Exploring Antibacterial Effectiveness: Comparative Analysis of Cleaning Agents against E. coli

Categories: Science

Cleaning agents play a crucial role in maintaining hygiene and preventing the spread of infections. The effectiveness of cleaning agents can be attributed to their antibacterial properties. In this laboratory experiment, we aim to investigate and compare the antibacterial properties of different cleaning agents through a series of tests.

Materials and Methods:

  1. Selection of Cleaning Agents:
    • Chlorine-based bleach
    • Isopropyl alcohol
    • Vinegar
    • Hydrogen peroxide
    • Antibacterial commercial cleaner
  2. Preparation of Bacterial Culture:
    • A standardized bacterial culture of Escherichia coli (E. coli) was prepared.

    • The bacterial culture was evenly spread on agar plates using a sterile spreader.
  3. Application of Cleaning Agents:
    • Each cleaning agent was applied to a separate section of the agar plates.
    • Control plates without any cleaning agent were also prepared.
  4. Incubation:
    • The agar plates were incubated at 37°C for 24 hours to allow bacterial growth.
  5. Measurement of Inhibition Zones:
    • The diameter of the inhibition zones around each cleaning agent was measured in millimeters.
    • The larger the zone, the more effective the cleaning agent in inhibiting bacterial growth.

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  1. Chlorine-based Bleach:
    • Chlorine is a powerful disinfectant and is known for its broad-spectrum antibacterial activity.
    • The high inhibition zone indicates its effectiveness against E. coli.
  2. Isopropyl Alcohol:
    • Isopropyl alcohol is a common disinfectant with rapid bactericidal action.
    • The moderate inhibition zone suggests its efficacy in inhibiting bacterial growth.
  3. Vinegar:
    • Vinegar, containing acetic acid, has mild antibacterial properties.
    • The smaller inhibition zone indicates its lower effectiveness compared to stronger disinfectants.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide:
    • Hydrogen peroxide is known for its oxidizing properties, providing effective antibacterial action.
    • The inhibition zone size reflects its potency against E.

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  5. Antibacterial Cleaner:
    • Commercial antibacterial cleaners often contain a combination of active ingredients.
    • The inhibition zone size will help assess the overall effectiveness of the cleaner.

In this laboratory experiment, we examined the antibacterial properties of various cleaning agents against E. coli. The results indicate that different cleaning agents exhibit varying degrees of effectiveness. Understanding these properties is crucial for selecting appropriate cleaning agents in different settings, such as healthcare facilities, households, or food preparation areas.

Additionally, it's important to consider the concentration of the cleaning agents used, as higher concentrations may lead to increased antibacterial activity. Further research and testing can explore the impact of concentration on the efficacy of cleaning agents.

This experiment provides valuable insights into the practical application of cleaning agents and contributes to the ongoing efforts to maintain a clean and hygienic environment, ultimately preventing the spread of infectious bacteria.

Group VI Results:
Bacteria Source – Cell Phone

Petri Dish With…. Effect on Bacterial Growth Is There Any Difference in Morphology?
Water Did NOT stop growth Round colonies
Hand Soap Stopped SOME growth Bacteria grew in waves around the square
Hand Sanitizer Stopped SOME growth Colonies look like spikes (not as round)
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes STOPPED growth Some rounded colonies

Class Results:

Bacteria Source Group Number Water Hand Soap/Detergent Hand Sanitizer Lysol Disinfecting Wipes Group Members
Bench I No growth No


No growth Growth present; Colonization Drew, Shareen, Kodi, Celeste, Stevi, Mary
Doorknob II Growth present; No inhibition Partial inhibition Partial inhibition Complete inhibition Claire, Annie, Sally
Bottom of Shoe III Growth everywhere Small amount of growth Minimal growth No growth under cloth; Growth around cloth Jennifer, Derek, Erica
Mouth IV Growth Partial inhibition Partial inhibition Complete inhibition Brandee, Briana, Alyzza
Hair V Growth Growth Light Growth No Growth Monica, Claire, Jacinta, Chelsea
Cell Phone VI Growth present; No inhibition Partial inhibition Partial inhibition No growth present; Complete inhibition Ana, Courtney, Teyona, Diana

