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Infectious disease

How we know disinfectants should kill the COVID-19 coronavirus

The novel virus is one of the easiest virus types to deactivate, though SARS-CoV-2–specific data are lacking

by Kerri Jansen
March 13, 2020


Credit: ADragan/Shutterstock
Under the US EPA's emerging viral pathogen program, makers of disinfectant products can request approval to claim a product is expected to kill the novel coronavirus based on its ability to kill similar viruses.

The spread of the coronavirus disease COVID-19 has spurred a surge in sales of cleaning and disinfection products. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, along with thorough hand washing—both standard practices for helping slow the spread of viruses and bacteria. But consumers will be disappointed if they go looking for a product that specifically promises to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Although there’s good evidence the novel coronavirus is one of the easiest types of viruses to kill, scientists are still determining its exact nature and how big a role surface transmission plays in its spread. As researchers rush to understand the new pathogen, the US EPA is working to provide the public with information about disinfectants that can help slow its spread. Such claims won’t be allowed in brick-and-mortar stores, though, until more testing can be done.

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Understanding exactly how a new virus spreads and persists in the environment takes time, resources, and virus samples for research—all of which are spread thin in the early weeks and months of an outbreak. That lack of data creates challenges both for people seeking advice about how to avoid this new disease, and the experts and organizations offering that advice.

“Everyone puts in a word of caution in there that we don’t really know, because we don’t have enough data yet,” says Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona who studies how viruses spread in indoor environments.

On March 3, the EPA released a list of antimicrobial products for use against SARS-CoV-2, under an emerging viral pathogens program developed for just this kind of scenario. (The EPA regulates antimicrobial products as pesticides.) Under the program, which was introduced in 2016 and activated for the first time in January, makers of disinfectants can request approval to claim a product is expected to kill a particular virus based on its ability to kill similar viruses. Once an outbreak has been identified and the identity of the virus is confirmed by the CDC, approved products are temporarily permitted to distribute information about using the product for the emerging pathogen. The claim appears in a standard format such as: [Product name] has demonstrated effectiveness against viruses similar to SARS-CoV-2 on hard, nonporous surfaces. Therefore, [product name] can be used against SARS-CoV-2 when used in accordance with the directions for use.

According to the EPA, these statements are intended to “inform the public about the utility of these products against the emerging pathogen in the most expeditious manner.” The emerging pathogens program sidesteps the lengthy review process that is typically required for vetting disinfectant efficacy claims, which requires the establishment of a standardized protocol and testing with the actual virus or an EPA-approved surrogate. At this time, an EPA spokesperson says, no companies have sent the agency any efficacy data on the novel coronavirus or any surrogates.

Speed is of the essence, because surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, and electronic equipment can transmit viral and bacterial diseases. According to the CDC, SARS-CoV-2 is believed to spread primarily person-to-person through airborne respiratory droplets. But it may be possible for the virus to spread on surfaces, too. Scientists know that similar respiratory viruses expelled into the air by coughing, breathing, or speaking can settle on surfaces, where they can linger in an active state for days, protected in a cozy covering of mucus. Although scientists aren’t sure yet how long the novel coronavirus remains active on a surface, one study done in a hospital found that similar coronaviruses can persist on hard surfaces like glass, metal, or plastic for up to 9 days (Journal of Hospital Infection 2020, DOI: 10.1016/j.jhin.2020.01.022). Another study, recently published on medRxiv and not yet peer reviewed, found that SARS-CoV-2 remains stable on plastic and stainless steel for 2–3 days. (MedRxiv 2020, DOI: 10.1101/2020.03.09.20033217). The authors also published their data in a correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine (2020, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc2004973).

During that time the virus can potentially be spread to anyone touching the surface, and to whatever they touch next. People tend to underestimate how quickly a virus can spread through a building and beyond via touched surfaces, Gerba says.

Gerba notes that technological advancements like large airliners, massive sports stadiums, and the proliferation of self-service kiosks have made it easier for diseases to spread rapidly. Mobile devices like smartphones can pick up germs from contaminated hands and then offload those germs later on to spread in a new location.

Enveloped viruses like SARS-CoV-2—which rely on a protective lipid coating—are the easiest type to deactivate. In contrast with many gastrointestinal viruses like norovirus which have a tough protein shell called a capsid, viruses with this fatty wrapping are relatively vulnerable.

“It’s much more sensitive. It’s sort of a wimpy protective shell,” says virologist Seema Lakdawala of the University of Pittsburgh.

There are a few ways to burst this flimsy shell. Alcohol-based products disintegrate the protective lipids. Quaternary ammonium disinfectants, commonly used in health-care and food-service industries, attack protein and lipid structures, thwarting the pathogen’s typical mode of infection. Bleach and other potent oxidizers swiftly break down a virus’s essential components.

The EPA’s list of disinfectants presumed effective against SARS-CoV-2 contains several dozen antimicrobial products including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Each has been shown to be effective against at least one small or large nonenveloped virus, which are considered harder to kill than the enveloped variety. And that list is likely to grow; on March 9, the EPA announced it was expediting emerging pathogen-related requests that met certain requirements.

But consumers are unlikely to see such language on product labels any time soon. The EPA’s emerging viral pathogens program limits the places disinfectant makers can publish such a claim to off-label sources like websites, company help lines, and social media. Responding to public comments on an early draft of the program, the agency explained that this measure enables claims to be quickly removed if necessary. Product makers may also include the claims in technical literature distributed to health-care facilities, where it’s expected its recipients would have the background to put such claims in context.

The Clorox Company, which has several products on the EPA list, names three on its website’s coronavirus cleaning page along with the following statement: “Per the EPA Emerging Pathogen Policy, these products can be used against SARS-CoV-2 when used as directed.” The cleaning products giant has shared information about those products’ efficacy since late January, when the EPA activated its emerging viral pathogens program, according to a Clorox representative. The company’s standard practice is to seek pre-approval for the program when registering new products.

Of course, for the products to be effective, they should be used according to directions. The recommended contact time for common disinfectants ranges from 30 s to 10 min. Wiping them off too soon might clean the surface without disinfecting it, says Brian Sansoni of the American Cleaning Institute, a trade group for the cleaning products industry.

“Each disinfectant product—be it a spray or wipe, for instance—is formulated differently,” Sansoni says. Different products require different amounts of time to effectively kill a particular germ or virus.

Cleaning electronic devices like smartphones can be particularly challenging, with concerns about damaging sensitive components and coatings.

“Don’t use bleach,” Apple directs in recently released cleaning guidance for its products. The tech company says it’s safe to gently wipe keyboards and displays with a 70% isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.

Gerba recommends disinfecting wipes for cleaning other surfaces, too. With spray-and-wipe products, consumers often wipe the product up before it can do its job. But in studies done in people’s homes, they are more likely to let a surface air-dry after swabbing it with the wipe, giving the disinfectant compounds time to work.

