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The Effectiveness of Cleaning Agents

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Bacteria is all around us despite that we are oblivious to its existence. It is common knowledge that bacteria exists, but it is easy for people to dismiss this fact as we cannot actually see the build-up of growth in surrounding areas. The colonies of bacteria that propagate vary depending on the location, and often tend to be greater in larger traffic areas. To this trial bacterial growth and removal will be studied.

These high traffic areas are often utilizedalmost unfailingly throughout the day, as multiple people often use certain areas of the house during their day-to-day routine. Kitchens and bathrooms tend to be the areas in our homes that we pay attention to build-up of bacteria, due to the various foods and transmission that occurs in these locations. This implores the question, how do people ensure they are getting liberated of bacterial growth? According to an article published in 2018 by author Erika Rawes, kitchens and bathrooms tend to have more bacterial growth than most places in a household. Door knobs, kitchen, and bathroom sinks and faucets, refrigerator doors and bathroom floors and latrines seem to have the most bacterial development due to the nature of their use. Kim Carollo explain that those houses with pets also increase the varieties of bacteria that grow inside their homes. Carollo also states the importance of utilizingsuitable cleaning products because some bacteria can cause members of the house to become ill, or overpowering smells may be found in different areas due to bacterial clusters. (Carollo, Kim. “Dirty Dogs: Homes with Pooches Loaded with Bacteria. ”)


The opinion was made that the bathroom floor next to the toilet was prone to be an area for bacteria to collect. Some cleaning products may be more effective in bacteria removal; however with so many cleaning products available on the market, it is challenging to know which one will be more effective. Three chemicals were chosen for this experiment: Lysol disinfectant wipes with hydrogen peroxide, Scrubbing Bubbles bathroom cleaner, and Isopropyl Alcohol. The Lysol wipes with hydrogen peroxide areprojected to be the most effective chemical to remove bacteria around the toilet. I believe the hydrogen peroxide agent will increase the likelihood of diminishing the bacteria, as it is often used to kill bacteria by the annihilation of the cell walls. The Lysol product also claims it removes 99. 9% of bacteria. Out of the three chemicals I believe the Isopropyl Alcohol will remove the tiniest amount of bacteria, as it is generally not utilized solely as a cleaning product, and has no chemical thateliminates most bacteria. It is mainly used to kill surface bacteria for first aid purposes, but it evaporates rapidly and will not have the same outcome as the Lysol or Scrubbing Bubbles.


The independent variable in this experiment are the active ingredients found in: Lysol wipes (hydrogen peroxide) Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner (alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride) and Isopropyl Alcohol 70% compound. These variables were used to define which cleaning agent would be the most effective in eradicating bacteria. Three isolated locations on the floor and around the toilet with what seemed to be equally dirty surfaces were selected. To guarantee that each location is equal for accurate results, each area was swabbed, diluted with distilled water and positioned into three separate aerobic culture plates which were labeled before the swab. Next, a sterile loop was employed to streak the three agar plates before incubation.

Afterwards the cultures were placed in an incubator for 48 hours and observedduring this time. The dependent variable was determined by utilizing the abovementioned chemicals, i. e. : Lysol Wipes, Scrubbing Bubbles, and Isopropyl Alcohol, to clean the three chosen and previously swabbed locations. Control area 1 was cleaned with the Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner. The area was sprayed with Scrubbing Bubbles and was scrubbed using a clean wash-rag for exactly 60 seconds. A swab of the newly cleaned area was taken and placed into the aerobic agar plate. This method was repeated for the LysolWipes and Isopropyl Alcohol and no dilution was made for any of these samples. Three new swabs and aerobic agar plates were utilized for this step in the experiment. Each agar plate was labeled accordingly, and then streaked using a sterile loop before it was positioned in an incubator for 48 hours.

The growth of the dependent variable was monitored during the 48 hour timed span. This would be later measured using the Colony Forming Units in order to determine the difference in the growth of bacteria before and after cleaning. Colony forming units is a method used to measuredifferent types of cells, in this case bacterial cells, which originated from one type of bacteria. It is utilized to measure the infestation of cellular bacteria in the agar plates. In order to get an accurate count of bacteria growing on the agar plate samples from before and after the cleaning, the CFU’s were used and it was calculated by counting the bacteria colonies on each plate, multiplying it by the dilution factor of the sample and then multiplying it by the dilution factor of plating. For the control samples, the dilution factor of the sample is 100 and the dilution factor of plating is 1. If the bacterial growth covers all or most of the agar plate, then it is counted as >1,000 colonies, this was the case for control plate #1. If the bacterial growth covers at least ¾ of the agar plate, then it is counted as 1,000 colonies, this was the case for control plates 2 and 3. Because there were only few bacteria growing after cleaning the areas tested, these were counted individually. A bacterial colony can be identified in clumps, and often look like small little circles. Each circle is counted separately and visually, in order to obtain the number.

