This natural cleaner is strong enough to kill the coronavirus—plus it’s food-safe
We say yes to this natural born killer
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Fact: Cleaning isn’t fun. No matter how much music you turn on, how many family members you get involved, or what level of “treat” you give yourself when you’re done, it just isn’t. But, today, when a virus is front-and-center in the headlines, this activity has taken on a more significant role in our day-to-day life. So we clean. A lot.
We pack our under-counter space with bottles of everything we need (disinfectants, glass cleaners, deodorizers, sanitizers, and more). We schlep around our houses, spraying tough solutions (more than likely full of chemicals) onto everything in hopes of keeping our households safe and maybe a little sparkly.
What if you take away the chemicals and add an EPA approval for killing the coronavirus, a bubbly chemical reaction, and cool blinking lights? Are we having fun yet?
We decided to test out Force of Nature, a mighty, all-natural disinfectant that kills the coronavirus and cleans just about everything, including stuff you can eat.
How Force of Nature works
Force of Nature starts with only three ingredients—water, salt, and vinegar. There are no dyes, fragrances, preservatives, or surfactants.
Despite these innocent makings, it still boasts a wealth of kudos: the highest rating by SkinSAFE (the Mayo Clinic's rating system for product safety for skin allergies), a place on the EPA’s List N of disinfectants for directed use against COVID-19-causing SARS-CoV-2; and a rank as an EPA-registered disinfectant that kills 99.9% of all of those other pesky germs no one talks about anymore—Salmonella, Norovirus, Listeria, STAPH, MRSA, Pseudomonas, and Influenza A.
So, how does Force of Nature replace kitchen, bath, glass cleaners, deodorizers, sanitizers, and disinfectants with just three tiny ingredients? Here comes the science.
Mr. Pease told me in sixth grade chemistry that molecules are made up of different elements. I’ve never forgotten this.
Push the start button on the Force of Nature bottle’s base, and the salt (sodium chloride) and water (good old hydrogen dioxide) are literally jolted into action. An electrical current is sent through the solution to break up the molecules and scramble the elements to form two new power molecules: hypochlorous acid (HOCl) to gently disinfect and sodium hydroxide to clean up sticky messes and grime. Consider the vinegar the referee. It lowers the solution’s pH level (acidity) to control how much of each new molecule is made.
This isn’t breakthrough science. In fact, the technology to make electrolyzed water has actually been around for more than 50 years. Force of Nature just made it small enough to fit onto your counter.
Here’s what I received
The Force of Nature Starter Kit—which arrived in a smashed box, making me wonder if the company needs to rethink its packaging—contains an Electrolyzer appliance, five activator capsules (enough to make five bottles of cleaner), and a 12-ounce reusable spray bottle, all for $56. If you’re feeling ambitious, on Amazon, you can also get all that, plus 50 capsules (a year’s supply) for just over $100.
The instructions are super easy, and the science is explained in depth. There’s even a booklet for your little ones to understand the fun.
Since the actual measurement of germs, and the elimination of germs, requires more than I can do in my house, I couldn’t test this, but I feel good taking the EPA’s word for it. However, I did put the other claims to the test: Is it better than Clorox on grease? Better than Scrubbing Bubbles on soap scum (although you might need to add baking soda)? Better than Windex on glass?
What I liked
The prep is super easy
Who doesn’t like a good, old-fashioned science experiment to add an exciting element to cleaning. Simply fill the Electrolyzer with water and squirt in one capsule.
After 10 seconds and a button push, the magic begins. A woosh of bubbles and a blue light alert you the cleaner is being made, with the light transitioning to green when it’s ready (about nine minutes).
Pour it into the spray bottle, and you’re ready to go. You don’t even have to grab rubber gloves, because it’s gentle enough to leave those accessories in the drawer.
You can use the solution to clean virtually any surface
I accepted this challenge wholeheartedly.
Without selling out my family and me for being slobs, I went around the house cleaning various messes. The after-dinner prep on the granite kitchen countertop met its match, washing clean with just a few sprays (although extra elbow grease was needed in some greasy stove-top spots).
The tub soap scum was easily wiped away, and our stainless steel appliances shined. Windows and mirrors took a bit to become streak-free, but in the end they were spotless (tosses her Windex). Because Force of Nature doesn't have drying accelerants like ammonia-based or alcohol-based cleaners, sometimes you have to wipe with a dry paper towel until the surface is dry. Yes, this is an extra step not seen with other cleaners but it wasn’t a deal breaker for me.
It cleans unexpected items
The mile-long list of what you can clean using Force of Nature includes the obvious, but also some not-so. Think litter box (as a deodorizer), steering wheels, keyboards, grills, neti pots, yoga mats, humidifiers, and more.
I tried the spray on a few nontraditional items. Let’s just say my makeup brushes are fluffy again, my cutting board was brought back to life.
I won’t just rinse fruits with just water anymore. That’s right, Force of Nature claims you can clean your produce with it, and it won’t make you sick. Word to the wise, give your produce a quick water rinse after cleaning it with Force of Nature. Lesson learned.
Our dog was gracious enough to get sick, and I was even able to clean up her indiscretion, although I did have to spray with another heavy duty cleaner to avoid a stain.
Fun fact: Force of Nature is also supposed to prolong the life of flowers in vases. And you can use Force of Nature to clean even your hands.
What I didn’t like
You’ve got to use it fast—or lose it
If you’ve ever taken a swig from an old carbonated beverage, you likely noticed it lost its zip. Consider the two-week expiration date on your freshly made bottle of Force of Nature a way to avoid that flat vibe on this disinfectant.
After two weeks, the HOCl dissipates, making it a less effective disinfecting power. Depending on how much you clean, this could lead to a waste with the 12-ounce bottle. Force of Nature reports that most families use about a bottle a week, but I didn’t.
It takes up counter space
I also have a love/hate relationship with the light ring around the bottom of the Electrolyzer that alerts you when it’s time to make a new batch. Love: It’s handy. Hate: The unit takes up counter space and an outlet.
If you clean your house with Force of Nature, you will know it. Not only is everything clean, everything smells like a swimming pool. Although it has no added fragrances, the hypochlorous acid is so pungent it served as a strong reminder of my pre-COVID days enjoying laps at my gym.
After some time, the smell will dissipate. It lasted on my hands for a short time, bur hours after I washed a countertop, I could still smell it. On the other hand, when I cleaned my windows, there was no smell remaining at all.
Should you buy this
Despite the heavy natural odor (which does eventually dissipate), this is a tough cleaner that does a great job. When your world needs to be really clean, knowing you have Force of Nature (and the EPA) on your side is invaluable.
And let’s face it—science is fun. But, don't tell Mr. Pease.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.