“Disinfecting wipes win hands-down,” he says.


This story was updated on March 18, 2020, to include a link to a correspondence in the New England Journal of Medicine reporting data on how long the novel coronavirus survives on different surfaces.

This story was updated on March 16, 2020, to include the link to the EPA's most recent list of antimicrobial products for use against SARS-CoV-2.



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(March 14, 2020 3:09 PM)
Hydrogen Peroxide (3%) kills viruses too!
Paula (May 16, 2020 12:58 PM)
For those wishing to use chlorine bleach there is a handy calculator on the Canadian health site to give you the dilution rates to the effective 1000pm level required

Jeannine Rose (June 28, 2020 1:32 PM)
What is the virucidal contact time for undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide for enveloped virus? (Non-capsid)
Rod Owen (March 15, 2020 3:31 PM)
The article mainly focus on alcohol and wipes. Neither now are readily available. What is needed is practical ad vice and instructions on use of common cleaners such as ammonia and Clorox in a common large bottle. Often sprays and wipes are no longer available. Need to know the best way to make our own sprays and wipes from available products.
Jyllian Kemsley (March 16, 2020 5:51 PM)
The above comment from Rod Owen could be read to suggest that people combine ammonia and bleach (Clorox or otherwise). Mixing cleaners is generally a bad idea, because doing so can generate toxic gases or result in an explosion. You can read more in this story:

Accidental mix of bleach and acid kills Buffalo Wild Wings employee
Hope (March 17, 2020 1:45 PM)
I don't read it that way at all. I myself use ammonia to clean with more than bleach, as it seems to annoy my lungs less while cleaning. I have a very old home recipe for an ammonia based cleaner (again, there is NO bleach in it), but am having a very hard time determining if ammonia will kill the virus, and if so, can it be diluted and by how much and still have the desired effect. Everything I read is about bleach, which is sold out everywhere. If ammonia can help people, I think folks should start talking about that more & how so. It's been used as a disinfectant for decades, but most people forget about it.
JimnB (March 31, 2020 9:29 PM)
Some viruses are not inactivated by alcohol or quaternary ammonium disinfectant due to having a capsid (extra outer layer) in addition to the viral membrane.. Norovirus is a famous example, requiring bleach to stop it. Coronaviruses are different and can be wrecked with alcohol (60-75%, preferably), disinfectants, even detergents in some settings. They also respond to bleach solutions.
Bruce (April 5, 2020 7:18 AM)
How about 90% alcohol?
MarkK (April 7, 2020 1:05 PM)
90% alcohol "works," BUT... it evaporates quickly and probably will require additional applications to finish the job. 70% alcohol (ethanol or isopropanol) has a slower evaporation rate.
Dennis Hueber (April 21, 2020 11:10 PM)
I guess the will evaporate more rapidly then the water until the isopropyl alcohol is about 80% by weight. Like ethanol it will form a negative Azeotropes with water. Which is more interesting them important. I noticed the WHO recomends diluting 90% isopropyl to a little under 80% by volume.
delete (June 14, 2020 7:44 PM)
I read that, counter-intuitively, the higher alcohol concentrations DO NOT WORK as well as 70-75%. The reason proferred was that while 70-75% get through the capsule and disrupts what's within the 91% immediately congeals the outer fatty membrane, ironically insulating what's within, which can somehow still be activated at a future time.
jun (April 14, 2020 11:14 PM)
i kept wondering, after disinfecting the area with 70% alcohol, do you actually need to wipe it? wouldn't it be deactivated already? would the remains be infectious? do you need to wipe to get rid of it? thanks in advance
Kyreen Cooper (March 17, 2020 10:16 AM)
I am under my understanding from what I’ve learned growing up is bleach and fire are the only things that kill germs and viruses. If I’m wrong please correct me.
Mark (March 31, 2020 2:14 AM)
70 percent alcohol has been recommended by the government to kill this virus.
robert (March 31, 2020 9:34 PM)
That is correct for isopropyl alcohol. Ethanol can be as low as 60%. Higher concentration may not be as effective because they evaporate more quickly.
Bruce (April 5, 2020 7:40 AM)
Possibly. Good question Yet, the alcohol component of a solution evaporates before the water since it has a lower boiling point and is more volatile than water. The liquid left behind in the slower-evaporating 70% alcohol will more quickly go below 70% than would 90%, which would have 20% points to lose before going below 70% killing threshold. I carry either one of two 2 oz spritzers - one with 75% ethyl (kept in the car), the other with 90% isopropyl (kept in the house or on my person if I'm not driving).
Leenie (April 6, 2020 3:44 PM)
Can Benzyl alcohol work as a disinfectant?
Dennis Hueber (April 21, 2020 11:17 PM)
Actually they form an azeotrope the books at an even lower temperature the pure isopropyl alcohol. At 80% by weight. Like 90% ethanol. Not sure how this really effects rate of evaporation at room temp. But I think it means you are correct. As long as there is some water the mixture wll take some time to evaloraye.
Bobby (April 4, 2020 10:02 AM)
Actually viruses with lipid shells, such as Corona viruses, can be killed with 20 second exposure to ordinary soap or detergent.
Bachittar singh (April 14, 2020 3:57 AM)
Sir as you said corona virus can be made ineffective by ordinary detergent and soaps by applying for 20 secondds.The same is being suggested by various personalities on media channels.Then by spraying caustic soda solution why it cannot be destroyed instead of going for detergents . Caustic soda is primary constituent of all soaps.In my view caustic soda will also be effective to counter the spread of virus

