Since Mrs Hinch exploded into the spotlight, there is one cleaning product that has been catapulted into every wannabe cleaning queens arsenal. Zoflora. Usually sold for £1, it’s affordable and incredibly scented, and rightfully earned its place as one of the UK’s top disinfectants.
Are you using it responsibly? Do you know the risks of using this product, when you’re not following the directions printed on the bottle and box? Let’s talk.
Skin Irritation & Sensitisation
I jumped on the Zoflora bandwagon.
I really did. My house smelt wonderful (for an hour a day when BB went to bed as that was the only time I could really use it) and I even did the frowned upon spritz over fabrics in a spray bottle. Then I began noticing my skin drying, cracking. Between my fingers where sometimes the spray bottle leaked, or where my hands had been in contact with the cleaning cloth.
My skin began to crack, split and bleed. It looked horrendous, and it wasn’t comfortable as you can imagine.. I couldn’t work out what was causing it, until I bought some rubber gloves to stop my cleaning routines causing my hands to sting. Then my hands went back to their pink fleshy selves.
When I looked up my symptoms, I found myself on the Zoflora website: “However, undiluted Zoflora is harmful in contact with the skin and if swallowed, so always keep the container out of the sight and reach of children.”
This is followed up with “Undiluted Zoflora antibacterial disinfectant may cause sensitisation or irritation when it comes into contact with the skin and it is recommended to wear rubber gloves when using.
Lesson learned there, then. I’ve never had reactions to cleaning products, but since that first reaction to Zoflora I’ve found I’m much more sensitive and have to rely on using rubber gloves for even the most every day tasks. That’s when I began looking into Zoflora, and just what it’s intended purpose is — versus what it’s used for.
This is the active ingredient in any Zoflora concentrated disinfectant product.
Listed as a skin irritant and severe eye irritant for humans, what’s most worrying is the fact it’s also linked to poisoning in pets as a result of direct contact with surfaces treated with a benzalkonium chloride based disinfectant.
For that reason, pets should never be in contact with any surface treated with Zoflora. Do not spray your pets bedding with Zoflora, and do not allow your pets anywhere near wet surfaces that have just been cleaned with Zoflora.
BridgeBiotechnology.com has a pretty comprehensive list of other ingredients and the effects they have, I do recommend a read.
The ‘Hinch Effect’
I’ve written about this previously, in my article Mrs Hinch: Domestic Goddess Or Environmental Menace? And it’s a real thing. Below are some of the ways that people in Hinch-focused groups on Facebook are using this product, and an insight into how much it’s being used in some people’s homes.
Many people have decided to stockpile Zoflora. I honestly didn’t think it would be as extreme, but simply scrolling through Facebook for the last few weeks has blown my mind.
These are real stockpiles, from real people. They’ve shared them in various groups and my intention is to share the current Zoflora madness sweeping through the UK — at £1 or more a bottle, I can’t imagine the amount of money people are spending on this product.
Overuse & Misuse
“How many bottles do you use a day?”
This is a question that’s banded around a lot on Facebook, and the answers always divide the nation. These are just from one particular thread, that I picked over recently.
(I’ve hidden the posters, obviously — I’m not here to shame people, but to try and raise awareness.)
Zoflora is meant to be diluted in a 40:1 ratio. That’s approximately a capful in 400ml of water. Ideally, that’s over 4 litres of disinfectant you can create using a single bottle! Some posters can use the full bottle of concentrate in a single bucket of water, which I’m presuming isn’t 4 litres.
As I covered above — when not diluted according to the instructions provided on the packaging and bottle, Zoflora is both flammable and an irritant.
Using such a concentrated amount could possibly be causing headaches, migraines and triggering breathing difficulties to those who are vulnerable too. Even when used correctly, Zoflora still smells wonderful so there really is no need to go through even a bottle a day. A capful at most!
Using Zoflora in Reed Diffusers
Reed diffusers are another trend in the cleaning community, it’s basically a number of reeds stuck into a pretty little glass bottle filled with a potent fragrance.
If you have some empty reed diffusers, using a diluted mixture in them to refresh the scent is even recommended by Zoflora themselves. However. Dilute according to instructions and never fill a diffuser with ‘neat’ Zoflora.
Edit | THIS TIP HAS SINCE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE ZOFLORA WEBSITE AS IT IS UNSAFE.
Using Zoflora In Electric Diffusers, Steam Cleaners, Vacuum Cleaners…
Yes. Yes, this is a thing.
It’s also incredibly dangerous as Zoflora is flammable unless diluted to the specific instructions.
However, even if Zoflora has been diluted. Zoflora in any form should not be used in any electrical appliance — irons, steamers, vacuum cleaners, electric diffusers.
Using Zoflora In Oil Burners
Zoflora is flammable.
In no circumstances should it be poured into a burner, diluted or not. Nor should it be mixed with wax into DIY wax melts. This is a cleaning chemical, which is meant to be used sparingly — diluted in a 40:1 ratio. Pouring it into an oil burner and heating it up is just reckless. It isn’t an essential oil and isn’t intended for such a use, goodness knows what you’ll be breathing in!
Spraying Zoflora On Furnishings
When diluted to the correct instruction, I can see the appeal in this (especially living with a toddler who is on the verge of potty training) but if you don’t follow the correct instructions — you guessed it. It’s flammable. Worse still, people mix Zoflora with fabric conditioner which is also flammable.
When sprayed in the incorrect ratio, it’s known to cause irritation when transferred from furnishings to skin, which just isn’t worth it for me and my toddler. I’ll be sticking to products that are specifically formulated for spraying on my furnishings.
Pouring Zoflora Down The Sink
Please don’t do this.
Read the packaging — Zoflora is incredibly detrimental to aquatic life, and when people are pouring concentrate Zoflora down the sink… Imagine what that’s doing to our ecosystem. All your doing when pouring this down the sink is making the pipe smell nice until you next use it — and pouring money down the sink, obviously.
Pouring Zoflora Down The Toilet
Depending on what chemicals you use to clean the toilet, you’re risking an intense chemical reaction when pouring Zoflora down the loo.
On the packaging, Zoflora clearly states: DO NOT MIX WITH OTHER CHEMICALS. If you only use Zoflora down the toilet, then it could be a viable way of cleaning the toilet but as it’s only a disinfectant it won’t shift limescale or hardened on faeces so no doubt you’ll be using different cleaners to rid yourself of those.. Not to mention, pouring Zoflora down the toilet introduces concentrate Zoflora into the ecosystem much like pouring it down the sink.
Please. Make sure you use Zoflora according to the instructions. Yes, dilute it properly and use it to disinfect surfaces that you’ve cleaned, use it to scent your home — but don’t fall into the trap of misusing and overusing it.
You can have a read of the official Zoflora safety sheet here and come to your own conclusions, but while it’s good at doing what it’s intended to do it really shouldn’t be misused.