The same CFU calculation was used to count the growth of bacteria in the agar plates comprising the samples of the cleaned areas. The confounding external variable was the possibility of different types of bacteria growing in the three separated locations.

This was organized by making sure all areas had the same types of bacteria. After the cultures remained in the incubator for 48 hours, they were removed to govern if they were growing the same kinds of bacteria. In order to do so the colonies from each plate were soiled onto three separate slides, then were allowed to briefly air dry before they were placed on a heating platefor a few seconds and then detached. Afterwards each slide was observed under a microscope, and were all found to have the same type of bacteria. The only difference between the three slides was the amounts of bacteria. The amount of bacteria on each slide is determined visually under the microscope by counting each bacterium seen. Using the CFU calculation, over 100,000 bacterial CFU/mL were calculated on control #1 and 100,000 bacterial CFU/mL were calculated on controls #2 and #3. Three CFU/mL were calculated on the Scrubbing Bubbled plate, four CFU/mL were calculated on the Lysol Wipes plate, and ten CFU/mL were calculated on the Isopropyl Alcohol plate. ResultControl data: Control #1 had >100,000 CFU/mL growingControl #2 had 100,000 CFU/mL growingControl #3 had 100,000 CFU/mL growingControl #1 had more colonies growing, but the type of bacteria growing was the same in all 3 control plates.

Experimental Data: #1 had 3 CFU/mL growing#2 had 10 CFU/mL growing#3 had 4 CFU/mL growing#1 Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner killed the most bacteria compared to the other 2. Since control #1 had the most bacteria growing and Scrubbing Bubbles was used to clean this control area, Scrubbing Bubbles with a 3 CFU/mL growth was a better cleaning agent than isopropyl alcohol and Lysol disinfectant wipes. Data Table: Number of Colony Forming Units Number of Suspected Contaminants Control #1 >100,000 CFU/mL 0Control #2 100,000 CFU/mL 0Control #3 100,000 CFU/mL 0Scrubbing Bubbles Bathroom Cleaner #1 3 CFU/mL 0Isopropyl Alcohol #2 10 CFU/mL 0Lysol Disinfectant Wipes #3 4 CFU/mL 0


A hypothesis was formed stating Lysol Wipes with Hydrogen Peroxide would be the most effective cleaning agent, due to the hydrogen peroxide an active ingredient. The product claimed that it killed 99. 9% of the bacteria. This hypothesis was confirmed to be incorrect; Lysol Wipes had 4 CFU/mL of bacteria growing, while the Scrubbing Bubbles Cleaner with the active ingredient of alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride 96%, killed the most bacteria compared to the other two chemicals, with only 3 CFU/mLof bacteria growing. Part two of my hypothesis was the belief that Isopropyl Alcohol would not be an effective cleaning agent, and would be the least effective among the three. This was proven to be corrected, as it had a remaining 10 CFU/mL of bacteria growing.

The uncontrollable variable of this experiment that I could not take into account is possible contamination found on human skin, and bacterial contamination already in the air. In order to further improve this experiment, it could be conducted utilizing gloves, a face shield, a lab coat, and a laboratory fume hood. This would eliminate contamination from human skin and lower bacterial contamination in the air by using the fume hood. The amount of bacterial growth in a small area neighboring the toilet was high, and this information did not include the totality of how many bacteria may have been growing all around the toilet, or perhaps the rest of the toilet, or other highly utilized or touched items within the bathroom. Even though the Lysol Wipes advertised that they killed 99. 9% of the bacteria, this was not as effective as the Scrubbing Bubbles product. In the abovementioned articles, concern was shared about the amountof bacteria in the home that can affect health and wellness, especially when people are misled about the appropriate products to use in maintaining their homes. Author Erika Rawes expressed concern about the quality of cleaning products people are using in their homes, and how this can affect their health and other aspects of their household. It is safe to say that it is imperative for people to use the suitable cleaning products to cleanse their homes of bacteria that cause illness or other problems,and research should be conducted to determine which ones would be more appropriate. It is also important for the public to purchase appropriate products for separate rooms in the house, as one would not use a toilet cleaner to sterilize the kitchen sink.

There was also no clearness about what type of bacterial colonies were growing inside the bathroom, so unless a separate experiment was accomplished to discover what type of bacteria was growing, it was difficult to discern the potential illnessesthe bacteria could cause. The experiment did indeed prove that bacteria does grow in high traffic areas-the bathroom-and leaving it unimpeded causes buildup that may require tougher cleaning agents for 99. 9% removal.

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The Effectiveness Of Cleaning Agents. (2019, November 26). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 29, 2022, from
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