Mark Jeansonne (March 18, 2020 11:52 AM)
Check 409 cleaner. The one I just bought contains the Quaternary ammonium disinfectant. Wet a paper towel with this. Should be the same as a wipe.
Mati Feuss-Green (March 20, 2020 12:09 PM)
Use a 10% bleach solution. That’s what hospitals use. Spray it on, leave it for a couple minutes and wipe it down. Let air dry.
jean orban (March 26, 2020 3:32 PM)
uses this in nurse clinic when still working as RN in 1979 after Hiv clients came for care. was standard care
Effren Benavides (March 30, 2020 5:16 PM)
Are you saying to use 10% bleach? Or are you implying that we should use 10% bleach concentration diluted to 3% with water. 10% straight will have numerous repercussions.
keith Cody (April 5, 2020 1:56 PM)
The number I've come across is a Bleach Solutions that is 1000ppm in water. Each Bleach manufacturer keeps their percentage as a trade secret. So you have to look up the SDS for each product. It will give you a high and low number. Assume the low number and do you calculations from there. It sucks. But that's the only way I've come up with for making a sanitary solution. "Outdoor" bleach is a different concentration from "Chlorox" and from "Walmart Beach"
Sona (April 16, 2020 9:14 AM)
Yes, Keith you, I've been having a great deal of trouble getting the ppm figure to even begin my calculation for a bleach solution. I've got a pint of 12.5% sodium hypochlorite (which should degrade each day a bit; even by the time it got here it was probably 12%), and since sources accessed indicate a solution should be made fresh each day, I don't want to make much--perhaps a pint of water + the sodium hypochlorite daily or when needed. I have two good calculation sites to tell me how many teaspoons I'll need with a pint of water to create a solution that will kill the coronavirus pathogen, but nowhere can I find the necessary ppm for the sodium hypochlorite that will create the most effective solution!
Earl G (April 18, 2020 9:00 AM)
1% solution is equivalent to 10,000 PPM. Therefore PPM of 12.5% sodium hypochlorite solution is 125,000 PPM. To get 1000 PPM solution it would require 0.008 volumes concentrate (12.5%) into 0.992 volumes of diluent (water). One gallon = 128 oz. to which you would add 1.024 oz. 1 oz is equal to 2 tablespoons. 1000 PPM of 12,5% bleach use 2 tablespoons in 1 gallon of water. Prepare fresh daily. If you have very hard water sodium hypochlorite degrades faster in hard water use a little more bleach like 7 teaspoons/ gallon. Apply with by spray or with clean cloth, getting the solution dirty results in more rapid inactivation of bleach, Do not mix with other cleaners, ammonia, vinegar. This may produce harmful chlorine and or chloramine fumes.
How many ppm of hydroclorous is necessary to kill COVID? And what is the timeframe necessary to kill COVID by hydroclorous? (April 24, 2020 3:14 AM)
How many ppm of hydroclorous is necessary to kill COVID? And what is the timeframe necessary to kill COVID by hydroclorous? Thanks!
Charles F. Heimerdinger (May 15, 2020 7:26 AM)
It is true that a 12.5% NaOCl solution is 125,000 ppm NaOCl w/w and it's specific gravity is 1.20. But the specific gravity of a very dilute solution of of NaOCl is almost 1.00. Since you haven't made the correction for the lower density you would actually get a higher concentration than 1000 ppm; it would be closer to 1200 ppm.
Caroline S Appelhans (April 1, 2020 6:24 PM)
Is it true the bleach solution only has a 4 hour life expectancy ?
Charles F. Heimerdinger (May 15, 2020 6:41 AM)
If you mean 4 hour life expectancy to zero concentration then the answer is no.
Geno (April 18, 2020 2:13 AM)
Hospitals haven’t used bleach in years. To rough on surfaces. To short of a shelf life once diluted. Quaternary ammonium is also very dated product in hospitals, as it has a very long kill time and has been deemed ineffective against cdiff. Peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide are currently used in most hospitals. Fast kill claim, easy on surfaces and awful smell.
peter collins (March 29, 2020 4:07 AM)
Chlorine dioxide is the most effective disinfects and very cheap due to it low ppm required to kill virus
Shawna (March 30, 2020 8:20 AM)
Hi Rod: This is frustrating but just so you know there are many videos on YouTube detailing how to make your own wipes with bleach if you have some at home (must be the disinfecting bleach). I had to resort to doing so myself. Cut a paper towel roll in half and place inside the container you intend to use (some ppl use empty wipe containers they already had, ive seen ppl use air tight pasta containers, I used a tall round container w/ a screw top found at the $1 store. Mix about 1.5 cups of water with 3 TBS of bleach. After placing your paper towel roll in the container, pour the mixture on top of the roll. Let sit for 10 mins with container top on. After 10 mins is up, return to the roll and remove the cardboard center. Pull towels up from the center. Be sure to allow 10 mins after using wipe for disinfecting to occur.
John Bedell (April 4, 2020 7:55 PM)
Ammonia and bleach mixed together produce chlorine gas. I found this out when I was ten years old and became bored with my chemistry set, venturing into Mom's laundry room for experimental new reagents. I drove my mother, little brother and myself out of the house. Never mix household cleansers, except where recommended.
DE Teodoru (April 27, 2020 9:08 PM)
We use 1:10 ammonia in a fine spray. We wear plastic Panchos that we spray with fine mist and let air dry. Fruits and vegetables we rincé in 1:2 ammonia and then in there water baths and then rincé. Taste is good. I fear most people do not cover their heads and carry Corona home. And 6 ft distance is just idiotic. Until the spit test is made reliable and universally available we’ll never know how infectious a situation we are suffering. We have lied to ourself for three months and now are opening up even more stupidly. As a scientist and clinician I can’t believe how stupid medicine has become since physicians have become the flunkies of entrepreneurs, a pejorative French term meaning: »THE TAKER IN THE MIDDLE. »
John Ritchie (April 29, 2020 7:11 AM)
You want to make a 200 mg/L chlorine solution for a no rinse application. Household bleach is approximately 5% sodium hypochlorite. % * 10,000 = mg/L. So household bleach is 50,000 mg/L as chlorine. Using the equation V1* C1 = V2 * C2 to get your dilution. In a 500 mL spray bottle use 4 mL of bleach. Your good to go. I use it on the bottom of my shoes, car, personal items, the mail, hands, etc... in the food industry a 200 ppm chlorine solution is used as a no rinse application final sanitizer. Safety consideration, do not mix bleach with an acid.
Jeff Bodell (March 15, 2020 9:07 PM)
Can glass cleaner with ammonia be effective in killing this virus type. Also, many EPA approved Hospital disinfectants that kill HIV and other Micro organisms be effective ? Thank you.
Michael Webb (March 19, 2020 11:57 AM)
Commercial window cleaner formulations I have been familiar with contain far less than the 60% alcohol currently being recommended for disinfection. Ammonia levels are also pretty low, so I would be very skeptical window cleaners would have much anti-viral activity, even for relatively fragile varieties. OTOH, it seems to me that if a virus is removed from a surface (facilitated by plain soap and water for example) the surface becomes just as noninfectious as if it is 'killed in place'. For my part, if I did not have access to a product claiming anti-viral properties I would resort to a regular cleaning product. That's what I'm doing with my hands' surface- about 12-14 times a day now- which otherwise would just be a waste of time.
Andrew Franz (March 17, 2020 10:00 AM)
Danny (April 2, 2020 7:09 AM)
It's funny you commented about ozone. I use a ozone generator in my personal vehicle And I use an ozone generator in my commercial truck that I drive daily since I am considered an essential employee. From everything I have read ozone will kill the virus. The downfall to Ozone is, you cannot use it if you are In the area that you are generating ozone in. I run a ozone generator in my commercial work truck for one hour with the blower vent running on recirculate. I also run it for one hour in my personal vehicle without the blower running. The work truck can handle running the blower for an hour without the truck actually running, my personal vehicle cannot.
Joe (April 7, 2020 4:26 PM)
Will a ozone generator work that one would use to clean a cpap mask with if you ran it a few times in a sealed vehicle?
Garth (March 18, 2020 6:49 AM)
Like Rod, I also want to know if Windex or other glass cleaners containing ammonia and alcohol kill coronavirus. Everything else is sold out all the time now where I live. Ive been using Windex to clean all surfaces for about a week now. Am i wasting my time? Am i protecting my family? Nobody seems to want to answer this specific question. I don’t care about the EPA’s website and their list or anything else. Just can someone with a scientific background please answer: Does windex kill corona viruses?
Adam (March 20, 2020 5:05 PM)
Lactic acid should do it 0.19% - multi surface has that. Most things are going to kill it, but some may make it stronger (kidding). It all works, the prob is simply that it is contagious and new, so our bodies didn't have previous immunity.
Heather (April 2, 2020 7:52 AM)
Hi Adam,
Do you have some written info on the lactic acid? I would much appreciate a report that states 0.19% of lactic kilsl viruses.
Shirley (April 5, 2020 3:17 PM)
EPA link to list of products believed to kill CORONA VIRUS / COVID19
List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2 | Pesticide Registration | US EPA
Tony Addison (March 22, 2020 2:41 PM)
For Garth & Rod: We have for years wiped kitchen benches down with Windex or a similar cleaner. Doing this will help remove the bacteria, "dirt" and other microorganisms. However, I very much doubt that such spray detergent products can kill viruses, especially on cold surfaces like a benchtop. So we follow up the cleaning with a wipe-down using 70-100% alcohol. I just checked the "contents" tag on a Windex bottle: it's basically just dilute detergent. Be aware that to sanitize, you need to use the alcohol at at least the 65% or so level. High-strength supermarket ammonia solution presumably makes life uncomfortable for microorganisms, as it's indeed biocidal because of its alkalinity, but I note that it's not on EPA's list of disinfectants, maybe(?) because to get it strong enough to actually be effective, you'd probably need to wear a gas mask ?!
Corrie fochler (April 18, 2020 11:42 AM)
Winded also contains “surfactants“ and “solvents” which love to eat lipids so you might get a few chemicals that are effective but nothing that’s been hard tested and presented. The recipe seems kinda secretive though. I usually only clean with windex as well.
John k (May 25, 2020 10:24 PM)
Garth and Rod I wanted to know if windex was an alternative to use everything else sold out.
Lou (March 18, 2020 3:28 PM)
I've carefully read the 11 page listing of cleaners effective against viruses such as Covid 19. The range of ingredients and products listed suggests that ANY commonly available OTC cleaner should be effective, if used according to instructions. The active ingredients on the list are used in all commercial sanitizing cleaners, suggesting that (a) they work, and (b) they're already regulator-approved for such use. So don't worry and fret. Just use your cleaner of choice and relax.
James Lewis (March 18, 2020 3:33 PM)
As a research biophysical chemist, I worry about using either chlorine or ammonia based cleaners indoors to mitigate a lung pathogen. Quaternary ammonium based cleaners seem less likely to irritate the lungs. Overall, let us not make matters worse with the preventive measures we take.
Evelyn (March 30, 2020 2:41 PM)
Can products containing sodium hydroxide ( for example, Mr. Clean) kill the covid19 virus? Just hoping as I have been looking for lysol products for weeks now and can't find any
William L Clay (April 24, 2020 12:38 PM)
The back of my bottle of Mr. Clean says "Mr Clean kills ... the viruses Influenza A2 and Herpes Simplex type 1 ... in 10 minutes." My layman's hunch is that if Mr. Clean kills an influenza virus, it will do the same for COVID-19. But that's just my hunch.
Marlene (May 11, 2020 10:12 PM)
I think your hunch is correct. The real key is that 10 minute time period. Surfaces must be kept wet with the disinfectant for the entire time. In the dentist office we use the spray, wipe, spray method. Spray the item with the disinfectant and wipe it off to remove "dirt." Then spray again, enough to keep the object wet for the appropriate amount of time, in this case 10 minutes. The time will vary depending on which cleaning product you use, but of all the disinfectants we have used in the dentist office over the past 45 years, 10 minutes is the longest any of the products need to work. If I don't know how long to let it sit, I go with 10 minutes.
Debra (May 25, 2020 12:47 PM)
William L. Clay's hunch is actually incorrect. Mr. Clean does not kill Covid. Even Pine Sol does not kill Covid. Their websites state this. I used to think they did, too, but this viris is very tough in some ways. You can find a list of the things that actually do kill Covid-19 from the EPA online. I also found out that Wet Ones do not kill it, either.
Debra (May 25, 2020 12:59 PM)
Actually, Mr. Clean does not kill Covid-19. It also states this online. Pine Sol does kill it, either. It doesn't matter how long you leave it on. There is a list online of the products that actually do kill Covid-19. The list is from the EPA, and for each product that kills it, it tells you how long the contact time should be, such as 3 minutes, 10, etc.. This virus is very different from those other viruses and is very hard to kill unless you have the right products. I even found out that Wet Ones don't even kill it.
Charles Heimerdinger (March 19, 2020 2:05 AM)
One fluid ounce of store-strength chlorine bleach (NaOCl) mixed with one gallon of water will give about a 500 ppm solution of free available chlorine which is then extremely effective at killing bacteria and deactivating viruses on porous surfaces. ADBACs are mild but take longer to act than NaOCl and are much more expensive than NaOCl.

