'Bacterial Wipes?' Study Finds Germ-Killing Wipes Can Spread Germs

A new study finds that antibacterial wipes, touted for their ability to kill germs, actually can spread germs after their first use.

The study examined the ability of the wipes to disinfect surfaces at hospitals.

Researchers from the Welsh School of Pharmacy at Cardiff University in Wales presented their findings on Tuesday at the 108th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Boston.

Using a three-step method, they examined the ability of several commercially available wipes to disinfect surfaces contaminated with Staphylococcus aureus, including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.

The results showed that some wipes can remove higher numbers of bacteria from surfaces than others.

The wipes tested, however, were unable to kill the bacteria that they removed. As a result, they transferred high numbers of bacteria to other surfaces.

The findings suggest there is a high likelihood of cross-contamination if the wipes are used more than once, according to the Welsh School of Pharmacy’s Dr. Gareth Williams, the study's lead author.