Is It Safe To Use Disinfectant All The Time?

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly increased the popularity of disinfectants. As the pandemic worsened, products flew off the shelves and at one point, it was difficult to even find disinfectants in stock at stores. As more information was dispersed about the transmission of COVID-19, we learned it was largely airborne transmission that was driving the pandemic (via Livestrong). This leads us to question if it's safe to use disinfectant all the time?

The answer can vary based on your specific situation. If you have small children or respiratory issues, experts say regular disinfecting won't do much harm. The benefits outweigh the negatives of disinfecting, especially if someone in your household has COVID-19.

However, there are some risks to be aware of when using disinfectants. Most disinfectant sprays include volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that can cause respiratory issues when inhaled. Some side effects of inhaling VOCs are coordination loss, headaches, irritation of your eyes, nose or throat, and nausea (via Environmental Protection Agency). Inhalation issues can prove to be a problem particularly when disinfecting indoors. Using wipes rather than sprays can help with respiratory issues, along with disinfecting with proper ventilation by keeping the windows open for fresh air.

Possible risks of too much disinfecting

Disinfectants can also cause skin irritation like contact dermatitis or eczema, typically on the hands. This can be mitigated by using gloves while disinfecting, washing your hands over using hand sanitizers, and moisturizing your skin.

Over-cleaning is known to kill off both good and bad bacteria, making it harder for your immune system to fight off infection. This is particularly important in children, as experts say they need exposure to germs to help their immune systems develop. Experts say aside from the kitchen, you should keep heavy cleaning to weekly and use disinfectants in the bathroom only.

You should also be mindful of your human and fur children if disinfecting commonly accessed surfaces. Toxic chemicals can lead to gastrointestinal issues if consumed.

Overall, disinfecting can be perfectly fine if done safely with proper ventilation, safety gear, and away from those with respiratory issues, children or pets. It is important to remember to also clean, not just disinfect.