H2O2 is more costly than NaOCl and for those who know how each are manufactured (and I do) it's obvious that H2O2 is not an environmentally "friendly" product, and that's a fact. As an aside, bleach is used in potable water disinfection (and oxidizes H2O2 to H2O and O2, but I digress). None of the other chemicals are suitable for the same purpose, also a fact.

"Every man has a right to his own opinion but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts." -Bernard Baruch-

"A little learning is a dangerous thing." -Alexander Pope-
loyce hairston (March 19, 2020 3:54 PM)
I wish to thank Charles Heimerdingar for the formula to use with common household bleach and water. I am making my own now due to knowing correct formulation to both kill viruses and hopefully not my lungs! THANK YOU!
Karen (March 22, 2020 3:00 PM)
Is that the same ratio of ammonia to water
Lauren (April 1, 2020 1:00 AM)
"but, I digress" lol. Is there going to be a pop quiz on this? Good lord, you can use simple soap and water. Just scrub and voila, exploding virus! Who wants to breathe in Clorox fumes, anyway? I'd need a vent for sure.
John Bedell (April 8, 2020 8:14 PM)
Lauren is correct. So is Bobby (Apr. 4). For more about why soaps and detergents are the best "killers" of SARS-CoV-2, check out this article by a supramolecular chemistry expert:
Cris D. (April 15, 2020 4:09 AM)
Or vodka. Or Everclear...
Joey A (April 20, 2020 2:56 PM)
As long as it is 130 proof or higher. It is also a very expensive way to sanitize.
Barry Millay (May 3, 2020 9:45 AM)
Charles, my observation from reading few reputable journals indicate Hypochlorus Acid is 80 times stronger than Hypoclorite in chorine family, by the way Hypocchlorus Acid generated by electrolysis or electrolyzed water machine with added salt solution, that being said, how many ounces of salt solution to each gallon of water would you gauge per gallon or best estimate? This solution in non toxic since my wife is allergic to most disinfectants.
Charles F. Heimerdinger (May 15, 2020 7:05 AM)
Barry, my apologies for the delay in replying to your question. As I stated in another reply, hypochlorous acid is extremely unstable and for that reason is not available in pure form. At pH 7.5 HOCl (powerful oxidant) and NaOCl (weaker oxidant) exist in 50:50 equilibrium. So at a few hundred ppm concentration in tap water there's more than enough HOCl to disinfect.

