7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (2024)

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (1)

Gear-obsessed editors choose every product we review. We may earn commission if you buy from a link. Why Trust Us?

Disinfectant wipes—those convenient and disposable cleaning sheets used to kill surface germs—have had a wild two years. They’ve been around in their current form for more than 20 years, but in the early days of the pandemic, wipes were in such high demand they reached nigh toilet-paper scarcity in stores. The belief was that these magical sheets reduce the transmission of the virus that causes Covid-19 from doorknobs, food delivery packages, and other hard surfaces. But by April of 2021, the CDC had clarified that though it’s “possible for people to be infected through contact with contaminated surfaces or objects (fomites), the risk is generally considered to be low.”

As a result of this statement and emerging research, disinfectant wipes are now considered a far less vital weapon in the battle against Covid spread, though they still have meaningful uses in the home as cleaning agents. Of course, it’s important to know what you’re buying. Few home cleaning situations demand the anti-everything nuclear option you’d use in a high-risk environment like a pharmacy or hospital. Most people will be well-served by gentler disinfectants with equally high rates of killing germs. We tried to take some of the guesswork out of shopping with a list of top disinfectant wipes based on personal experience, customer reviews, environmental rankings, and EPA classification lists.

Related Stories: N95 vs. KN95 Masks: What’s the Difference?Best Air PurifiersCan America’s Fastest Supercomputer Defeat Covid for Good?

What to Consider

First, let’s dive into what a “disinfectant” is—and what it does when applied to hard, nonporous surfaces. The National Institute of Health defines a disinfectant as “any substance or process that is used primarily on nonliving objects to kill germs, such as viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that can cause infection and disease.” In short, disinfectants kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses on surfaces—so they’re also often described as antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antiviral.

The EPA maintains a database—the N List—of disinfectants that have “demonstrated the ability to “kill all strains and variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) when used according to the label directions.” The list includes mostly industrial wipes, as well as some consumer options, which we’ve included here. But a mention on the N List doesn’t mean said wipe is good for the user—or environment. Many wipes use plant-based and chemical compounds like citric acid, thymol, and ethanol to give them their 99 percent effectiveness against bacteria, viruses, mold, and fungi. But others, like the Clorox and Lysol wipes listed below, have quaternary ammonium compounds, or “quats,” as an active ingredient (Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride, specifically), which most researchers recommend people avoid when possible. That’s because quats carry significant environmental dangers—like the potential to lead to antibiotic resistance—as well as health concerns for users, like links to allergy, asthma, and fertility problems, as well as hormonal disruption.

Most users are better served by more eco-friendly alternatives—many of which meet the same high EPA disinfectant standard as Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride-based formulas. We’ve included both options below, and where possible, called out wipes that are not only highly effective but have also been graded well by the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning and met the EPA’s Safer Choice Standard.

How We Evaluated

Like seemingly every other human being on the planet, I became more aware of my cleaning practices—and more interested in buying and stockpiling disinfectants—at the start of the pandemic. However, I’ve kept up with the CDC’s emerging research on surface spread and found a middle ground between the “kill all germs with fire”-style of panic and my usual goal of keeping a clean environment without chemical-bombing my preschooler and pets. To inform my reporting here, I first reached out to chemistry professor and researcher William M. Wuest at Emory University, in Atlanta, who specializes in disinfectants, for information and advice. Then I conducted a deep dive into the available research from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and others on both the effectiveness and potential side effects of household disinfectants. I selected these wipes based on my own experience using them, online reviews, and grades from the EPA and EWG. Whether you’re looking for a quick eco-friendlier way to banish household germs or a harsher disinfectant for high-risk settings, there’s an effective wipe for you.

Safe and Healthy Cleaning

Arm & Hammer Arm & Hammer Essentials Disinfecting Wipes

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (2)

Safe and Healthy Cleaning

Arm & Hammer Arm & Hammer Essentials Disinfecting Wipes

Pros
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (3)Highly effective
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (4)Easy to find
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (5)Graded as a B by the EWG
Cons
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (6)Strong scent

Key Specs

  • Effectiveness: Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria
  • Quantity: 480 (6 packs, 80 wipes per pack)
  • Active Ingredients: Citric acid, isopropyl alcohol

These disinfectant wipes from Arm & Hammer not only meet the EPA’s criteria for use against viruses and bacteria (find them on the EPA’s N List of Covid disinfectants), but they do it purely and simply—without quaternary ammonium or other harsh chemicals like bleach and ammonia. The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning grades the wipes with a B, which is fairly high for such a name-brand cleaner with added fragrance. But that lemony citrus scent, which can be overpowering to sensitive noses, is a clue as to what gives these wipes their strength—citric acid. The wipes are 99.9% effective and safe for use on most hard, nonporous surfaces.

Meets Environmental Standards

Lemi Shine Lemi Shine Disinfecting Wipes

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (7)

Meets Environmental Standards

Lemi Shine Lemi Shine Disinfecting Wipes

Now 22% Off

Pros
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (8)Meet EPA standards
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (9)Highly effective
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (10)Made in USA
Cons
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (11)Some have found the scent overpowering

Key Specs

  • Effectiveness: Kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses
  • Quantity: 450 (6 packs, 75 wipes per pack)
  • Active Ingredient: Citric acid

Lemi Shine makes one of the few available consumer wipes to rank on the EPA’s list of DfE-certified disinfectants, which consists of products that meet the EPA’s Safer Choice Standard and “contain ingredients that have been reviewed for both human health and environmental fate.” The wipes kill over 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses—including, of course, SARS-CoV-2, Staph, Salmonella, and E. Coli—through the magic of citric acid, with no bleach, ammonia, or quats. The wipes have a nice lemon scent and leave residue on surfaces. Plus, they’re made in the USA and hold up to some hearty scrubbing.

