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Some Windex is More Equal than Others: Update on Windex as an emergency sanitizer

My Clean Counter and Clean Hands Troika

A few days back I advised those who find themselves short to look at No hand sanitizer? Take a tip from the Greeks and put some Windex on it.

This morning Emma Jean, my personal Guardian Angel and Internet Search Goddess, reminds me that only Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaner Kills Germs in the “99.9%” range. (Probably 100%.  99.9 reeks of lawyerspeak).

Okay. A bit more research reveals that the special ingredient in Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaner aka Windex Virus Slayer is L-Lactic Acid in very small quantities — 0.19%. This ingredient, it turns out, is common in home brewing and my local homebrew shop, Chico Home Brew stocks it. One small bottle is about $4.00.

Drove over and talked a bit with the nice woman running it. Left with two small bottles. Stopped by the local Safeway on the West Side of Chico and found Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface in stock and score some.

Ready for the struggle against the Chinese virus with squeaky clean hands, Mr. President, sir!

Details on the continue page:

Does Windex Kill Germs? Know the Types That Disinfect | LoveToKnow

Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaner Kills Germs
Windex says their Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaner, which looks yellow in the bottle, kills 99.9% of germs, including viruses and bacteria, on hard, non-porous surfaces. This product is considered a registered product by the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can also find Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaner With Glade Rainshower, which appears green in the bottle. This version kills all the same germs and is used in the same way as the yellow multi-surface cleaner. Both versions are ammonia-free.

Germs Killed By Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaners
The main active ingredient in this cleaner is L. Lactic Acid, which is antimicrobial. When used according to the directions, this spray cleaner kills 99.9% of:

Staphylococcus aureus (Staph)
Salmonella enterica (Salmonella)
Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Pseudomonas)
Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep)
Enterobacter aerogenes (Enterobacter)
Escherichia coli (E. coli)
Campylobacter jejuni
Listeria monocytogenes (Listeria)
Rhinovirus Type 37 (common cold)
Influenza A2/Hong Kong (H3N2) (flu)
Influenza B

How to Use Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaners to Sanitize
You can use this cleaner on bathroom surfaces, mirrors, glass doors, kitchen tables, glass stove tops, metal sinks, and countertops. It should not be used on wood, very hot or very cold surfaces, or porous surfaces. To sanitize with this Windex cleaner:

Pre-clean the area so it’s free of dirt.
Spray the surface until it is totally wet.
Let the spray sit on the surface for ten minutes.
Use a dry paper towel or lint-free clean cloth to wipe the surface.
If the surface regularly comes into contact with food, you must rinse it with water after sanitizing.
Places You Don’t Want to Use This Cleaner
Windex Disinfectant Multi-Surface Cleaners only kill germs on non-porous surfaces. If air can easily get through the material, it’s considered porous. Examples of porous surfaces the cleaners won’t kill germs on include:

Drywall
Wallpaper
Carpeting
Fabric
Acoustic ceiling tiles
Unfinished wood
Granite
Laminate flooring

How much L-Lactic? One answer is: “the disinfectant in this (yellow) version comes from a small amount of L-Lactic Acid (0.19%). ”

EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning | LACTIC ACID | Substance

Disclaimer: This is just what one bear of very little brain has figured out and I’m passing it along without any guarantee. As usual, use your own brain to assess your own risk.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • An Appreciative Reader March 20, 2020, 12:56 PM

    I went out and bought the Windex based on your previous post. Glad to know it’s relatively wholesome. In fact, there’s a bottle of 10% lactic acid sitting on my vanity…we ladies use it to dissolve our “fine lines.” It works! Is that Miss Olive’s tent? Does she like it? Our $350 catio from Wayfair sits forlorn. No feline interest whatsoever.

  • Andy Havens March 20, 2020, 1:14 PM

    All that and it tastes delicious, too.

  • Vanderleun March 20, 2020, 3:10 PM

    Dear Reader, Please make sure it is L-Lactic acid.

    And yes that is Olive’s tent and she hates it.

  • Vanderleun March 20, 2020, 3:11 PM

    Okay Andy… no more cooking for the family for you.

  • hooodathnkit March 20, 2020, 5:48 PM

    You need more than lactic acid. The SDS lists :
    Chemical Name CAS Weight
    L-Lactic acid 79-33-4 0.10% – 1.00%
    Ethylene Glycol Monohexyl Ether 112-25-4 1.00% – 5.00%

    Just a guess, but the lactic acid is probably on the high range (1%) and the MGME (aka Hexyloxyethanol, etc; it goes by 7 different names in addition to the CAS) is on the lower end because it’s pretty potent stuff and not to be trifled with. Not expensive for sanitation grade, about $35 per gallon, but this ain’t normal times and I don’t see any available except (outrageously!) expensive lab grade.

    MSDS for Windex product: https://ulmysds.com/Admin/ViewDocument.aspx?ID=414abc69-5b8d-4095-a26e-a74e0da0b889&primaryReportId=0
    Dow Chemical sheet: http://msdssearch.dow.com/PublishedLiteratureDOWCOM/dh_096d/0901b8038096db00.pdf?filepath=productsafety/pdfs/noreg/233-00325.pd..&fromPage=GetDoc

  • Jewel March 20, 2020, 6:11 PM

    It was funny how all the wipes were gone, the paper towels and hand sanitizer, but the big refill bottles of both Lysol and Windex multisurface were on the shelf. So was the bar soap. Regular old bar soap. Full stock. I never liked hand sanitizer anyway, but hand soap and a nail brush will keep the crawlies away.

  • Susan in Seattle March 20, 2020, 8:15 PM

    Olive’s garden is certainly wonderful.
    I think her twin, Joanie, who lives with us, would like it.

  • PA Cat March 20, 2020, 8:37 PM

    And yes that is Olive’s tent and she hates it.

    1) What if anything lines the bottom of the tent? Cats like something soft (a folded thick towel will do, a cat bed is better) under their butts; 2) Try putting a dish of her favorite wet food/kibble inside the tent; most cats will do most anything for food, especially if they haven’t been fed for a couple hours; 3) Bait the tent with catnip, or if you’re not afraid of running out, a roll of TP for her to shred.

    If none of these work, just remember that cats see themselves as our domesticators, not the reverse.

  • ghostsniper March 21, 2020, 5:00 AM

    Our cats are weerd, they like laying on cardboard.

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