NaOCl can be produced in a electrolytic cell without using a separator (diaphragm or membrane). The upper limit in saturated brine solution is advertised to be 0.8% (0.8 grams/liter) or about 8000 ppm. A 1:200 dilution will give you a solution with sufficient disinfecting power to kill almost any kind of bacteria very quickly including such hard-to-kill spores such giardia, cryptosporidium and legionella.
Tara (June 11, 2020 9:37 PM)
What concentration (ppm/minutes) of HOCl would be needed to decontaminate the air and surfaces in a 10’x10’ room without a door?
Michael Trieu (July 24, 2020 7:45 AM)
I happen to own an Ecoloxtech Eco One electrolyzer for this very purpose. Their instructions are to add a gram of relatively pure sodium chloride (no iodide!), a.k.a. kosher salt. Diamond Crystal seems to make the best product. I like how its flake form helps it evenly distribute and dissolve in the container without stirring. Anyway, it generates 1L of about 200PPM free chlorine after two rounds at setting 3 (16 minutes). You can bump the concentration even higher (60PPM/round @ setting 3), but you start getting diminishing returns after 5 rounds for the time you put in. They also sell larger commercial systems that generate larger volumes of HOCl in a more automated manner, but for home use, I'm fine with my Eco One. It can also make potassium hydroxide, a powerful degreasing agent, from potassium carbonate (they give you a decent sized bottle of the stuff in the kit), which is a nice bonus in the kitchen. One other thing to keep in mind is that any chlorine sanitizer will generate chloramine gas as it neutralizes organic contaminants, which is an asthma sensitizer. You must ventilate all rooms you apply this to!
Andrea DiCiesare (March 19, 2020 8:54 PM)
Will 409 multi-purpose kill coronavirus?
mpayne (May 17, 2020 11:32 AM)
I found it on the NY list of effective disinfectants against Covid-19
Francis (March 20, 2020 12:46 PM)
What do you think on killing viruses without uses these chemicals? Perhaps the UV lamp, Infrared Light that goes to 660nm to 850nm deep penetration red light?
Saimir Hoshi (April 9, 2020 11:24 AM)
UV radiation is divided into three bands: UVA, UVB, and UVC. All three bands are classified as a probable human carcinogen.
UVA – Long-wavelength UVA covers the range 315–400 nm. Not significantly filtered by the atmosphere. Approximately 90% of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. UVA is again divided into UVA-I (340 nm - 400 nm) and UVA-II (315 nm - 340 nm).
UVB – Medium-wavelength UVB covers the range 280–315 nm. Approximately 10% of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
UVC – Short-wavelength UVC covers the range 100–280 nm. All solar UVC radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer.
UVC lights are UV germicidal bulbs that emit very short ultraviolet wavelengths from 100 to 280 nanometers that damages the DNA of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. UVC light does this by damaging the nucleic acid in microorganisms so they cannot unzip for replication. This means the organism cannot reproduce and will die. The kill rate of UVC light depends on the specific microorganism you are trying to combat as well as the dosage it receives from the lamp. Dosage is a combination of exposure time and intensity (microwatts per square centimeter).
Tony Addison (March 21, 2020 1:37 PM)
Quarternary ammonium salts like benzyltrialkylylammonium salts are potent biocides. However, as far as I know, it's not proven that they are particularly effective at the low levels (0.2%) found in household cleaners. Presumably, once you get up to the 10%–15% level, they are more useful. Peroxides like hydrogen peroxide or peracetic acid are quite effective; I've recently seen (Philadelphia Inquirer) a recommendation for "oxiclean", which is a percarbonate (peroxycarbonate) salt. However, its mode of action likely relies on the release of hydrogen peroxide, and I've found no information on how fast or slow that is at room temperature. As its solutions have a fair shelf life, that suggests the release is slow, so in the absence of any evidence that it's effective, I'd not bank on it.
Susan Boudreaux (April 3, 2020 6:42 AM)
Minimum of 17 minutes after adding water to it. Thats if memory serves me correctly. What ever container you put it in to wait, make sure you don't cap it up or seal it tight, it will explode once the chemical reaction starts. And then after that, I can't remember how long the surface has to remain wet. But as with any peroxide, its usually somewhere between 5-10 minutes. Hope this helps you.
Chris P (April 12, 2020 8:42 AM)
What I find interesting is that no one is talking about using Quaternary Ammonium tablets in a spray bottle. For instance, I have Steramine that 1 tablet to a gallon. I can make 200 gallons from one $10 table bottle and transfer to a spray bottle. It’s stable. Would like to hear opinions on this.
Ruby (April 25, 2020 9:58 AM)
Scientists please advise if Stearamine tablets will work. What concentration do I need and how long to sit wet on surface. And is this harmful- use gloves and mask always when using?
Joe (May 1, 2020 9:26 AM)
If you search the list in the below link... New York State Registered Disinfectants Based on EPA List, Steramine is on that list.

Each tablet will produce a gallon of 200ppm solution and you really should be using the Steramine mixed at 400-600 ppm from what I was told by the manufacturer.
Joe (April 27, 2020 1:19 AM)
I am using Steramine which is effective against COVID-19. Each tablet will produce a gallon of 200ppm solution and you really should be using the Steramine mixed at 400-600 ppm. Steramine can be picked up for $5.00 a bottle or can be purchased 6 bottles in a case.
Dana (April 30, 2020 1:09 PM)
I was happy to see this question about the Steramine tablets because I stumbled across it on a google search after checking Quaternary Ammonium on the approved EPA list for killing Human Coronavirus. Of course Quaternary Ammonium is on the approved list (we purchased BenzaRid because it matches the Quaternary EPA number), however when I put the Registered EPA number in the list search tool for the Steramine tablets themselves, it does not come up on the approved list. Their labeling also doesn't specify it's effectiveness against human coronavirus. Does anyone have an opinion or comment on that? I would prefer to spend less money on an effective disinfectant next time. Thank you in advance!
Joe (May 1, 2020 9:18 AM)
You could reach out to the EPA, but I would think that Quaternary Ammonium in any form be it liquid or tablet would work. Contact the manufacturer at Toll-Free: (800) 444-8227 or
Kenya (June 22, 2020 2:37 PM)
Thank you Joe for the great information. Has anybody seen information about the Quaternary Ammonium tablets and water solution utilized in an electrostatic sprayer?
Joe (May 1, 2020 9:24 AM)
If you search the list in the below link... New York State Registered Disinfectants Based on EPA List, Steramine is on that list.
Dana (May 1, 2020 5:03 PM)
Thank you Joe! Very helpful indeed!!
Joe (May 2, 2020 5:05 AM)
You are very welcome Dana, I'm glad it was helpful to you! I can also tell you that I received an email from the makers of Steramine, Edwards Councilor, and they assured me that Steramine mixed properly is effective against Covid-19. Each tablet will produce a gallon of 200ppm solution and you really should be using the Steramine mixed at 400-600 ppm from what I was told by the manufacturer.
Dana (May 7, 2020 1:46 PM)
That's really fantastic! I hope others will benefit from this information as well. Have a great day and thank you again for following up. This has all been quite the learning experience!!
Real (June 11, 2020 1:41 PM)
Unfortunately, Steramine is not on the official EPA N list, but it is listed on the NY EPA list. So the main EPA official website does not list Steramine to be effective against Covid19.
What is the difference between the two lists? Which is more accurate? Why the discrepancy?
barry (May 3, 2020 9:54 AM)
what about hypochlorus acid would its kill rate be as slow as Hydrogen Peroxide
Cathy (March 21, 2020 7:52 PM)
Although the term "kill" is used--is that the precise term? I thought viruses were not considered alive.
Bobby (April 4, 2020 10:09 AM)
Discombobulate is the word you are looking for.
John Bedell (April 4, 2020 8:20 PM)
Viruses exist in a gray area between life and non-life, as we commonly perceive those two conditions. Viruses neither metabolize nor respire. Their only lifelike activity is reproduction, when they infect a host cell and commandeer the host's biological mechanisms to produce more virions (virus particles). When we destroy a virion's ability to infect and reproduce, whether we have killed it or not is really a distinction without a difference. For our purpose it is dead, so we might as well call it that.
Alma (April 14, 2020 3:46 AM)
I just wanted to say that a virus seems to be more like a chemical in the atmosphere that is activated to create an infective reaction wh
Greg Rudd (March 22, 2020 11:56 PM)
I’d enjoy more chemistry in such an article. Some
discussion of which compounds have been shown to damage virus lipid capsules and etc. maybe a reference to a review article or something.
Brian Reed (March 23, 2020 3:00 AM)
I personally would prefer tea tree oil or orange oil...there is a great product called EnviroOrange concentrate you mix with water for cleaning/disinfecting.
Michael Webb (March 23, 2020 9:32 AM)
The EnviroOrange website makes claims for cleaning/degreasing, but I don't see a disinfecting claim. As I said before, cleaning is an effective viral countermeasure, especially for hard surfaces, but to make a disinfecting claim a product has to have efficacy data reviewed by the EPA.
Michael Webb (March 23, 2020 9:18 AM)
Just to point out, the EPA registration for disinfectants is intended to limit product claims absent scientific data that the chemistry actually is effective in the product application. So speculations about this our that 'ought to work' should take a back seat (especially in a technical forum) to registered products which presumably have efficacy data.
Lyn (March 23, 2020 4:36 PM)
What about the use of hydrogen peroxide to kill COVID19. What percent solution is required? - more than 3%?, then let it sit and dry. I do have access to 35% food grade stuff. I know the ratio is one h2o2 to 11 water for 3% I'm erring towards more like 10% solution. Any thoughts? Thank you.
Tony A. (March 26, 2020 5:43 PM)
It seems to me that 3% peroxide should be OK. As you say, wipe it on, let it dry and work in the meantime. 35% is lab grade - pretty vicious stuff, which can burn you; 3% much safer to use.
Eboy (March 23, 2020 5:43 PM)
I read that coronavirus can't survive on copper for more than six hours, which means the chemical properties in copper can be used to make a vaccine against covid 19
Jeremy Carr (March 27, 2020 10:56 PM)
Kampf, G. et al. Journal of Hospital Infection, Volume 104, Issue 3, 246 - 251
Tanya B. (March 23, 2020 7:12 PM)
I just want to know if ammonia is safe and effective? Just a “YES” or “NO” would suffice:)
Shawn F (March 25, 2020 3:03 PM)
Tanya B, I do too! I have two jugs of ammonia. Can I use them? And, if with how much water should I dilute it? Can SOMEONE answer this question?
Denise (March 29, 2020 11:16 PM)
Yes I've read a few articles that said 3 % peroxide is good to use. And Dave safe,especially around the kitchen. I have it in a spray bottle, and let it sit for a minute then wipe off. I also use it on Fruits and vegetables that aren't peeled before eating.
Jacqueline (March 25, 2020 2:53 PM)
Alcohol, Hydrogen peroxide (3%-NO higher), bleach (unexpired and properly diluted -as Charles describes) and Quaternary Ammonium are each effective at killing viruses.
Please note that Vinegar, ammonia, tea tree oil, etc are NOT. This is not a moment to be concerned about using ‘natural’ or homemade products- while we remain under threat of Coronavirus it is very important to use what works.
Please note that any surface must be CLEANED first before a disinfectant will be able to work. It is also very important to leave the disinfectant on the surface for as long as directions indicate, or for 10 minutes if using a product that does not have specific directions for disinfecting surfaces (ie alcohol, hydrogen peroxide.). Leaving the product to air dry on the surface is also effective. If you are concerned about having these disinfectants on surfaces you may rinse AFTER the appropriate dwell time, though that is not necessary.
Stay safe!
Tony A. (March 26, 2020 10:19 AM)
I just dug up a paper by Shirai et al. (DOI: 10.1292/jvms.62.85) which reports the effectiveness of various disinfectants against a selection of viruses. The findings suggest that quaternary ammonium salts are very effective against 'enveloped' viruses (corona is an enveloped virus) at even quite low concentrations. They give an example of an enveloped virus's destruction at a 1,000x dilution of a 10% quat! This corresponds to a 0.01% solution. So this is encouraging with respect to household cleaners that indicate something like even a 0.1% - 0.2% quaternary ammonium salt on the label. But make sure it's on the label, and let the spray sit a while.
Judy G. (March 28, 2020 4:19 PM)
Thank you, Tony, this is very helpful. However, for the none-chemists among us, is supermarket Ammonia effective? My bleach is expired, I don't have hydrogen peroxide, and very little alcohol, but I do have a large jug of supermarket ammonia. Can I use that? And at what concentration?
Bo Ingrid Petersen (April 1, 2020 4:32 PM)
Please will some one answer what has been asked before. Is supermarket Ammonia effective?
Aubrey M. (April 1, 2020 4:36 PM)
Thanks for asking Judy. I would also like to know if "quaternary ammonium salts " is contained in supermarket ammonia and does it kill the novel coronavirus.
KEITH CODY (April 5, 2020 2:04 PM)
No. Quaternary Ammonium Salts are different then the liquid Ammonia found at your supermarket. It's been very difficult to find if plain old Ammonia is effective (and at what concentration) against corona and other viruses. Search the list of EPA approved products for "ammonia" produces ZERO results. "Ammonium" gives you a list of products. The EPA only approves "products" not compounds or chemcial solutions. Which sucks.
Debora (March 26, 2020 8:31 AM)
Can I use Oxine (without activator)cleaner, typically used for chicken coop cleaning ?
Tony A. (March 26, 2020 10:04 AM)
I took a look at an oxine manufacturer's website. Apparently, addition of the "activator" leads to active chlorine species, which are microbiocidal. they indicate that chlorine dioxide is generated; that's what was used to kill anthrax spores in the Capitol after 9/11. So I'd say that without the activator the 'Oxine' may not be very effective.
joe (April 10, 2020 11:47 AM)
I just bought Oxine Sanitizer from a company called Bio-Cide. It comes with activator crystals. The person i spoke to on the phone said that it is not on the EPA list for COVID-19, but she seemed confident that it would do the job. any insight on this would be appreciated.
Jennifer (April 22, 2020 11:28 AM)
Oxine was added to the EPA list on April 9th. So yes it is considered effective against COVID.
shabee (March 26, 2020 12:25 PM)
As a precaution to germs in your place or dwelling,I would suggest buying yourself a few plants for oxygen and use a vacuum to help rid your home of nasty air particles by placing the body of the vac outside of your place and use the air nozzle to suck out pathogens from each room individually and simultaniously by placing the nozzle in a window and making it so only the nozzle allows for your air to be sucked through the vacuum.I would say for 20 to 30 minutes at a time throughout the day or night to reduce the effects of germs piling up in your place.
Lobentley (May 29, 2020 2:29 AM)
Or you could get an air purifier(s) with hepa filters and put them in each room if you’d like or the main ones at least and run them continuously. And vacuum the floors and any other soft surfaces. Make sure your vacuum has a hepa filter as well, which they basically all do these days so it grabs on to as many particles as possible and keeps them contained while cleaning and doesn't spew them all over your house.
SarahInLGCalif (March 28, 2020 10:11 PM)
Contact time is an essential part of wet disinfection, but most everyday surfaces and items are difficult to wet, due to their high surface tension. In these cases (for example, using a disinfectant wipe on a mobile phone, where most of the surface that was treated only had 1 out of the required 200 seconds of contact time), how is that item really disinfected? Seems you’d have to leave the saturated cloth on your phone for the recommended contact time to hold the disinfectant in place?
Michael Webb (March 30, 2020 10:12 AM)
I assume the wipes are expected to work by a combination of mechanical removal and antimicrobial mechanisms. Cleaning is an effective countermeasure, but needs a thorough rinse to fully remove infectious agents. Chemical attack is effective, but requires sufficient contact time. Perhaps wipes combine a rinseless mechanical removal while leaving enough chemical residue that between the two they can reduce microbial activity 99.99%- or whatever the technical requirement is to support the product claim.
Michael Webb (March 30, 2020 10:23 AM)
BTW, I'm not sure I understand the apparent focus on cell phones as a transmission vector. Do these get passed around much? I'm really the only one who ever uses or even touches my unit, so it would seem to have a low chance of passing an infection either from me to someone else or vice versa. Yet my wife insisted on treating it with some sort of gizmo that's supposed to irradiate it with UV light and thereby make it 'safer'. Perhaps I'm missing something or my usage habits are atypically exclusive.
Tammy (March 30, 2020 1:22 PM)
Michael Webb, the UV light gizmo will only work if you clean your hands appropriately BEFORE YOU TOUCH YOUR CELL PHONE EVERY SINGLE TIME. Every time you touch an infected doorknob, grocery cart or hard surface and then touch your phone it becomes a source of transmission. So basically, you would have to live by the rule of only touching your face and cell phone AFTER cleaning your hands EVERY SINGLE TIME.
Unfortunately, that can be difficult to do.
Bruce (April 5, 2020 8:08 AM)
"...AFTER cleaning your hands EVERY SINGLE TIME..."

