It's not rocket science that elementary schools are covered in germs. After all, when you put that many kids in one place it's impossible to avoid. And, as a result, students often pass colds and the flu to one another at a rapid pace. But after a particularly rough bug hit fourth-grader Lily Smith's school, she decided to do something about it.
Smith did an experiment for her school's science fair to determine which cleaning product would do the best job killing germs. According to Michele Craft, a custodian at Smith's school in Cleveland, she uses Clorox wipes and Lysol sprays throughout the building. But that's not what Smith's findings says should be used.
Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Smith swabbed her toilet, sink and bathtub, then cleaned the swabs with Bleach, Lysol and Thieves Oil to see which one grew the most bacteria over the course of seven days (and, as a result, doing the worst job zapping germs). The results? Thieves Oil produced the least amount of bacteria — and Smith took home the first place prize for her work.
"I've just been so excited. I can't stop smiling," she told News Channel 9. And Carolyn Forte, Director of the Cleaning Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, gives Lily a lot of credit, too, saying it was an ambitious and impressive experiment. However, her research has found some different results.
"At the Institute, we've found that both Clorox bleach and Lysol are very effective at killing germs," she says. "What's important to remember is that not all products are equally effective on the same types of bacteria and different chemistries work differently. It's always best to check the labels to see what germs they will kill and how best to use them." As for Thieves oil, Forte says essential oils can kill germs, so it makes sense that they would perform well in this experiment.
Regardless, we're impressed by Smith's experiment and instincts to find a solution to a problem, instead of just accepting it. And Forte sees serious potential in Lily: "It looks like Lily might have a future in the Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab!"
[h/t News Channel 9]