Cleaning for Health and Safety..Sanitizing with Vinegar and Hydrogen Peroxide

Here is a great question submitted to ICAN (International Custodial Advisors Network)

I have recently read that a combination of hydrogen peroxide and vinegar sprayed separately onto surfaces provides a high degree of sanitation.

Is there any truth to this?

Yes, it appears there is. In tests, the best results came from using one mist right after the other; this was 10 times more effective than using either spray by itself and more effective than mixing the vinegar and hydrogen peroxide in one sprayer.

In tests run at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, pairing the two mists killed virtually all Salmonella, Shigella, or E. coli bacteria on heavily contaminated food and surfaces when used in this fashion, making this spray combination more effective at killing these potentially lethal bacteria than chlorine bleach or any commercially available kitchen cleaner.

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The Vinegar Institute says that white distilled vinegar will clean and disinfect cutting boards, and the acetic acid it contains will remove mineral deposits and various films on common surfaces.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognizes hydrogen peroxide as an oxidizing agent widely used as a disinfectant, therefore a sanitizer. Keep in mind that it is a bleach, so it needs to be used with caution. Dilution ratios are also critical since high concentrations can damage skin. Proper storage must be provided (peroxide is damaged by sunlight).

Many commercial cleaning products based on hydrogen peroxide are now being sold by Jan-San supply houses, so its value is recognized in the industry. However, both white vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are inexpensive and readily available.

If they work well for your applications, use them with confidence.

Lynn E. Krafft, ICAN/ATEX Associate Editor

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