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How effective are antibacterial wipes?

If we’re to believe Wikipedia, then the ‘sanitising wipe’ dates back to the late 1950’s, and a New Yorker named Arthur Julius.

Working in the cosmetics industry in Manhattan, Julius adapted a soap dispensing machine to produce the world’s first ‘moist towelette’ (as it was originally termed), saw an opportunity within the catering industry, showcased his invention at the 1960 National Restaurant Show in Chicago – and struck a deal with Colonel Sanders and KFC a couple of years later…

The emergence of the wipe since those early years gathered pace when people started travelling more frequently: there was an obvious demand for a quick and easy way to clean up on the move, and the wipe filled that gap perfectly.

And then, in the 90’s, the supermarkets got in on the act, coming out with their own brands, lowering the price, and pitching directly at the domestic home – resulting in a near-ubiquitous presence in homes around the Western world.

But just how effective are wipes? How has their intended use shifted? Do wipes actually kill viruses? Has there been an evolution in the science behind them?

Whoah there – slow down… let’s dissect a little.

First off, there’s little doubt that their intended use has changed – proven in their transition from catering industry trial to becoming a staple in the home. Much of that can be put down to good marketing – but marketing is dead in the water without a good, effective cleaning product.

And from an initial focus on simple ‘area cleansing’ – and the appearance of cleanliness – there has been a 60-year evolution in the science behind the chemicals involved – and the efficacy within these chemicals to prevent germ and microbe growth on an increasingly wide variety of different surfaces.

Today, antibacterial wipes are omnipresent in factories, office blocks, restaurants, shops, schools and homes – but with so many different brands and products on the market, it’s important to ensure the products are doing what you expect them to do.

Are they providing protection against that specific viral strain you’re trying to safeguard against? What is the difference exactly, between 99.99% efficacy and 99.999%?


Should you choose antibacterial wipes as one of your main cleaning items? 

We’ve touched in previous posts on the accuracy of cleaning wipes, when looking to restrict antibacterial and antiviral product to those areas that are most important. The hand-surface application ensuring the antimicrobial film covers precisely the key touchpoints around a home or office – as opposed to the scattergun approach of sprays and aerosols.

That’s not to say there isn’t a place for sprays – and admittedly, it may be more about the cleaner’s approach, and general administration of the product – but when looking to conduct a deep disinfectant clean in the premises, then you need both:

  • the certainty that the antibacterial product is reaching the key areas, and
  • the assurance that a uniform layer of the product has been applied.

The obvious drawback of the wipe – as we increasingly recognise the importance of global sustainability – is the disposability of the product ‘post wipe’: an important step to reduce virus/bacteria cross-contamination. At Uniwipe we are continually evolving and striving to minimise our environmental impact, and our R&D teams are focused on developing more sustainable materials that still meet the highest EN-standards.

Whilst it is critical to throw wipes away post use, proper technique can make a single wipe go further than a slapdash approach, thereby minimising waste. We explore this further in a variety of posts, but perhaps most pertinently here: Five ways to clean more with less.

But let’s pick up briefly on an earlier point – namely, the need for assurance around which viral and bacterial strains the products are supposedly protecting against. There’s an eye-watering array of brands available in an ever-more-congested marketplace – and it’s easy for the consumer to be blindsided. A word to the wise in the current climate: if you’re looking for something that actively fights and protects against COVID-19 then make sure it says so on the front of the pack. Don’t simply assume that ‘anti-bacterial’ is a catch-all ensuring complete viral eradication.

At Uniwipe, we’ve recognised the different cleaning demands required within different industries, and pitched our range of products accordingly – although it’s worth noting, all our Midiwipe products actively target SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.


Head to the experts in antibacterial wipes for more information 

Maybe it’s a sign of our increasingly hectic lives – as we strive to do more in less time, streamlining processes whilst improving efficacy: two apparently contradictory concepts. But the humble cleaning wipe would seem to be a successful example of this blend.

Our wipes are easy to use, and highly effective – and there’s little doubt we’ve come a long way since Julius and his experiments in a Manhattan loft.

Having been in the business for almost 20 years, the Uniwipe brand is at the very forefront of wipe-based cleaning technology, continually raising the bar in R&D, and bringing scientifically-proven products to market, ensuring peace of mind for the consumer.

Our customer service team are here to help and advise on suitable products whatever the industry: whether office, school, hospital, restaurant, or domestic setting, we can supply in bulk where required.

Let’s face it: hygiene is not something you want to get wrong.

And as we slowly leave the summer behind us, and spend an increasing amount of time indoors, we’ll want to continue the ‘new normality’ that we’ve enjoyed since COVID restriction levels were lifted earlier in the year.

This will only be possible with a nationwide focus on hygiene and sanitation – and a reliance on effective products that actively target viral strains, and prevent contamination.


You may be using antibacterial wipes wrong – read our article on the common mistakes you may be making when using antibacterial wipes.
In this article, we look at some of the common mistakes users tend to make with buying, storing and using wipes, and how to avoid these pitfalls yourself. We’ll cover some top tips on popular types of wipes so you can make informed decisions, and storage & usage techniques to get maximum value and effectiveness from your cleaning routine.


See our range of wipes for office and workplace hygiene – keep your premises open and your staff safe by future-proofing your cleaning strategy.

With an effective daily cleaning strategy and effective cleaning products you can limit the spread of germs and bacteria and achieve a safer working environment.


Watch our video highlighting the Uniwipe range and the processes involved in creating the ultimate range of wipes. From manufacturing and distribution to advice and customer service, our in-house production facilities mean we can offer the very best in service and quality.

With vast experience in dealing with all manner of order requests from bulk and bespoke, multiple worldwide delivery locations or phased deliveries, once the team understands your requirements any number of solutions can be arranged.
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Your questions

All the Uniwipe wipes can be used for wiping tables, work surfaces and machinery in food areas, which should be rinsed prior to direct contact with food.

We also have the Catering Midi-Wipes which are specially developed for use in the catering & hospitality sector and are food area approved.

When cleaning high traffic areas to avoid cross contamination, we recommend that you dispose of each wipe properly after using on a surface. This way you can be sure no germs are being transferred from one surface to another.

Uniwipe products are specifically formulated to be safe on a wide range of surfaces such as hard surfaces, leather and upholstery. As they are alcohol free, they are also safe to use on technology equipment, subject to manufacturers guidelines.

Whilst some wipes are specifically designed for use on certain surfaces, the Uniwipe range of products is suitable for use on all hard surfaces for cleaning and disinfecting.

Whether you’re a distributor looking to resell our products, a large corporation looking to partner with a reputable manufacturer, or are just looking to buy a pack for yourself, we’re here to make it as easy as possible to get your hands on quality wipe solutions.

Visit our How to Buy page to get quality wipes, fast.

Uniwipe products are dermatologically tested, so are certified safe on skin. We also have the Hand & Surface wipe specifically designed and tested for use on hands. If you are prone to irritation from similar products, we recommend you wear gloves whilst using them.