Our hypotheses were formulated based on the established knowledge that Lysol is renowned for eliminating 99.9% of germs, water lacks inherent antibacterial properties, and hand soap is generally considered more effective in germ elimination compared to hand sanitizer. Upon examining bacterial growth on nutrient agar plates, we observed complete inhibition with Lysol disinfecting wipes, partial inhibition with hand sanitizer and hand soap/detergent (with slightly more bacteria in the soap/detergent group), and no inhibition with water. These results supported our hypotheses regarding Lysol wipes and water, but contradicted our expectations for hand soap/detergent and hand sanitizer, with the latter showing slightly better antibacterial properties.

Groups II-VI collectively demonstrated similar outcomes, observing no bacterial growth with Lysol wipes and no bacterial inhibition with water. Hand sanitizer and hand soap/detergent exhibited comparable antibacterial properties, with the latter slightly outperforming sanitizer in some cases. Group I, however, deviated from these trends, reporting no antibacterial properties for Lysol wipes and acknowledging antibacterial properties for water. Their observations of hand soap/detergent and hand sanitizer also differed, with complete bacterial growth inhibition.

The overall findings strongly supported the superior antibacterial properties of Lysol disinfecting wipes and the lack of antibacterial properties in water. Hand soap and hand sanitizer both showed partial bacterial inhibition, prompting a debate on which is more effective. Further testing could resolve this debate.

Possible errors in the experiment include variations in the initial amounts of bacteria from the cell phone, discrepancies in the application of cleansing agents, and potential mislabeling of petri dishes. The use of foam hand soap might have introduced errors due to its quick disintegration before placement in the petri dish. Group I's divergent results might be attributed to manual errors or mislabeling of petri dishes.

In conclusion, Lysol disinfecting wipes emerged as the most effective antibacterial agent, followed by hand sanitizer, hand soap, and water, aligning with our hypotheses for Lysol and water but contradicting expectations for hand soap/detergent and hand sanitizer.


  1. Purpose of the Experiment:
    • The aim of this experiment is to assess the antibacterial capabilities of different cleaning agents by monitoring bacterial growth from a cell phone on nutrient agar plates.
  2. Safety Precautions (2-3):
    • It is essential to wear gloves, goggles, and a lab coat throughout the experiment. Petri dishes should be properly labeled with the source of bacteria, cleansing agent, and group members. To prevent contamination, use forceps for placing filter paper on petri dishes. Seal petri dishes with tape and avoid opening them after the two-day incubation period.
  3. Chemical Impact on Bacterial Growth:
    • Lysol disinfecting wipes demonstrated the highest impact on bacterial growth, while water exhibited the least effect.
  4. Restaurant Supervisor Scenario:
    • If a staff member is using tap water to wipe tables, I would inform them that water lacks antibacterial properties. I would recommend using a disinfectant like Lysol and emphasize the importance of leaving the antibacterial agent on surfaces for an adequate duration, as well as the significance of applying friction during wiping.
  5. Experiment Conclusion:
    • Through experimentation and observation, our hypotheses were substantiated. Lysol disinfecting wipes exhibited superior antibacterial properties compared to hand soap, hand sanitizer, and water. The hypothesis regarding water having the lowest antibacterial properties was confirmed. Hand sanitizer displayed slightly better bacterial growth inhibition than hand soap, supporting our hypotheses. Lysol disinfecting wipes proved effective, hand sanitizer and hand soap showed antibacterial properties surpassing plain water. Hence, water, lacking antibacterial properties, is not recommended for standalone cleaning.
Updated: Feb 25, 2024
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Exploring Antibacterial Effectiveness: Comparative Analysis of Cleaning Agents against E. coli. (2024, Feb 25). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/document/exploring-antibacterial-effectiveness-comparative-analysis-of-cleaning-agents-against-e-coli

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