Are Clorox Wipes Safe Or Toxic? Complete Guide [3000 Words]

Clorox wipes safety guide

Clorox wipes are a safe option to disinfect most hard and non-porous surfaces, assuming you take the necessary precautions. They make cleaning an easy process. Yet, several safer alternatives, like antimicrobial soap and warm water, or baking soda and vinegar, can be considered over Clorox wipes to clean surfaces if the situation allows it.

Clorox Compostable Cleaning Wipes is an environmentally-friendly variety that utilizes plant-based fibers instead of synthetic fibers to make its substrate. 

Clorox Wipes Ingredients 

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes is one of the most popular products today, and what with all the commotion about its shortage due to the pandemic. The recognition by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the product kills COVID-19 virus SARS-CoV-2 had increased its demand by 500 percent last year.

Being a commonplace item that you may come to handle regularly in your daily routine, you must be at least a little curious about what these disinfecting wipes contain. 

The following are the primary ingredients of the regular Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: 

  • Aqua (Water)
  • Substrate
  • Hexoxyethanol 
  • Isopropanol 
  • C 12-14 Alcohols Ethoxylated Propoxylated 
  • Alkyl C 12-14 Dimethyl Ethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride 
  • Alkyl C 12-18 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride 
  • Sodium Bicarbonate 
  • Citric Acid 
  • Fragrance 

The most active ingredients of Clorox wipes are alkyl C 12-18 dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, alkyl C 12-14 dimethyl ethyl benzyl ammonium chloride, and isopropanol. These compounds are antimicrobial and do the main job of sanitizing and disinfecting surfaces. Water is present as a solvent and a catalyst that facilitates a faster cleaning process.

To access the complete list of ingredients, the company recommends scanning the barcode present in the Clorox product using the Smart Label app. You can compare the toxicity ratings of items with the information provided on the Environmental Working Group (EWG) website to help choose between different Clorox wipes varieties.

Do Clorox Wipes Have Bleach?

Despite the suggestive name of the brand, Clorox wipes lack any amount of bleach in them. Clorox indeed sells a lot of bleach-based products. They are all approved by the EPA to kill bacteria and viruses, including Salmonella, E. coli, Strep, among many others.

Using bleach-based disinfectants to clean a surface that does not recommend it may result in unalterable harm.

Do Clorox Wipes Have Ammonia?

Clorox wipes do not contain ammonia but two ammonium compounds that help facilitate the cleaning action.

For instance, take Alkyl C 12-18 Dimethylbenzyl Ammonium Chloride (also known as Benzalkonium chloride). The compound kills harmful microorganisms by disrupting the lipid bilayer of their cell membranes.

The ammonium compounds present in Clorox Wipes, commonly called ‘quats’ due to their quaternary structure, may result in asthma, irritation to skin and lungs, and reproductive harm. Overexposure to quats can cause several bacteria to evolve and form strains called superbugs (MRSA, CRE, ESBL, VRE, etc.) that are antibacterial-resistant. 

Also, make sure to not mix products containing ammonia with those containing bleach. Seriously, had it not ever occurred to you to maybe dip your Clorox wipes in a much stronger cleaning option of Clorox bleach before cleaning surfaces? Mixing ammonia and bleach produces toxic gases identified as chloramines that severely impact human health. 

Chloramines in small amounts may cause burning in the eyes, coughs, nausea, wheezing, chest pain, irritation in the throat, and fluid build-up in the lungs. Prolonged intake is associated with cancer, and in severe cases, depending on the amount of gas release, even death.

Do Clorox Wipes Have Alcohol?

Yes, Clorox wipes contain hexoxyethanol and isopropanol (rubbing alcohol as they are more commonly known as). Both the items are present as solvents in most cleaning products available in the market. Rubbing alcohol is a recognized germicide for its ability to kill a variety of microbes.

Rubbing alcohol works at its optimum level when present in solutions between 60 and 90 percent, along with purified water in 10 to 40 percent concentrations.

Do Clorox Wipes Contain Methanol?

No, Clorox wipes do not list methanol as one of their ingredients. In case of absorption through the skin or ingestion, methanol can be toxic. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has provided warning against a number of hand sanitizer brands due to the presence of methanol in them. 

Many products do not include methanol in their ingredients labels, and this is a huge concern. 

Do Clorox Wipes Have Chlorine in Them?

No, Clorox wipes do not contain chlorine. What they indeed have are chlorides of ammonium. Chlorine is the chemical element that on gain an electron becomes chloride. 

Chlorine and chloride have different effects on humans. The former has a noted tendency to be toxic, unlike the latter, which people even consume in limited amounts with food. 

Do Clorox Wipes Have Phenol?

Clorox wipes contain a phenolic compound that is citric acid. The item works best as an antimicrobial; and is recognized for its ability to eliminate even non-enveloped viruses, such as Rotavirus, Norovirus, and Adenovirus Type 2.

Citric acid is not a notorious allergen, though it may cause irritations in some chemically-sensitive individuals on direct contact. 

Do Clorox Wipes Have Pesticides?

Yes, EPA registers Clorox Disinfecting Wipes as antimicrobial pesticides. While the item may not be as harmful as you may expect for pests, it is classified so due to the presence of quats. A lot of researches link quats to dermatitis, asthma, fertility problems, and congenital disabilities in humans on careless exposure.

Do Clorox Wipes Have Carcinogens?

The small amount of ethanol in the Clorox wipes is an IARC Group 1 carcinogen that is harmful to humans. Another of its ingredients, isopropanol, is classified as IARC Group 3 carcinogen, where its carcinogenic threat on humans is yet to be identified. 

Do Clorox Wipes Contain TCE?

No, Clorox wipes do not contain the toxic compound trichloroethylene (TRC). In the past, the chemical used to remain an active ingredient as solvents in cleaning wipes, tool cleaners, carpet cleaner, spray adhesives, etc., before its toxicity related to congenital problems and cancer came under light. Due to its ability to degrease items, TRC finds its use in rubber production and dry cleaning industries. 

Do Clorox Wipes Contain Triclosan?

No, Clorox wipes do not contain triclosan in them. The chemical helps counter bacterial contamination and thus finds its use in popular cleaning products in the market. It has, however, gotten associated with neurotoxic problems in humans, and precisely, if children were to get exposed, it may result in allergy, contact dermatitis, and skin irritation.

Do Clorox Wipes Contain Acetone?

No, you would not find acetone listed among the ingredients of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. Acetone as a solvent gets widely used in industrial wipes to quickly remove epoxy and cyanoacrylate adhesives before it hardens. In your home, it can wipe off nail polish, scuff marks, sticker residues, superglue, and even help clean oily woods such as rosewood and teak surfaces. 

Several pieces of research have associated moderate exposure to acetone with dizziness, headaches, vomiting, nausea, and effects on the duration of the menstrual cycle in women.

Do Clorox Wipes Contain Plastic?

Though it does not get explicitly mentioned in the ingredients list, there is a lack of clarity about whether most Clorox wipes contain plastic or not. Most disinfectant wipes use a mix of cellulosic and thermoplastic fibers (cotton, lyocell, polyethylene, polypropylene, etc.) to form the substrate, making the product non-biodegradable. 

Thankfully, Clorox has released their Compostable Cleaning Wipes that are biodegradable, with their substrate made of plant-based cloth. The product has two variants: Simply Lemon and Free & Clear, the latter fragrant free for individuals too sensitive to smell.

Are Clorox Wipes Bad for Your Skin?

Yes, Clorox does not recommend using their disinfecting wipes on your skin. The product only functions as a cleaner for soft and hard material surfaces around you. Clorox wipes are likely to cause allergic reactions in the user if not handled with necessary precautions.

The primary causative agent of these allergies often turns out to be artificial preservatives and fragrances added to the wipes. It is due to the same reason that the company asks users to keep the product far from children and also to wash their hands if they have come in direct contact with the wipe.

Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Pregnancy?

Yes and no. Clorox wipes could be harmless if the pregnant individual were to take necessary precautions during use. However, direct skin contact with Clorox wipes or inhalation of its fragrance may turn harmful for both the mother and the baby.

Here are some precautions you must take to avoid the health risks associated with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes:

  1. Keep the room in which you are using the Clorox wipes well-ventilated. Do not attempt cleaning items like an oven because of the cramped space.
  2. Protect your body by wearing appropriate clothing (including masks and gloves) and take extra care not to breathe in the fumes.
  3. Do not mix the Clorox wipes with any other cleaning agent to get better results, even if it’s of the same brand. 
  4. Make sure to check the instruction labels and ingredients list before use. 
  5. Check out the toxicity of the ingredients on the EWG website.

Since disinfecting products do not reveal all their ingredients, you may be allergic to an item that is not on the list provided and will have to involve a medical practitioner for help in case of an emergency.

The main thing is to not get in direct contact with the wipes and wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water. 

ALSO READ: Are Ziploc bags safe or not?

Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Babies?

No, steer clear of using Clorox Disinfecting Wipes on the baby skin. Since the baby skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, Clorox wipes may have severe impacts on them than you would notice on an adult. Using it around babies should also be limited because of the possibility that the product may induce allergic reactions in them. 

Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Baby Toys?

Yes, you can disinfect your baby toys with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. For toys that are made with plastic or painted wood, use the wipes, and let them dry for about thirty seconds. Wash them thoroughly once to remove any cleaning solution left on them before use.

If on an electronic toy, after rubbing with Clorox wipes and letting it dry, you could use a cloth soaked in clean, warm water to remove the chemicals from the wipes. 

You can use Clorox Disinfecting Wipes for diaper pails, changing tables, and any object that may transfer germs from its surface to the baby. The product claims to kill 99.9 percent of harmful viruses and bacteria on surfaces.

Make sure that the toy or furniture is completely air-dried before your child comes in contact with them.

Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Pets?

No, your pet should not be allowed to come in direct contact with Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. The product can pose health risks to your animal friends the same way that it does to you.

Safe and responsible use of Clorox wipes to disinfect surfaces is recommended, but make sure to keep your pet away from the wiped surface before it has dried. 

You need to properly dispose of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes after use, for it would result in serious health issues if your pet were to ingest the item. 

Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Leather?

No, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes on genuine leather may lead to its loss of moisture and essential natural oils. The leather will show a tendency to fade and turn dry. Do note that Clorox wipes do not pose this problem to faux leather.

The takeaway here is that Clorox wipes are not suitable for use on highly porous surfaces. But then, there are also advantages associated with using Clorox wipes on genuine leather, such as removing foul odor, lint (due to the anti-static properties of the wipe), dust, and light stains. 

The use of Clorox wipes on leather must be carefully done, and you could consider the points below before doing so:

  1. Re-condition the surface of the leather immediately with dish soap and warm water after you have used the Clorox wipes. Use a leather conditioner in a circular motion on the area you had used the wipe. 
  2. The surface of the leather must be dry before using Clorox wipes on it. 
  3. Do not pressurize too much while wiping, as it may lead to a fastened lightening of the leather color. 
  4. Test the Clorox wipe on a small area of leather before you proceed to do the actual cleaning.

Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Marble and Granite?

No, Clorox wipes are not the safest option to clean marble and granite. Both these stones are porous, and using the acidic Clorox wipes on them may result in irreparable damage, including dulling and etching. The citric acid present in the Clorox product also poses a severe threat to the sealants generally used along with marble and granite.

Are Clorox Wipes Safe on Hardwood Floors?

Yes, Clorox wipes are safe to clean hardwood floors. Using the scented version of the product can add fragrance to your room. Vacuuming or sweeping the hardwood floor before using Clorox wipes will make the cleaning more efficient.

Are Clorox Wipes Safe on Laminate Floors?

No, Clorox wipes are a total no-no for most laminate floors due to the acidic nature of the product. However, some companies (such as Formica) offer metal laminates on which Clorox wipes would not cause any damage. The safest option for cleaning laminate floors is to consider the mix of vinegar and water in the ratio of 1:3, along with a bit of dish soap.

Are Clorox Wipes Safe on Walls?

Yes, Clorox wipes are largely safe for use on walls. Indeed, these wipes work well on most surfaces that are hard and non-porous. Since Clorox wipes do not contain bleach, the chances of damage to the paint are significantly less.

Even then, use the Clorox wipe on a smaller area and wait a minute or a few to see that you have done no damage.

Are Clorox Wipes Safe on Stainless Steel?

Yes, Clorox wipes are entirely safe for use on stainless steel surfaces. Since the product lacks bleach, contains alcohol, and possesses a clear drying formula, it helps disinfect stainless steel surfaces while also helping to provide a shine. Cleaning stainless steel surfaces with disinfectants containing bleach will leave permanent damage. 

Are Clorox Wipes Safe for Phones, TV, and Laptops?

Yes, Clorox wipes are safe for use on the screens of phones, TVs, and laptops, given that you do it properly. The product can easily remove smudges and fingerprints. 

Consider the following points before you clean your electronic gadget with Clorox wipes: 

  1. You must unplug your device and turn it off before cleaning. 
  2. Use a dry microfiber cloth first to remove dust from the surface, and only then do you proceed to disinfect with Clorox wipes.
  3. Make sure that the wipe you are using does not contain bleach (Both Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Clorox Compostable Cleaning Wipes lack bleach in them). 
  4. Several gadget manufacturers provide clear instructions for cleaning their products, and it is safer to go through the same to understand whether Clorox wipes can cause them any harm. 

Are Clorox Wipes Flammable?

No, Clorox wipes are not flammable under normal conditions. If it indeed catches fire, avoid the usage of a water jet as it will only spread the fire. Use fire-extinguishing media such as carbon dioxide, water fog, alcohol-resistant foam, or dry powder for the purpose, depending on the environment and suitability.

Are Clorox Wipes Flushable?

No, neither Clorox Disinfecting Wipes nor Clorox Compostable Cleaning Wipes is flushable. The former product contains thermoplastic fiber in its substrate, making them unsuitable for the purpose. If you end up flushing these wipes down the toilet, do remember that you create a considerable possibility of damage in the internal plumbing of your home along with the local wastewater systems. 

Are Clorox Wipes Biodegradable?

Clorox Compostable Cleaning Wipes is a biodegradable option you can consider for your house. The wipes are compostable, given that they form only ten percent of the whole pile. Do not compost the wipe if it has been used to wipe non-compostable waste.

The regular Clorox Disinfecting Wipes is a non-biodegradable product due to the presence of synthetic fibers in them. You have to strictly adhere to those instructions provided by the manufacturer to dispose of the latter product properly so that you do not harm your environment.


Anand Srinivasan
Latest posts by Anand Srinivasan (see all)