Force of Nature Is on the EPA’s List of COVID-Fighting Disinfectants, But How Well Does It Clean? Here’s Our Honest Take
- Value: 17/20
- Functionality: 18/20
- Ease of Use: 18/20
- Aesthetics: 15/20
- Deep-Cleaning Ability: 17/20
Since the Great Toilet Paper and Lysol Wipe Shortage of 2020, it seems like every day we learn about a new disinfectant on the market. (Seriously—Kris Jenner and Chrissy Teigen are even getting in on the game.) And with so many out there, it’s hard to tell what’s worth buying, especially when a buzzy new brand comes with a $56 initial cost to get started. But still, despite that hurdle, I had to take a closer look at Force of Nature. Could a little device turn water, salt and vinegar into a multi-purpose cleaner, deodorizer and disinfectant? One that’s strong enough to kill COVID-19? Yes and yes, it turns out.
It Becomes Much More Cost Effective Over Time
First, let’s dig into the cost, because it’s hard to justify, when you can pick up an all-purpose cleaner for less than $5. That steep startup cost is because Force of Nature uses a small, spray-bottle-sized machine to zap regular ol’ water, vinegar and salt into a cleaning agent. You simply add an activator capsule (aka their salt-vinegar blend) to the device, fill it with water, and over the course of 10 minutes, you’ll see the mixture bubble and fizz, creating hypochlorous acid, a gentle disinfectant that’s known to kill 99.9 percent of germs. And yes, those germs seem to include coronavirus—Force of Nature is registered with the EPA, making the government agency’s list of disinfectants that can eliminate COVID-19 on hard surfaces. An all-natural cleaner that really destroys germs is very appealing. Plus, the price becomes much more reasonable when you factor in its eco-friendliness (you’re reusing the same bottle again and again), and that it comes with five activator capsules, which create five, 12-ounce bottles of the cleaning solution.
Capsules to refill the machine are available on Amazon, making it convenient to restock, and will run you about $1.08 a bottle. It’s hard to find an effective all-natural cleaner and disinfectant that cheap; the challenge is that you’ve got to commit to using it on the regular, so it doesn’t just become a device you buy once, run out of capsules and relegate to the back of your cabinet.
There’s No Vinegar Scent—or Stickiness
If you’ve tried DIY all-natural cleaners involving vinegar, you may have noticed a lingering, tangy scent filling the air afterward. Or, if your ratios are a bit off, a sticky film on every surface once it dries. Thankfully, that’s not the case with Force of Nature. There’s no grit, sheen or film after you’ve cleaned a surface. There isn’t much of a scent, unless you spray it a ton, in which case you’ll get a faint, swimming pool scent. Not the heavily chlorinated scent of a public pool, thankfully—but it did remind me of a freshly cleaned pool.
One thing worth noting: Since the hypochlorous acid starts to dissipate over time—the brand describes it like the carbonation in soda slowly going flat—each bottle is only good for two weeks. Which is something to consider, when you’re factoring in the cost per cleaning (and how often you actually clean).
It’s Best for Light Cleaning (But It Did Surprise Me)
Standard counter spills and grime are easily wiped away. However, Force of Nature is very much like your standard, multi-purpose spray: Things requiring elbow grease will require just as much effort. (Crayon marks on vinyl floors, for example? Scrubbing helped more than the spray.)
However, there was one instance where it really came in handy: cleaning a burnt pan. I had a scorched ceramic-coated nonstick skillet that seemed beyond hope; I’d tried soaking it and scrubbing it to no avail. Out of curiosity, I sprayed Force of Nature on the dry pot, let it sit for about 20 minutes, then wiped it down. At first, nothing. Ugh. So I poured an inch of water into the pan and brought it to a boil for a few minutes. I removed it from the heat, let the water cool, and poured it out. When the pot dried, the scorched food had curled away from the pan, leaving a slight outline of salt from the Force of Nature spray. It easily wiped away in one swipe. Could I have achieved similar results from a little baking soda and water, if I’m being honest? Probably. But since I already had the spray handy, I figured I might as well put it to use.
The Bottom Line: I’ll stick with Force of Nature for a while. It’s meeting my needs, and while having a two-week expiration on my cleaning supplies is a bit fussy, I love that it’s all-natural and easy to use.
The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what's worth the spend—and what's total hype. Learn more about our process here.