, however, also stop the growth of mold and fungi and protect surfaces for longer periods of time compared to antibacterials. Both have widespread uses and applications and should be included in a well-rounded cleaning routine.
What is an antimicrobial?
According to the EPA, an antimicrobial is "intended to disinfect, sanitize, reduce or mitigate growth or development of microbiological organisms or protect inanimate objects, industrial processes or systems, surfaces, water, or other chemical substances from contamination, fouling, or deterioration caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, algae, or slime."
To sum it up, antimicrobials protect you or a surface from potentially harmful microorganisms by stunting or stopping the microorganism's growth.
Should you avoid using bleach to kill bacteria?
In short, YES. Bleach is a popular cleaning agent because it effectively kills bacteria, and its harsh chemical smell only reinforces our bias that it is powerful. However, you no longer have to expose yourself and others to the harmful smell and effects of bleach. Bleach has been shown to irritate the skin and respiratory system, and repeated use only worsens these issues. Those with any respiratory problems such as asthma or allergies are especially susceptible and should avoid using bleach entirely. Instead, opt for a natural, nontoxic antibacterial or antimicrobial agent to clean and sanitize surfaces.