Coronaviruses are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill — if you use the right disinfectant in the right way.
In the U.S., there have now been more than 1,200 reported cases
of and more than 35 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. And the news seems to grow grimmer with each passing day.
It’s not all bad news, though.
Coronaviruses like the one currently circulating the world are enveloped viruses — that is, they have a protective coating. This makes them “one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product,” says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Following is a list of such disinfectants. Some might be hard to find in stores right now, but others you likely already have at home.
Just remember that you must use a disinfectant correctly for it to be effective.
The EPA urges
consumers to follow product directions, especially those regarding how long to let a disinfectant sit on a surface before wiping it away. The National Pesticide Information Center offers more detailed guidance
for using disinfectants to control the new coronavirus.
Soap and water
That’s right: Plain ol’ soap and water is not only the best way to wash your hands but an effective way to disinfect surfaces.
The friction that is created when you scrub with soap and water is enough to break the coronavirus’ protective envelope, according to Consumer Reports
. That means you must use some elbow grease along with the soap and water, though.
Richard Sachleben, a chemist and member of the American Chemical Society, tells Consumer Reports:
“Scrub like you’ve got sticky stuff on the surface and you really need to get it off.”
Bleach is among the products that the CDC recommends
for disinfecting surfaces in households with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 — assuming the surface would not be damaged by bleach.
Bleach is effective against coronaviruses if its expiration date has not passed and it’s diluted with water using one of these two ratios:
5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon of water
4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water
Caution: Never mix bleach with other cleaners. Hazardous gases can be produced.
The CDC also recommends rubbing alcohol that contains at least 70% alcohol.
Note that we’re talking about rubbing alcohol itself, not alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
For cleansing your hands, a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
is your next-best bet after soap and water. But to disinfect surfaces, you need rubbing alcohol itself and a higher percentage — at least 70% alcohol.
Certain Clorox products
The EPA recently released a list
of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against the current coronavirus.
Also known as List N, this resource is dominated by professional products like those intended for use in the health care industry, but it does include some products intended for consumers.
Those consumer products include the following from Clorox:
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach
These products might be out of stock at your local stores, and their availability appears to fluctuate even at online retailers. But if you keep an eye on Clorox’s storefront on Amazon
, you might luck out.
Certain Lysol products
The EPA’s list of qualified coronavirus disinfectants also includes numerous consumer products from Lysol
, such as:
Lysol Disinfectant Spray
Lysol Disinfectant Spray Max Cover Mist
Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner Pourable
Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Hydrogen Peroxide
Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach
Lysol Power Bathroom Cleaner
Lysol Power Foam Bathroom Cleaner
Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach