Many of you know that I am a big fan of consuming foods that contain natural ingredients and try to limit the amount of artificial chemicals in my house. Years ago I didn’t care about fake ingredients or chemicals (I lived on diet soda and Splenda in everything!), but that changed about 7 years ago when I had a lot of endocrine disruption going on and had to figure out how I could start to feel better. Along with changing my diet, I took out plastics and cleaning products from my home. I switched my cleaning products to mostly vinegar, and just in the past year have added essential oils and Norwex products to my natural cleaning regime.
Just recently I was talking with my mom and was telling her how I wish I could test out all my natural cleaners to see which ones worked best. (When I was in 7th grade she helped me with my science project of testing different soaps ability to clean. She was (is) a nurse and had access to the hospital lab where we did our experiments in petrie dishes). Then I realized there probably is a way I can check it at home, I would just have to google it! (What on earth did we do before google). I came across a home bacteria testing kit by Home Science Tools and ordered it right away.
My kit came within a week and I got started right away on my project. I decided to test bleach, 409 all purpose cleaner, thieves blend (home-made with thieves, purification and lemongrass distilled water and witch hazel), thieves alone with water and witch hazel, tea tree oil with water and witch hazel, tea tree oil with vinegar, thieves oil straight, vinegar and water, and my Norwex cloth.
In my first test I had a little difficulty getting the agar well lined in the petrie dishes. It came out a little clumpy and was thin in some of the dishes. I took a sterile swab and ran it across raw chicken (which is what I am most neurotic about cleaning in my kitchen), and then sprayed or dripped the cleaner on it directly. Once I did this I realized I couldn’t test the Norwex cloth this way because I couldn’t run it across the agar dish without wiping it away. So that is why I performed a second test. For the second test I took raw chicken and rubbed it on my countertop that I had marked off with masking tape and labeled with the different cleaners. I took each cleaner one at a time and cleaned the area with the cleaner and a paper towel. Then I swabbed the area and put the swab in a petrie dish.
Here are the results of my tests:
*Bleach and 409 killed the most bacteria
*Tea Tree oil and Thieves poured straight killed the next amount
*The thieves blend did decent but not as well as the straight oil
*Vinegar did ok but not awesome
*Norwex test didn’t count for this one
*Bleach and 409 were still at the top for killing the most bacteria
*Tea tree oil with vinegar and with water was next for killing the most bacteria
*Thieves with water and Thieves blend with purification and lemongrass didn’t do awesome.
*Vinegar and water still had a lot of bacteria.
*Norwex cloth had the most bacteria grown on the dish.
The Norwex cloth did not do well, which really surprised me and made me want to test it again. (I really love using it!) I know they do chicken swab tests which seem to work so I’m not sure why mine did not. My towel may be close to a year old now which could mean something. I have to check when I bought it. I am also not sure I cleaned with it lying flat like you are supposed to. I have a second bacteria kit on its way now so I can test them all one more time. I also recently purchased the thieves cleaner from Young Living so I am curios if it works better than my homemade blend.
So far I am going to stick with thieves and tea tree oil for cleaning. Vinegar might not be as good as I thought it was and may be off the list. And the verdict is still out on the Norwex cloth. (I really want it to work well!)
*UPDATE* A new Norwex cloth did much better in PART 2 of my experiment.
*Please do not take these results as any claims or proof of efficacy. This is my own personal test and may not be accurate.*
If you are interested in reading more about all the good things that essential oils do, check out this Ultimate Bundle of all things oils!