What you need to know before using certain disinfectants

Houston – As we all do our part to keep our homes clean and our families healthy, we’re buying more disinfectant than ever. Maybe you’re spraying and wiping down every doorknob and surface to keep the coronavirus at bay. But put down that can or bottle and read this because you could be doing more damage than good.

Lysol is one of the most popular disinfectants to kill germs and viruses, but Kaitlyn Sharp, owner of Custom Plumbing & Hardware, said homeowners are also killing their faucets and fixtures with the spray.

“That’s what we’re seeing a lot of is people spraying Lysol on oil rubbed bronze, and it’s just destroying it,” Sharp said.

Oil-rubbed bronze is a popular finish for faucets and front door hardware. Take a look at what happens to the shiny bronze after it’s sprayed with Lysol.

If your hardware looks like the picture above, you have already damaged it. Sharp said you may be able to repair it. She and some of her customers had had some success using olive oil or WD40 and polishing it with a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. She said it is a lot of work, but it can help to restore some of the shine.


What you need to know before using certain disinfectants

Instead of Lysol, Sharp recommends hot water and dish soap for cleaning your fixtures. Let it stay wet for several minutes. Then rinse and dry them.

Bleach is still hard to find on store shelves, but don’t just grab the first bottle you see. Did you know that not all beach disinfects? Clorox and other brands of “splashless” bleach are made for laundry and do not disinfect.

On the company’s website, customers gave it to Clorox for not marking the bottles more clearly.

"Surprised & disappointed" wrote one customer.

"Not disinfecting" and "Shame, shame on you Clorox!" were the headlines of two other reviews.

Clorox acknowledges the difference in its products. On its website, it says Clorox “sells several bleach products-some are labeled as disinfectants and others are not. To determine if a product disinfects, check the label.”


If you already have the splashless bleach that you thought was helping you disinfect areas and items in your home, Clorox says you can get that disinfecting power by using 2/3 of a cup for every one gallon of water. Regular bleach takes just half of that to disinfect.