Another Great Eco-Friendly Choice

CleanWell CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (12)

Another Great Eco-Friendly Choice

CleanWell CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes

Pros
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (13)Highly effective
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (14)B grade from the EWG
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (15)Plant-based active ingredient
Cons
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (16)Some complained about the smell

Key Specs

  • Effectiveness: Kills 99.9% of bacteria and viruses
  • Quantity: 80 wipes
  • Active Ingredient: Thymol

These herbal-scented disinfectant wipes kill 99.9 percent of household germs using the active and proprietary ingredient thymol, a plant-based component found in thyme oil with a long history of antiseptic use. The EPA says thymol doesn’t have adverse effects on humans or the environment when used according to product directions, and it has categorized CleanWell products on its N list of disinfectants. The EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning gives this wipe a B grade, due to some concerns about allergens in the botanical oils used for scent, and lesser concerns about thymol’s potential respiratory effects. The wipes work on all hard, nonporous surfaces without leaving a lasting residue.

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below

A Virus Killer for High-Risk Settings

Clorox Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (17)

A Virus Killer for High-Risk Settings

Clorox Clorox Disinfecting Wipes

Pros
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (18)Inexpensive
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (19)Easy to find
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (20)Quick and effective for high-risk settings
Cons
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (21)Contain “quats,” which can have major side effects for humans and the environment

Key Specs

  • Effectiveness: Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria
  • Quantity: 225 (3 packs, 75 wipes per pack)
  • Active Ingredient: Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride

If you’re in a high-risk environment and want a product shown to kill Covid-19 within 15 seconds, these powerful, bleach-free wet wipes are the best we’ve found. They meet the EPA’s N List Criteria for use against viruses and bacteria and kill 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria in short order, plus have a pleasant scent. However, the wipes use quaternary ammonium compounds—in this case, Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride—as an active ingredient, which gets an F from the EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning due to its potential for triggering serious long-term human side effects, such as cancer and infertility. So, if you plan to use these wipes, be sure to follow the directions carefully and use them sparingly to protect your lungs from potential respiratory issues. Again, studies have shown that surface spread of Covid is rare enough to be of little concern for most.

More Instant Virus Death

Lysol Lysol Disinfectant Wipes

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (22)

More Instant Virus Death

Lysol Lysol Disinfectant Wipes

Pros
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (23)Inexpensive
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (24)Easy to find
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (25)Quick and effective for high-risk settings
Cons
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (26)Contain “quats,” which can have major side effects for humans and the environment

Key Specs

  • Effectiveness: Kills 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria
  • Quantity: 320 (4 packs, 80 wipes per pack)
  • Active Ingredient: Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride

Much like Clorox’s wipes, Lysol’s antibacterial best-sellers kill 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria and are listed on the EPA’s N List. They also have the same active ingredient—Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride, a “quat” that can pose harm to humans and the environment if misused or overused. Most of us don’t need this much disinfectant power from our cleaning products. However, if you’re in a high-spread Covid setting and want to knock out every possible trace of surface virus and bacteria, these are your go-to wipes. Thick and sturdy (Lysol boasts they’re 3x stronger than paper towels), these wipes don’t tear when you scrub with them. They have a strong lemon-lime scent, which might be off-putting to some. Just be sure to follow the directions carefully and rinse any surfaces that will come into contact with food after using.

An EPA-Approved Natural Option

Benefect Benefect Botanical Disinfecting Wipes

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (27)

An EPA-Approved Natural Option

Benefect Benefect Botanical Disinfecting Wipes

Pros
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (28)Highly effective
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (29)Plant-based active ingredient
Cons
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (30)Potentially irritating scent

Key Specs

  • Effectiveness: Kills 99.9 percent of viruses and bacteria
  • Quantity: 250 wipes
  • Active Ingredient: Thymol

Like Cleanwell’s wipes, Benefect uses the natural ingredient thymol to disinfect surfaces, so it poses no risk to humans and the environment. You don’t even have to rinse it off after using, as with quat- or bleach-based formulas. That said, it’s still a powerful disinfectant that kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and meets the qualifications for the EPA’s N List for use against human pathogens like viruses. It also effectively battles mold, fungi, and more. The slightly damp wipes come in a generous, 250-count container and don’t dry out over time or tear easily when used. As with most every wipe we’ve tried, they have a powerful lemon scent which the company calls “aromatherapeutic” that might not appeal to all.

Advertisem*nt - Continue Reading Below

Like Hand Sanitizer for your Countertops

Purell Purell Professional Surface Disinfecting Wipes

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (31)

Like Hand Sanitizer for your Countertops

Purell Purell Professional Surface Disinfecting Wipes

Pros
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (32)Highly effective
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (33)B rating from the EWG
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (34)Thick and durable
Cons
  • 7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (35)Bulk quantity might be too much for some users

Key Specs

  • Effectiveness: Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria
  • Quantity: 600 (6 packs, 100 wipes per pack)
  • Active Ingredient: Ethyl alcohol

These EPA N-List-certified wipes get their disinfectant power from ethanol or ethyl alcohol, much like Purell’s ubiquitous hand sanitizers. The wipes have an overall low toxicity profile—and a solid B rating from EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning—but that doesn’t mean they’re not tough against viruses and bacteria. The brand boasts they’ll kill the coronavirus in just 30 seconds. The wipes themselves are thicker and more durable than others and have a citrus scent that’s milder than most.

7 Best Disinfectant Wipes for Sanitizing Your Space (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated:

Views: 5771

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.