Never has disinfection been so important in our lives. Recent events have shown all of us that neglecting thorough and regular disinfection leaves our homes in a vulnerable spot. If bacteria and viruses worry you, there is no doubt that a disinfectant product needs to be a necessary part of your cleaning product lineup. But disinfection shouldn’t be cumbersome or difficult, and that’s where easy-to-use disinfectant sprays come in. Disinfectant sprays are convenient, readily available, and effective against dangerous bacteria and viruses. In this product comparison guide, Cleaning King breaks down the pros and cons of the most popular choices: Pine-Sol vs Lysol vs Seventh Generation disinfectant sprays.
Protecting our homes against dangerous viruses is not the only reason why you should use disinfectant sprays in your home. If you’re struggling with a musty or unpleasant-smelling room, disinfectant sprays also eliminate odor-causing germs that regular air fresheners cannot solve. Some disinfectant sprays also double as effective cleaning products with the ability to remove grime and dirt buildup from stoves, tiles, and bathtubs. And depending on the product you choose, you can even use some to sanitize soft materials like carpets and cloth fabrics. This is why it is important that you know what you need a disinfectant spray for before you purchase anything. But if you are still not sure, this product comparison guide with pros, cons, and tips is sure to help you make your choice!
As we touched on earlier, different disinfectant sprays can do different things, and they are not made equally. Some are stronger than others, while some are more environmentally friendly than others. So, before you choose a disinfectant spray, what should you consider? Let’s explore the importance of the three most common factors that consumers weigh before making a purchase: effectiveness, ingredients, and price.
One of the first things you should consider before you buy any kind of cleaning product is how effective the product is at disinfection. This is especially important when you depend on these products to keep you and your family safe from disease-causing bacteria and viruses.
Most disinfectant sprays will make the same claim about being “99.9% percent effective” on their packaging, but you will need to dig a little deeper to find out if this is true. Check what bacteria and viruses the product has been tested on and find out how long the product needs to be effective on common surfaces like counters and tiles. These are small clues that can point to the product’s strength. Another common rule of thumb is to check how much product you will need to use to disinfect something—the smaller the amount of product you need, the more potent the formula, and thus more effective.
Most people think that effectiveness is the most important factor to consider when buying a disinfectant spray. Still, we argue that what is more important is the ingredients used in the product. What use is a super strong product in a family home if it is dangerous to handle or unsafe to use around children and pets? Every product on the market uses its own special blend of ingredients to make itself unique, and it is important to understand what those ingredients do.
If you are conscious about the environmental impact of the products you use, then looking at a product’s ingredient list is the easiest way to understand if it suits your ideals. Disinfectant sprays can be formulated with or without bleach, and before you start spraying a product everywhere, you should probably check whether or not bleach is one of its ingredients. Bleach should be carefully handled, so you will need to be more careful around these formulations. The ingredient list is also where you can check what kind of fragrance has been used; so if you have any allergies or sensitivities, this is the first thing you should check.
No one wants to spend more than they have to, and that is certainly true when it comes to common household products. Because it is a necessity, you will have to repurchase the product multiple times over. That’s why it is important to find a product that comfortably fits into your budget. With so many options on the market (and on this list), it is certainly easy to find something for everyone.
Assessing the price head-on is not the best way to compare the prices of disinfectant sprays. First of all, products come in different sizes, so you will need to calculate the price per oz to get an accurate view of how much each spray is. Second, as we have previously mentioned, some disinfectant sprays are stronger than others. So while a product might be really cheap, you will go through the can fast if it is not very effective as you will need more to compensate for its weak formulation. That’s why it is important to weigh both price and strength before making a decision. In this guide, Cleaning King will give you an accurate view of pricing per product.
Pine-Sol is one of the most iconic cleaning companies in the world, and its reputation is bolstered by its original products. Pine-Sol’s cleaner was invented in 1929, with its founder inventing the idea of using pine oil—something considered relatively worthless at the time—as a way to clean homes. Today, however, Pine-Sol All-Purpose Cleaner no longer contains pine oil. It was removed in 2016 due to high costs and limited supply, but the signature pine scent remains. And if you really want to get your hands on the original formula, Pine-Sol does sell it as an online-exclusive product on their website.
