Lysol Spray as a Tool Disinfectant?

Bradybb(wa8)January 25, 2014

There is a local gardening expert,who has a short segment at the end of a news hour.This ends with questions from callers.
One caller asked if there is a good disinfectant for pruning tools.His short answer was Lysol spray.
Does anyone else use this or can give a reason why it shouldn't work?The can does says that it kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria.It's fairly easy to carry around and won't rust steel like bleach does.
Maybe he has something there or could plants be different about diseases? Brady

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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)


I always use bleach water but I am curious as the lysol would be more convenient.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:27AM
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I've run across that recommendation. In that case it was for disinfecting tools when pruning for fireblight.

I got a good buy on alcohol at CVS and stocked up on that. Dilute to 70%- for some reason that's said to be more effective than 100%.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 7:39AM
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Lysol should work fine, or put isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) in a spray bottle. I don't know that you'd need to dilute it.

In my biology lab, benches were wiped with Lysol and tools were cleaned by dipping in alcohol and setting on fire. They needed to be sterile.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 4:54AM
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IIRC the time for alcohol to actually kill bacteria/viruses is on the order of 10 min of contact. I suspect Lysol is similar (one really needs the details of the methodology they used to get that 99.9% kill). If you read the fine print on some of the "sterilizing" sprays, you'd be surprised at how long they recommend they be left on the surface before wiping.

The kill time for Cl bleach is quite a bit less (15-30sec). Which is why it makes for a better (or at least quicker) disinfectant spray. Although it can be quite rough on surfaces, tools and the user's skin and lungs.

The alcohol wipe before an injection in the Dr's office, served mostly to clean the area (alcohol is a good solvent), not as much to sterilize the area.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 2:17PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

Happen to have a can of Lysol at my desk.

It says:

"Kills the following household germs in __10 minutes__"
( Then has a list of 24 viruses ( viri??) and bacteria)

then ---> "This product meets AOAC Germicidal Spray "Product Test standards for hospital aersol disinfectants."

then ---> "To deodorize: spray on surface as needed.
To sanitize: Let stand for 30 seconds and allow to air dry. To disinfect: let stand for 10 minutes then allow to air dry"

"Hazardous to human and animal" and advises to wash food contact surfaces with potable water after use.

Ingredients: ALKYL DIMETHYL BENZYL AMMONIUM SACCHARINATE ... .10% and ETHANOL .. 58%. Other... 41.90%

THIS STUFF AIR DRIES IN MUCH LESS THAN 10 MINUTES. So unless you keep spraying the item to keep the surface wet, it is useless as a sanitizer or disinfectant

I have been using it to spray my pruner between tree cuts it did not hurt but apparently was of no great use.

BTW... what is the technical difference between "sanitize" and "disinfect". I think that to us end users it means the same, but obviously not.


    Bookmark   January 26, 2014 at 3:59PM
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I use a mini trigger-start butane torch; works fast, doesn't corrode the metal, no fumes, and it's fun to use on wooly aphids (the waxy stuff burns really good). Just make sure it's turned off before putting it back in your tool bag...

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:39AM
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I was checking other sources online and some found Lysol as effective as a bleach/water solution.
Steve and Mike bring up some interesting points though and when fruitmaven mentioned fire,I was thinking about what applenut already does.There are not many microorganisms that can survive a flame. Brady

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 12:24PM
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You need to be careful with high intensity heat sources and quality edge tools. It is pretty easy to blow the temper along the blade's edge and then back just enough to make working back to hard metal a bit of chore.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 4:41PM
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mes111(5b -Purling NY & 7b -Nassau County NY)

Thankfully my young orchard has not been under any disease pressure. I was using Lysol as a quick spray just to be safe as I was walking from one tree to the other.

If disease pressure and fear is high then ...

A possible solution could be to use 2 hand pruners when pruning. When finishing one tree, plop the pruner into a small container with alcohol (either on the belt as a holster or in the little yellow wagon I have with me when I do orchard chores).

By the time I get to the next tree the first pruner was soaking in the alcohol for 10 minutes and switch. We non-professional growers might not even be aware of or recognize a disease outbreak in time - so this might be worthwhile insurance to keep it from spreading.

Maybe a little extra work and paranoid but for a small orchard it might just work.

What thoughts?


    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 5:05PM
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Yes Mike,I think that is a good idea. Brady

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:36PM
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The old version of Lysol (concentrate) had phenol in it and was probably a lot more effective biocide than the cleaner today.

I would have thought that 70% or 90% isopropyl alcohol (or ethyl for that matter) would dehydrate and denature proteins in bacteria or viruses a lot faster than 10 minutes.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2014 at 7:39PM
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H2O2 might also be an effective sterilization solution, but perhaps not at the 3% drug store concentration.

From the little I could find, it looks like it can be useful at a 10% solution (if you can find that). However time wise, it isn't much better than a strong (1:3 or so) bleach solution. Not sure how much safer it would be for the user either...

    Bookmark   January 28, 2014 at 1:43PM
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