A good habit to cultivate. I carry a spritzer with either 75% ethyl alcohol or 90% isopropyl. I soak my hands, rub and allow them to air dry. Alcohol leaves no residue.
Peter Elizee (March 30, 2020 10:10 AM)
The company i work for produces a quaternary based sanitizer for hospital use effective would it be against covid 19..the ingredients in there are .n-alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride also n-alkyl dimethyl ethyl benzyl ammonium chloride . Would this product be effective on the organism..
Karen (April 29, 2020 7:31 PM)
Same question - would like to know whether Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride (C12-18) actually kill Coronavirus. Can’t find exact match on EPA list. Let me know if you found an answer please.
Kay (May 15, 2020 2:57 PM)
Same question here as well...
Peter Elizee (March 30, 2020 10:12 AM)
Does hydrogen peroxide, oxygenated bleach work effectively in cleaning..
P. Jane Doig (March 30, 2020 11:19 AM)
Would someone please comment on the effectiveness of Mar-V-Cide and Cavicide with regards to COVID-19. Thank you.
Sunaina (June 25, 2020 12:55 AM)
**I am not an expert, just got this from researching online** Mar-V-Cide is not listed on the EPA list of approved disinfectants for COVID-19, though that does not mean Mar-V-Cide is ineffective against COVID-19 (they could have just not gotten to reviewing that product yet). However, other brands that use the same active ingredient (n-ALKYL (50% C14, 40% C12, 10% C16) dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride) are listed, though I cannot be sure that the concentration of the active ingredient is the same as what is in Mar-V-Cide. I decided to just choose something from the EPA-approved list. Here it is if you want to browse:
Clyde Sheffield (March 30, 2020 11:24 AM)
With the situation we are in America regarding the corona virus. We are told that the virus can remain on surfaces for hours or days. It appears that we have some really smart chemical minded people here at this website. I have a question I would like to ask of everyone following this blog.
In the past, every time something or someone has attack America, we took the war to them. We did not go hide in our homes, afraid of any contact with friends and family. We have allowed this virus to destroy our way of life. The life that all our for fathers enjoyed. Our future economy is in question.
Why can't we launch a attack on this virus with chemical cleaning agents like peroxide or Clorox. This could be done by building spray trucks that went around throughout the city, spraying these chemicals on all high use surfaces. Allowed to dry in place there by killing this virus. I know this will not kill everything but it would reduce the curve.
We could have truck mounted spray equipment going throughout the city (several times per day) sprays all high use public areas.
Bruce (April 5, 2020 1:08 PM)
I like that way of thinking. Make life more difficult for the enemy than the enemy does for us. My proposal is to create the United States Spritzer Corps or the state Spritzer Militia - armed with spritzer bottles filled with 80% alcohol and quatrenary ammonium or benzylconium cloride or equivalent. Members go around masked and spray down door knobs and handles, shopping carts, checkout counters, money, merchandise, people's hands, pet paws, etc., everything.
Alyson (March 30, 2020 9:57 PM)
A neighbor gave me some stuff he says has active ingredient AMOSILK. Market name for this quaternary ammonium compound (quay) more specifically 3- (trimethoxysilyl) propyldumethyl octadcyl ammonium chloride added you purified water. Also contains ethyl alcohol and fragrance. Thoughts from anyone that actually knows if this is safe to spray on surfaces and hands as he suggested? Please do not comment if you do not know I am not looking for guesses I can google for that. TIA
Lucina Santiaga (March 31, 2020 4:36 AM)
There is one company in Bangkok, Thailand who introduces their product that can help kill viruses like COVID-19...The product name they call Antinfek 30D. And according to their flyers it is fully licensed by FDA. Maybe you can recheck it might help lessen the case of corona virus around the world. However, no ingredients on their flyers what is this made of. Thank you.
Jitsiri Thanapatra (April 6, 2020 9:43 PM)
They said that this product kills coronavirus on contact, with confirmed test result by USA laboratory. I have checked Antinfek 30D in EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, but can not find this product name in the list.

