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The effectiveness of household cleaning agents for killing bacteriaFeatured science projectScience project video


This science fair project was done to find out how effective common household cleaning agents are against bacteria. The science project experiment involved using water, dishwashing liquid, Dettol and Clorox.


Dettol solution is the most effective disinfectant, followed by Clorox.

Scientific Terms

Bacteria, immunity, hygiene, grease, blood agar


Household cleaning agents

Bacteria are found all around us and cannot be completely eliminated from our homes. Our bodies have acquired immunity against most types of bacteria from the time we were born and therefore they are harmless to us. However there are still some bacteria around that can do us harm and that is why we have to ensure cleanliness and hygiene around us.

At grocery and department stores, so many types of soaps, detergents and disinfectants are sold. Some of these are used for personal hygiene purposes whereas others are used for floor cleaning, dishwashing or washing toilets. Some products are multipurpose cleaners that can be used to wash anything. It is best to leave the cleaning solution on the surface for a while, to allow it to become more effective in killing bacteria.

The presence of grease in the kitchen sink or other parts of the house attracts dust, mites and small insects. Grease is also the ideal place for bacteria to multiply and grow. Stronger cleaning agents are normally required to remove grease.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 5 days for science fair project
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

The bacteria should be destroyed before being disposed of. Pour some bleach into the petri dish to kill all the bacteria before disposing of the dishes in the trash.