Still, it was never the pine oil that made Pine-Sol such an effective disinfectant. It uses glycolic acid as its active ingredient and is extremely powerful. How powerful? It is enough to disinfect surfaces, remove stains, break down scum and rust, and remove any hard water stains. It can also be used to kill bacteria and viruses, including COVID-19. However, it should only be used on hard surfaces like floors and counters and should not be used on any fabric or soft material.
Pine-Sol All-Purpose Cleaner does not actually come in its own spray bottle but is so popular as a DIY disinfectant spray that we would be remiss to leave it out of this comparison guide. Because of the product’s strength, it has to be diluted before it can be sprayed. Ratios vary according to preference, but we generally recommend 1-2 tablespoons of Pine-Sol All-Purpose Cleaner for every 1 cup of water. Once that has been mixed together, you can transfer it to any plastic spray bottle. You do not need to add anything else. According to Pine-Sol’s product description, one 24 oz bottle will give you 12 gallons of cleaning solution.
While Pine-Sol is not the most convenient product to use because you will need to dilute and essentially create your own product, it is an incredibly cost-effective and powerful disinfectant. So if you’re on a budget and need something more powerful than just pantry vinegar, Pine-Sol is a fantastic choice.
More than 100 years ago, Lysol cleaning products were even advertised as an effective way to kill the influenza virus during the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918. Things certainly have not changed much since. Lysol is one of the oldest and most respected cleaning product companies in the world, so it is no wonder so many people still rely on it for everything from cleaning wipes to disinfectant sprays. It also has a near-constant presence on most major publications’ list of the best household cleaning products. So what makes Lysol disinfectant spray so special?
Its multi-purpose and user-friendly formula is a big draw for most consumers. Yes, Lysol Disinfectant Spray works as a brilliantly effective disinfectant, but it can also be used in other ways. Lysol is available in various pleasing scents (there are over 10 to choose from!), and many people use them in lieu of an air freshener. They are perfect for the job because they eliminate odor-causing germs and bacteria to make a room smell better in under a minute. Lysol can also eliminate and prevent the growth of mold and mildew when consistently used.
Beyond this, Lysol is made without bleach and instead uses benzalkonium chloride as its main ingredient. That means it is safe to use to sanitize and refresh soft fabrics—curtains, carpets, old clothes, gym bags, and almost anything else! You rarely have to worry about using Lysol because it is made to be gently effective in any way it is used.
But don’t mistake Lysol’s gentle formula for weakness. Lysol Disinfectant Spray is effective against 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, including the novel coronavirus COVID-19. In fact, it was one of the first products to be approved by the FDA in 2020 and was used in hospitals across the world.
For best results in your home, pre-clean any surfaces before spraying Lysol Disinfectant Spray. While it is effective against bacteria, it is not a cleaning product. If you need a product that can dissolve grime and remove any other build-up, Lysol is not the product for you. We would recommend purchasing a separate household cleaner (also available from Lysol) or using another product like Pine-Sol.
Seventh Generation products might be relatively new compared to the behemoths on this list (the company was only started in 1988), but it brings something totally unique to the market: their products are 100% toxin-free and made from botanical ingredients. Seventh Generation’s mission is focused on sustainability and the conservation of the natural world, and this philosophy is clearly reflected in their products. Their disinfectant spray is no different, and it is quickly becoming a favorite among consumers.
While Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray is made with 100% botanical ingredients, that does not mean it is not an effective disinfectant. It uses thymol as its active disinfectant ingredient and can be used to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses, including Influenza A, H1N1, and the COVID-19 virus.
