Clorox vs. Lysol: Which Disinfecting Wipes Kill More Germs?

Clorox vs Lysol

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It’s important to keep your home germ-free throughout the year but it’s especially important in the winter months when cold and flu viruses are running rampant. Wiping down surfaces with disinfecting wipes is an easy and convenient way to rid your home of germs.

There are dozens of disinfecting wipes on the market but the two most trusted brands are Clorox and Lysol.

So the question is, which brand of disinfecting wipes kills more germs, Clorox or Lysol?

Clorox and Lysol disinfecting wipes both kill 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and viruses when used as directed. The key phrase to pay attention to is: when used as directed. In order to kill 99.9% of germs, you need to use enough wipes so that the surface you’re cleaning remains wet for at least 4 minutes.  

Most people associate Clorox with bleach, however, both Clorox and Lysol disinfecting wipes are completely free of bleach. Instead, their active ingredient is Alkyl C12-18 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride. This ingredient is an antimicrobial ammonium compound responsible for disinfecting and sanitizing surfaces. It’s a common ingredient used in many different Environmental Protection Agency approved cleaning products and solutions.

Besides the germ-killing ingredient that Clorox and Lysol share, their other ingredients differ slightly but serve the same purposes. These minor material differences have no impact on their ability to kill germs.

If killing germs is your main concern, you should focus less on which brand to choose and more on understanding how to properly use them in order to get the maximum effect.

By the way, if you’re looking to re-stock your cleaning cabinet, both brands are very inexpensive on Amazon at these link: Clorox wipes on Amazon, Lysol wipes on Amazon

Now that you know the basics about Clorox and Lysol disinfecting wipes, let’s get into some more detail.

Use the links below to quickly navigate this article.

How to Properly Use Disinfecting Wipes

One of the main advantages of disinfecting wipes is that they are easy and convenient to use.

Before cleaning with a disinfecting wipe, use a paper towel or sponge to remove any major dirt or debris from the surface you are cleaning.

Once the surface is clear of debris, clean it thoroughly with disinfecting wipes and let it air dry.

To ensure the surface is completely disinfected of germs, use enough wipes so that the surface remains visibly wet for 4 minutes. This is the key part of the directions that most people gloss over. If you wipe down an entire kitchen counter with one wipe, it’ll probably dry in less than a minute. For small surfaces, one wipe could be enough, but for larger surfaces, you’ll likely need to use more than one.

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Directions
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Directions
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes Directions
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes Directions

After you’re done cleaning the surface, throw the disinfecting wipe in the trash. Do not flush wipes down the toilet.

Close the container’s lid to retain moisture.

What Types of Germs Do Disinfecting Wipes Kill?

Clorox claims to be able to kill the following viruses and bacteria:

  • Viruses: Human Coronavirus, Influenza A2 Virus, and Rhinovirus.
  • Bacteria: Staph, E. coli, MRSA, Salmonella, Strep and Kleb.

Lysol claims to be able to kill the following viruses and bacteria.

  • Viruses: Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1, Human Coronavirus, Influenza A Virus, and Respiratory Syncytial Virus.
  • Bacteria: Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep), Staphylococcus aureus (Staph), Escherichia coli O157:H7 (E. coli), and Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).

Lysol also claims that their wipes kill 95% of allergens including pet dander, dust mites, and pollen.

What Surfaces Do Disinfecting Wipes Work On?

One of the most frequently asked questions about disinfecting wipes is around what surfaces can they be used on and what surfaces should you avoid.

Disinfecting Wipes Are Great for These Surfaces

Clorox disinfecting wipes

The good news is disinfection wipes can be used on almost any hard non-porous surface. They great for bathrooms, kitchens, floors, car interiors, door knobs, light switches, furniture, electronics and more.

Disinfecting wipes are safe on finished hardwood, stainless steel, acrylic, sealed fiberglass, ceramic, and plastic. They are great for mobile phones and TV remotes that are known to harbor germs and rarely get cleaned.

Do Not Use Disinfecting Wipes on These Surfaces

Although disinfecting wipes don’t contain any extremely harsh chemicals, they contain surfactants that have grease cutting properties that can damage some soft finishes. Do not use them on unpainted wood and unfinished, waxed or oiled surfaces.

