I was in my friend’s bathroom yesterday and my eyes spotted a particular bar soap next to the sink. Now, there was nothing particularly extraordinary about this observation because this soap has been around since my childhood and I have seen it in almost all homes growing up in the township.

But for some reason, yesterday I was drawn anew to the words “Kills 99% of germs”. I have seen these words many times both written and splashed on TV commercials for disinfectants products, as part of their winning tag lines. Re-looking at the statement made me pose the following questions to myself:

  • Why are we okay with the 1% of germs not killed?
  • Is it impossible for a disinfectant to remove all germs?
  • Is it true that 1% of germs might actually be very good for us?
  • Why do we trust brands when they make the 99% claim?
  • How do we even measure to see if this claim is true in our households?

I looked at the ingredients on the bar soap and there were 18 ingredients in total that made that bar. Of all those, I only recognized 1 yet this is a brand we have trusted for years.

I can’t recall how many times I’ve caught the flu and cold virus and I know many people who have as well. Yet, in our homes we have two or more disinfectants with this 99% germ claim. I have heard that there are many types of germs and not all of them may be flu and cold causing. So, could it be that these disinfectants are not necessarily killing the germs that affect us severely?

I am by no means attacking the manufactures of these disinfectant products, but as an advocate for Human Rights, I want to challenge us to dig deeper into the 99% claims.

In digging deeper into the 99%, we need to…

  • Be a bit more educated about germs that cause flu and cold viruses and use our buying power to purchase products that best serve us as opposed to taking the marketing messages of some of these organizations at face value.

My final thoughts– brands need to be held with a bit more accountability. We can’t just consume things blindly, by placing our complete trust in profit making corporations. We are in a period where our voice as consumers is powerful.

I advocate that we dig deeper into claims brands make and recognize that our (brand and consumers) relationship is actually symbiotic.  We have needs, they have the services/products we need. The word “need” suggests a co-dependence, that fully serves both parties fairly.


Image courtesy: https://healevate.com/microbiome-explained-plain-english/