Thymol is derived from botanical thyme oil and so is also safer to use around pets and children. It is so safe that this EPA-approved product does not require a rinse even if you use it to disinfect counters where you prepare food and clean children’s toys, unlike both Pine-Sol and Lysol. This is a large reason why Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray is particularly popular among parents who worry about their children coming into contact with dangerously harsh chemicals. This disinfectant spray is available in three unique scents, but it should be noted that many customers have complained about the scent of the product. Because Seventh Generation only uses botanical ingredients and does not use artificial fragrances, the scents are not as sweet or pleasant as other products on this list.
Like Lysol, Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray is safe to use on both non-porous surfaces and soft materials because of its gentle formulation. However, it is only fully effective when the product is left to stand on the surface you spray it on for at least 10 minutes. Any less than that, and you will not reap the full disinfectant benefits of the product.
Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray is the best choice for environmentally-conscious consumers. All Seventh Generation products come in recyclable packing made with recycled products. And while they currently do not offer refills for their products, their website states that they are working with the EPA to be able to offer this zero-waste solution soon.
This how-to section will cover instructions for disinfecting non-porous surfaces like counters, floors, and small objects like remote controls and doorknobs, as these are the most common places for germs and bacteria to gather.
Before you start disinfecting something, make sure you have selected the right product for the job. In the previous section, we went through the different ways these different products can be used, so make sure to refer to that product comparison before proceeding.
Repeat the disinfection process at least once a week or more as needed.
This guide compared three popular disinfectant sprays to crown the best disinfectant spray on the market: Pine-Sol vs Lysol vs Seventh Generation. So which one has come out on top?
Pine-Sol is known around the world for its strength and affordable price. It is a great option for people on a budget who want to make their cleaning products go for miles. However, Pine-Sol does not currently offer their product in a spray bottle, and you will have to dilute the product yourself and transfer it to a spray bottle to be able to use it.
Lysol Disinfectant Spray is one of the most dependable disinfectant sprays in the world, and its reputation precedes it. It has a multi-purpose formula, an easy-to-dispense product, and it is available in every scent imaginable. While it is more expensive per oz than Pine-Sol, it is certainly still an affordable product.
Seventh Generation products are making a name for themselves in the environmentally-friendly consumer base, and its Disinfectant Spray is no different. Available in three unique scents, Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray uses thymol as a natural alternative to chemical disinfectants to deliver a gentler and safer product. However, Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray is the most expensive of the three products, and it also takes longer than both Lysol and Pine-Sol to disinfect a surface.
When we consider the important factors that make for a great disinfectant spray, a clear winner emerges—Lysol Disinfectant Spray. The product hits all the important boxes. It is effective against dangerous bacteria and viruses, has a safe and effective formula, and is reasonably priced. For those reasons, we consider it to be the best disinfectant spray currently on the market.
You will only need to rinse if you have not diluted the product. If you are using pure-strength Pine-Sol on your floors or counters, immediately rinse with cold water after. But if you have diluted the product with water to use a spray (as we suggest you do in this article), then no rinsing is required. Still, some people may prefer to rinse surfaces after disinfection to remove any scents.
Pine-Sol Original is the most famous product in Pine-Sol’s lineup, but the smell isn’t for everyone. Some customers complain that the scent is too strong. If you are averse to strong smells, we would suggest the Lavender variant for a gentler scent.
Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray does not create harsh fumes, nor does it leave any harmful residue behind. However, it is still important to handle the product carefully. Do not spray directly on skin or in the eyes, and store all your products away from children’s reach in an airtight cupboard.
Because Seventh Generation products are made with botanical ingredients, they are safer for mild use around babies and pets. You can use Seventh Generation Disinfectant Spray to sanitize pet beds and clean toys, but the product is only made for use on objects and surfaces. It is still important to be careful and be aware of where the product is at all times.
Lysol does not emit bad fumes, but it is dangerous to use in badly ventilated rooms. The spray can cause skin and respiratory irritation if it is breathed in for a prolonged amount of time. If you have any respiratory problems, we would suggest using a product like Seventh Generation Disinfectant spray instead.