Simple Disinfectant Made From Sawdust Destroys Deadly Microbes

Medscape Staff

January 20, 2022

Some of the world's deadliest microbes are proving no match for a new sustainable disinfectant made from sawdust and water, according to researchers who were looking for environmentally friendly alternatives to chlorine cleaning products.

What to know:

  • Researchers have found that cooking sawdust waste mixed with water under pressure can create a disinfectant that can kill 99% of some disease-causing microbes, including anthrax, E coli, several strains of the flu, and even some staph bacteria.

  • Scientists believe that pressure cooking the sawdust and water breaks molecular chains of wood and frees the antimicrobial phenolic molecules.

  • Phenol ― or carbolic acid ― is an aromatic organic compound found naturally in wood.

  • The new disinfectant has been shown to damage the cell makeup of the dangerous microbes, including bacteria as well as viruses.

  • The sawdust mixture is a sustainable alternative to many commonly used disinfectants such as bleach, which often contain chlorine and can be harmful to the environment.

  • Most of the current "greener disinfectants" contain phenol or chemical look-alikes and are expensive to make, while the new disinfectant utilizes what is considered a sawdust waste product.

This is a summary of the article, "A Disinfectant Made From Sawdust Mows Down Deadly Microbes," published by ScienceNews on January 19, 2022. The full article can be found on

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