Here’s Exactly Why Clorox Is So Good at Killing Germs

Hint: It has to do with the smell, too.

It’s always very obvious when someone’s just finished cleaning with Clorox. The smell is so distinct that many people automatically think of one word when they get a whiff: clean. Although spreading germs is a part of life, you can avoid the unnecessary ones that spread disease with the help of cleaning products like Clorox—but how does it work?

By the way, here’s how to whiten your laundry without bleach.

So why is Clorox good at killing germs?

If Clorox Regular Bleach is your go-to cleaner, you’re probably wondering how and why it’s so good at disinfecting. Thank the main ingredient, bleach, for these antimicrobial properties, according to Travers Anderson, a Research and Development Manager for Clorox. It’s is especially great for disinfecting because it’s an oxidant that attacks and breaks down the cell walls of microorganisms. “This mechanism is indiscriminate, meaning it will attack many different molecules that make up the cell walls of microorganisms,” Anderson says. “This allows it to work across a broad spectrum of organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi.” Plus, this means these organisms can’t develop a resistance to Clorox Regular Bleach, according to Anderson. That’s why you might want to use it to clean some of the 18 of the most germ-ridden spots in your own home.

And what about that smell?

So you know Clorox works, but what’s the meaning behind the smell? According to Anderson, that distinct Clorox scent is purposeful. “The smell of the bleach when you open the bottle is a way to know your bleach still has active cleaning agents,” he says. “This is especially helpful if you tend to have bottles stored in your home for a long time.” When you use it, the smell lets you know that the product is working to breakdown the germs on the surface, according to Anderson. If the smell is too harsh for you, turn to one of these effective eco-friendly cleaners.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest