Disinfectant Wipes vs Sprays: Which Is More Effective?

We explore how disinfectant wipes and sprays differ in price, power, and purpose, to find the best fit for your business.
9 March, 2023 by
Disinfectant Wipes vs Sprays: Which Is More Effective?
XO2® Pty Ltd, David Blamire

Let’s face it. Bacteria and viruses are an unsettling fact of life - and inevitable. They love to lurk on all kinds of surfaces, leading to illness, unsanitary conditions, and loads of other problems. So, for the average business or workplace, having a fuss-free disinfectant to eliminate them is a must.

Wiping Out Germs: A Battle Between Disinfectant Wipes and Sprays

The two most common options for a sanitary surface are disinfectant wipes and sprays. On the one hand, wipes offer a simple and fuss-free way to sanitise. On the other hand, liquid disinfectant sprays are powerful and cost-effective, bringing a lot to the table. Both products not only kill bacteria and microorganisms living on surfaces, but they do it pretty fast.

So, if these antimicrobial powerhouses are both skilled at killing bacteria and viruses, does it really matter which one we use? As it turns out, yes. Before you can even think about stocking up on disinfectants for your business, you need to know which one is the best fit. And XO2 is here to help.

What’s the difference between disinfectant sprays and wipes?

Put simply, disinfectants are chemicals that kill bacteria and viruses when they come into contact with them. But just like any other cleaning product, not all sprays and wipes are created equal.

A disinfectant with a hospital-grade rating that makes specific claims to kill microorganisms must be listed with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia and meet many conditions and requirements. Thankfully, XO2’s Disso range of disinfectants (AUST L 368170) falls into that category. If your supplier of disinfectant does not support their claims with laboratory testing and regulatory approvals where needed, you may be just spreading viruses and bacteria, not killing them.

Disinfectant sprays and wipes are just two methods of delivering these powerful cleaning products to surfaces. And generally, they both do a stellar job of killing bacteria and viruses in workspaces.

But there’s more to a disinfectant than that. How they’re applied, their convenience factor, cost, and how effectively they kill germs can differ for each product.

Disinfectant sprays vs wipes: how they stack up where it counts

So, which sanitiser reigns supreme? We’ve considered the most crucial points in the wipe versus spray debate to help you get the answer. Ultimately, the best choice for your business or workspace will become clear. Let’s begin.

1. User-friendliness (Winner: Wipes)

How user-friendly can a disinfectant be? And why does it matter? In this round, the points go to the disinfectant wipes as the most user-friendly option. Cleaning surfaces with a disposable wipe is as easy as it gets, giving you many benefits like safety and minimal effort. Here are a few:

• No RSI: With wipes there’s no chance of RSI, and you won’t exert yourself pulling the spray trigger. Bonus points: you simply throw the wipe in the bin when you’re done. No washing and sanitising of reusable cloths.

• Safety: Safety is a major selling point of wipes, particularly not breathing in the mist from chemical cleaners whenever you’re using them. The less contact we have with chemicals, the better it is for our health.

• Surfaces: Disinfectant wipes are kind to surfaces. With fewer chemicals coming into contact with benchtops and other things, they’ll stay in the best condition for longer.

• Convenience: Single use wipes are quick, easy and hygienic to use. To make things even more convenient, you can purchase wall mounted surface disinfectant wipe dispensers, or mobile surface disinfectant wipe stations from XO2.

These points aside, disinfectant sprays are still a user-friendly alternative. But they just require a more careful approach. There’s some decanting to get the chemicals in the spray bottle, mixing is required when using concentrates and it's a bit of effort on your trigger finger, but overall, sprays are a simple and effective way to disinfect surfaces.

User tip

A wall-mounted wipe dispenser is ideal for public spaces where surface sanitisation is recommended, like in gyms and health clubs. This makes it easier and more accessible for patrons to sanitise surfaces once done, resulting in a healthier environment for everyone.

2. Antibacterial and cleaning power (Winner: Wipes... just!)

Newsflash: disinfectants were designed to disinfect. However, many people confuse them with detergents that are made for cleaning. Their ability to kill microorganisms, rather than just clean them, makes them an antibacterial powerhouse.

Overall, though, wipes are the winner regarding antibacterial power, just! Because they come in a single-use application and are immediately disposed of, there’s no risk of reusing anything and spreading germs. There's very little chance of cross-contamination with disposable disinfectant wipes.

But when we weigh up the antibacterial power of hospital-grade disinfectants like Disso wipes versus Disso sprays/liquid, they’re on an even playing field. XO2’s Disso hospital-grade disinfectant is proven to kill up to 99.999% of germs. Both the Disso wipe and Disso spray/liquid have the same kill rate. Plus, they’re both listed by the TGA. Here's is a list of some of the specific pathogens Disso has been tested and proven to kill...

• Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19)
• Influenza virus type A
• Herpes Simplex virus
• Vaccinia virus.
• Monkeypox
• Poliovirus (Polio)
• Staphylococcus aureus (Golden Staph)
• Pseudomonas aeruginosa
• Enterococcus hirae
• Escherichia coli (E-Coli)
• Salmonella choleraesuis
• Trichophyton mentagrophytes

The big issue with all disinfectants is when the solution is not left on the surface long enough to do it's job. Disinfectants need some time to kill all the viruses, germs and bacteria effectively. But if you’re applying them as directed, they’re extremely efficient.

For removing viruses like COVID-19, state health departments most often recommend using a detergent to clean the dirt and grime first and following up with a disinfectant (like Disso). Some people call this process a deep clean and in some applications it might be called a routine clean. The disinfection process always works better when pre-cleaning occurs. A commercial grade disinfectant product like XO2's 5-in-1 is a great solution for general cleaning applications because it provides cleaning, sanitising, disinfecting, deodorising, and re-odorising in one neat package.

Disinfectant tip

FYI: To get the best results from the cleaning products you use, follow the how-to-use directions provided. This is also the case when it comes to disinfectant wipes and sprays. Read the instructions to learn how long the disinfectant needs to dwell on the surface and the recommended process to make sure you’re doing it right. We don’t just print these for fun.

3. Workplace-friendliness (Winner: Wipes, again!)

The best disinfectant is the one that makes it easier to keep your workplace clean and hygienic. And this is another area where wipes come out in front. Here are a few reasons why:

• Compliance: Wipes reduce your reliance on labelled bottles which helps with compliance. There’s nobody mistakenly picking up the wrong spray bottle and causing a scene.

• Usage: You’ll have better control over usage, so staff will only use what they need. No excess sprays, wasted product or liquid spills (filling bottles can be awkward). This means costs can be reduced as well, serving your bottom line.

• Happier staff: Everyone will probably be chuffed using disinfectant wipes over a bulkier spray bottle system. Happier staff are more likely to care about keeping their workplace clean.

Of course, no two workplaces are the same. What might be perks for one business could be seen as downsides for another. Some might find that the traditional disinfectant spray is the best fit for their business, and that’s okay too. Both offer hospital-grade hygiene, so the choice is up to you.

4. Mess and maintenance (Winner: Wipes)

Even though cleaning products are designed to clean up the mess, they can sometimes be guilty of making a little. Case in point: disinfectants.

However, when stacking up wipes versus sprays, we must hand the trophy to the former due to its single-use disposable factor. You wipe down the surface with a pre-moistened disinfectant wipe and throw it in the bin. Problem solved.

For a spray, on the other hand, there’s a little more effort involved. Mixing/decanting the product, using a paper towel or cloth to wipe it off, and then disposing of the mess or washing the cloths when done. Sure, it’s not rocket science, but if you’re looking for the cleanest and most straightforward option, wipes are our winner.

Additionally, an option like the XO2 handheld electrostatic sprayer (some people call this a fogger) lets you coat surfaces with a very fine mist of disinfectant spray at the pull of a trigger. It's a great tool for disinfection deep cleans. And if you want the best in convenience and minimal mess, it’s worth the investment.

5. Disinfectant price comparison (Winner: Spray/Bulk Liquids)

Money talks. And when you’re buying cleaning products, you want to get as much bang for your buck as possible. 

Shopping on a budget? 

You’ll probably lean towards a disinfectant spray because you can more easily buy these cleaning liquids in bulk.

What if you favour convenience and hygiene over all else? You won’t mind paying a little extra for the perks of disposable disinfectant wipes. Plus, the manual labour costs you’ll save from going with the wipes might tip the scales a little more in their favour.

Budget-friendly tip

Buying in bulk is always cheaper, especially when it comes to cleaning supplies. Whether you’re buying a lot of disinfectant wipes or large quantities of disinfectant liquid and reusable spray bottles, going with a wholesale supplier or buying direct from the manufacturer will save you a bundle.

Which disinfectant is best for your business?

Now you've learned about the pros and cons of disinfectant wipes and sprays, choosing the best disinfectant for you might be a little easier. But if you’re still a bit stuck and unsure, ask yourself these questions to find the winner:

• How big are the areas you want to disinfect regularly?

• Are you on a super tight budget, or are you happy to pay more for convenience and safety?

• What types of areas and surfaces are you cleaning and disinfecting?

• Are the surfaces hot spots or touchpoints that have a higher exposure to bacteria?

• Will the general public be using the surface disinfectant, or is it going to be a staff-only product?

• Are you concerned about safety or anyone being around and handling chemical liquids?

• Does speed and saving labour costs matter? or do you have lots of time for cleaning tasks?

What's the bottom line

There’s a good chance your workplace has different areas that can benefit from using both disinfectant wipes and sprays. One disinfection solution will rarely fit all workplaces.

Wipes are the most intelligent solution if you’re after convenience, safety, and hygiene. Sprays and liquids are your best bet for disinfection at a more budget-friendly price and for harder-to-wipe surfaces. 

Our recommendation

For a comprehensive cleaning and sanitising solution, we recommend using a combination of disinfectant wipes and sprays to keep your surfaces and spaces hygienically clean.

Check out XO2’s line-up of disinfectant sprays and wipes today and give them a go to make your business and facility, even happier, healthier and more hygienic.

Related articles:

How To Disinfect Hard Surfaces
How to Choose the Best Disinfectant for Cleaning Surfaces: A Comprehensive Guide
17 Disinfectant Safety Tips Everyone Should Know
The Power of Disinfectant Wipes: Benefits You Need to Know
Are Disinfectants Septic Safe?
Is It Safe to Use Cleaning Chemicals & Disinfectants During Pregnancy?
12 Disinfectant Myths, Debunked By Experts
How to Use a Disinfectant Fogger to Clean Your Facility, Workplace or Home

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