Cleaning is a daily habit that might keep you from getting sick. Your home could be filled with different kinds of germs, from your kitchen counter to your bathroom floor. Many chemical-based cleaning products or natural cleaners claim to do the job, but do disinfectant wipes really kill germs?

a cake made to look like a cup: Do Disinfectant Wipes Actually Kill Germs? © Marvin Tolentino/ Do Disinfectant Wipes Actually Kill Germs? Say you’re cooking in the kitchen. Chances are that your counter has come in contact with residue from raw chicken, steak or other foods that will leave it dirty. So you grab your handy disinfectant wipe to clean the counter and maybe the sink too.

You might be spreading more germs than you’re killing.

According to a review by the Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control, you have to pay attention to how microorganisms can spread or transfer to other surfaces. The removal of bacteria depends on the type of material that the wipe is made out of, the ingredients in the disinfectant solution and the force applied to wipe down the surface.

When it comes to killing bacteria, the surface that gets wiped needs to stay wet for as long as four to 10 minutes — or whatever is instructed on the packaging — in order for the active ingredient in the solution to kill the bacteria. If the wipe isn’t saturated enough to leave the surface wet, there is a chance that it may just prevent the spread of some bacteria, but not kill it.

Not all the bacteria you may find in the dirtiest places in your home are the same. Different bacteria are made up of different cell compositions. So depending on the chemical mixture in the wipe solution, some bacteria can be affected right away, while others may take a while.

To help prevent the spread of contamination, it is recommended that you use one wipe to clean in one direction. One wipe can clean about the size of a standard copy paper. So if you start to clean your countertop then move to wipe down your oven and then your microwave with the same wipe, bacteria can easily be spread. Depending on the size, each surface may require multiple wipes, especially those spots you never think to clean (but should). While you’re making sure your home stays clean and fresh, you should also find out how often you should change your kitchen sponge and other household items.