Clorox and Lysol permit the use of their wipes on sealed granite however many people argue against that because the citric acid in the wipes could degrade the sealant. In my experience, using soap and water is the best way to clean granite so I’d save the wipes for other surfaces.

Avoid using disinfecting wipes on dishware, glassware and any other eating utensils.

They won’t harm glass, mirrors, and TV/computer screens but they will leave behind streaks. For those surface, I recommend using glass specific cleaners like Windex or vinegar based cleaning sprays.

Do not, under any circumstances, use disinfecting wipes as a personal cleanser on your skin or as a baby wipe.

What Are the Differences Between Clorox and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes?

Clorox and Lysol disinfecting wipes both kill 99.9% of germs and are fundamentally the same, however, they have a couple differences worth mentioning.

First, they contain different ingredients. Their ingredients serve the same purpose but are not exactly the same.

Secondly, Clorox and Lysol make different types of wipes that have unique features for specific functions. For example, Clorox has extra strength wipes with more fibers to take on major messes while Lysol has wipes that contain hydrogen peroxide to penetrate and dissolve soap scum and grime. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of their differences starting with their ingredients.


Clorox wipes are water-based and contain the following ingredients:

  • Hexoxyethanol is used as a solvent to cut grease and gunk.
  • Alkyl (C12-18 and C12-14)  Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride is used as the active antimicrobial ingredient responsible for sanitizing.
  • C12-14 Alcohols Ethoxylated Propoxylated is another grease cutting agent.
  • Citric Acid is a natural acid used to effectively clean soap scum and mineral deposits from hard water.
  • d-Limonene is used to dissolve stains and add fragrance.
  • Isopropanol Alcohol is a common solvent with antimicrobial properties.
  • Sodium Bicarbonate, also known as Baking Soda builds alkalinity and removes calcium and other deposits.

The ingredients in Lysol disinfecting wipes serve the same purpose as Clorox’s ingredients but are slightly different. In addition to water which acts as a diluent, Lysol wipes contain the following:

  • Ethanol Alcohol that acts as a sanitizer and adds fragrance.
  • Alkyl (C14 50%, C12 40%, C16 10%) Dimethyl Benzyl Ammonium Chloride which is the main active ingredient responsible for killing germs.
  • Alkyl Polyglucoside to cut through dirt and bad odors.
  • Propylene Glycol Butyl Ether which acts as a solvent.
  • Ethanolamine which is an organic chemical compound used to control pH levels.
  • Additional Fragrance to provide a fresh scent.

Product Options

Clorox and Lysol both make standard disinfecting wipes but they also offer wipes for specific needs. 

Clorox’s standard disinfecting wipes come in three difference fragrances: Fresh Scent, Orange Fusion, and Crisp Lemon. They also make the following wipes designed with unique features and functions to meet a variety of cleaning needs.

(The links take you to Amazon where you can learn more about each product and read dozens of reviews)

Lysol disinfecting wipes come in several different fragrances including Lemon and Lime Blossom, Ocean Fresh, Early Morning Breeze, Crisp Linen. For the record, my favorite by far is Lemon and Lime Blossom but the others are very popular as well.

Similar to Clorox, Lysol also makes variations of their standard wipes for specific uses.

How Much Do They Cost?

In general, the price of Clorox and Lysol disinfecting wipes are very similar. They typically range from 4 to 7 cents per wipe but the exact price depends on where you buy them and the size of the package you buy.

Like most disposable household cleaning products, as the size of the package increases, the cost per unit decreases. If you have the storage space in your house, you can save by purchasing value packs that include hundreds of wipes. 

If you’re in need of disinfecting wipes, Amazon has dozens of different size packages and makes it easy to compare prices between Clorox and Lysol.

Check current prices of Clorox disinfecting wipes on Amazon

Check current prices of Lysol disinfecting wipes on Amazon

Keep in mind the Clorox and Lysol wipes both kill 99.9% of germs so find the type of wipe and fragrance you like and look for the package with the lowest cost per wipe. 

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