Although clean surfaces and a germ-free home is ideal, replacing bacteria with other chemical cleaning products is undesirable. Alternative cleaning products are available at most grocery stores and drug stores, or can be made from simple products you are likely to have in your home.
Seventh Generation brand disinfectants, one of the leading national non-toxic cleaning brands, is the first naturally-derived disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to a 2009 Marketwire report. The product kills 99 percent of germs, including the flu virus, the report states.
Seventh Generation products contain no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and all of its ingredients are considered "food grade" by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In addition to disinfectants, this brand makes laundry detergents, paper products, and baby products, among other things.
Biokleen is a naturally derived disinfectant made from stabilized polyphenolic compounds found in grapefruit seed extract (GSE). It contains GSE and vegetable glycerin and no other ingredients. Biokleen manufacturers claim that the product is antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and can also combat parasites, making it a broad-specturm disinfectant.
Method products can be found at Target stores and other large chain stores, and are advertised as alternative cleaners. Method products use stabilized, naturally-derived ingredients, which include sodium carbonate, potassium hydroxide, sodium gluconate, and decyl polyglucoside.
Effective cleaning can be achieved using ingredients you are likely to have in your own home. The Consumer Reports health blog suggests baking soda and vinegar as cleaners for everything from a laundry detergent booster to a toilet cleanser. Solutions including borax and cream of tartar provide disinfecting power and a mild abrasive to remove stains.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an online product database, which is useful for determining the safety and efficacy of your household cleaning product.
Robyn Ellis has been writing since 1999. Her work appears in "Poet Lore," "Lumina," and "Rattle" literary magazines, among other publications. She holds a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing from Emerson College and a Masters in Museum Studies from Tufts University. She currently works as a writer, editor, and museum professional.