As of August, the Environmental Protection Agency had certified 16 disinfectants capable of killing SARS-CoV-2. Among them, the products Lysol, Clorox and Lonza, which all share the same active principle: quaternary ammonium.
The EPA also has a list of hundreds of disinfectants which are effective against similar viruses. They haven’t been tested specifically for their effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2, but they should work.
If you can find these cleaning products, it’s important to follow the directions on the label. You may need to leave the surface saturated for several minutes for it to work effectively. Many people also dangerously abused cleaning products during the pandemic, which the CDC says has led to a increased calls to poison centers Across the country.
If you can’t get your hands on EPA-registered disinfectants, you can use any of the products listed below, which are also effective against the novel coronavirus.
Sachleben explains that the EPA only has a list of products that have been shown to work because it needs to verify the brands’ germ killing claims. “The things that have proven to be the most effective are the basics, like bleach and alcohol,” he says. “Customers don’t find proven products as convenient, which is why we have all of these products on the market. “
The CDC recommends a diluted bleach solution – ⅓ cup of bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per 1 quart of water – for viral disinfection. Wear gloves when using bleach and never mix it with ammonia, or anything, for that matter, except water. (The only exception is when doing laundry with detergent.) Once the solution is mixed, do not store it for more than a day as the bleach will lose its effectiveness and may degrade some plastic containers.
“Always clean the surface with water and detergent first, as many materials can react with the bleach and deactivate it,” says Sachleben. “Dry the surface, then apply the bleach solution and let it sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping it off.”
Bleach can corrode metal over time, which is why Sachleben recommends that people do not get into the habit of cleaning their faucets and stainless steel products with it. Since bleach is also harsh on many countertops, you should rinse surfaces with water after sanitizing to prevent discoloration or damage to the surface.
If you can’t find liquid bleach, you can use bleach tablets instead. You may have seen Evolve bleach tablets, which dissolve in water, at Amazon or Walmart. Simply follow the dilution instructions on the package (1 tablet equals ½ cup of bleach). A label on the bottle says the product is not a disinfectant – Evolve has not submitted the product to the EPA registration process – but, chemically speaking, it is the same as water. Liquid bleach.
Alcohol solutions containing at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against the coronavirus on hard surfaces.
First, clean the surface with water and detergent. Apply the alcohol solution – do not dilute it – and let it sit on the surface for at least 30 seconds to disinfect it. Alcohol is generally safe for all surfaces, but can discolor some plastics, Sachleben says.
According to the CDC, household hydrogen peroxide (3%) is effective in deactivating rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure. Rhinoviruses are more difficult to destroy than coronaviruses, so hydrogen peroxide should be able to break down coronavirus in less time. Spray it on the surface to be cleaned and let it sit on the surface for at least 1 minute.
Hydrogen peroxide is not corrosive, so you can use it on metal surfaces. But like bleach, it can discolor fabrics if you put it on your clothes.
“It’s great for getting into hard-to-reach crevices,” says Sachleben. “You can pour it over the area and you don’t need to wipe it off as it basically breaks down into oxygen and water.”