In Thai FDA, this product has registered under FDA 335/2559. It has registered for anti-bacteria. There is also no active ingredeint information.

Spray on hands and body will last for 12 hours protection! Spray on all surfaces and clothing will last for 7 days protection! THESE ARE WHAT THEY'VE SAID.
Michael Webb (March 31, 2020 10:32 AM)
The answer to many of these questions (for the US market at least) is just a couple clicks away on the EPA website linked in the article above. If you see your product on that list, that's a strong indication it should work on COVID-19 virus (when used as directed). If you don't, then maybe it does and maybe it doesn't. "According to the EPA, these statements are intended to “inform the public about the utility of these products against the emerging pathogen in the most expeditious manner.” Folks who would trust the opinions of faceless commenters (including me) more than 'the guvment's' are really on their own already.
Bruce A. Frank (March 31, 2020 4:23 PM)
But, COVID-19 is easily killed by soap and water. It is not just the action of washing it away, but disrupting the protective fat layer around the virus particle. The soap, by disrupting that layer, actually kills the virus! I have used Windex Glass Cleaner, with its Ammonia-D, for decades to remove grease spatters from stoves and other surfaces. Its emulsification impact on those oils seems perfect to destroy the coating that protects the virus.

Disinfectant wipes and specific sprays, as others here have stated, are in short supply. The grocery stores have run out of the wipes usually provided to wipe the contact surfaces on shopping carts. I want to know if a paper towel drippingly saturated with Windex Glass Cleaner will be effective to wipe down the handles, metal, plastic and painted, of the shopping carts and my hands after I use the pump nozzle at the gas station?
Umar Gidado (April 1, 2020 3:12 AM)
Can I spray Cypermethrin 10% EC in my office and house to disinfect coronavirus. Thanks
Melissa (April 5, 2020 1:49 PM)
I have an O3 generator for my cpap devise for sanitizing the equipment. N95 masks fit nicely into it. Any thoughts on effectiveness?
Adelina Lyster (April 5, 2020 2:38 PM)
What about Formula 409 Multi-surface cleaner (spray), will it help to fight against the COVID-29 in the home? I noticed it was asked before but did not see a reply. Thank you.
Joseph Monte (April 9, 2020 2:53 AM)
I have checked the EPA Reg. No. on 409 Multi Surface Cleaner on the CDC LIST....The number is 5813-73 it's a match with a Clorox cleaner with the same number so i'm guessing it will kill it.I've researched it and some websites say no it doesn't but that don't make sense cause when you go to the CDC website and put the number in it matches
JC (April 9, 2020 2:47 PM)
Look on the 409 bottle for the EPA Reg Number. If the Reg # is listed as 5813-73, which I believe it is, the formulation is the same as Clorox Everest. The EPA website says sometimes the same formulation is sold under different names, but the EPA Reg # is what matters. Active ingredients: n-Alkyl (40% C12, 50% C14, 10% C16) dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride 0.3%. It is on the EPA list as as meeting the criteria for effective use against human coronavirus. Time for contact is 0.5 minutes (leave on for 30 secs before wiping off). If you want to check any other products, get the EPA Reg Number off the bottle and type it into the EPA search box here to see if it's approved.
Shawna Nicholson (April 15, 2020 6:13 AM)
Thank you so much for explaining all that in regards to the 409 Multi Surface Cleaner. I’ve been searching to find answers to see if 409 really does kill the coronavirus, but haven’t found anything helpful... however, I finally did right here! I just wanted to say thank you! :)
Lois Bailey Lindsey (April 19, 2020 2:04 AM)
I spent a few hours researching Formula 409 All Surface Cleaner to use against COVID 19. No success until I happened upon this website. Thank you. I was about to go out shopping for another product.
Veronica (April 6, 2020 5:27 PM)
4/6 i am high risk, 84 yrs old so therefor home bound, no outside contact as per my doctor. my grandsoon putchases
food. what should use to wipe down food in plastic pkg befor opening? Is bleach ok? How long to keep wet? I transfer contents into glass jars for storage.
I thorouughly wash produce in water just as I have done for years.

I am 84 yrs old &high risk. Home bound per doctors orders. My grandson buys my food. Wht should I wipe pkgs down with
befoe I empty into glass jars for storage? is bleach ok? how long to wait befoe handling?
I wah all fresh produce in water just as I always did.

Mickey (April 27, 2020 4:22 AM)
Bleach is effective if diluted. This link to provides the recommended dilution ratio:
1. Please use only unexpired bleach.
2. Diluted bleach must be used within 24 hours, per After that, it will begin to lose its efficacy.
Lucinda zelaya (April 7, 2020 2:07 AM)
Is hydrogen peroxide recommended to kill this virus. I had asked and nobody seems to know. Please advise me. Thank you
Sean Hoffer (April 8, 2020 1:35 AM) yes it is, just let it air dry.
Adrian Muir (April 16, 2020 8:07 AM)
I have tried inhaling 1% hydrogen peroxide as a mouth spray (food grade) when I had a tickley throat and it seemed to work like magic. I have used very dilute peroxide internally on a regular basis as a drink but should not be consumed with an iron rich meal. Some people use standard pharmaceutic peroxide (6%) diluted for internal use, but regular peroxide should not be used on a regular basis because of the preservatives, and other additives. Peroxide is natural to the body and is a product of the immune system to attack pathogens. Because it is a natural substance in the human body it is could potentially be classed as a naturopathic remedy and at the same time an allopathic treatment, however I am not recommending such use, merely sharing what I personally have used it for.
Ravi (April 7, 2020 2:50 PM)
Could any one pls tell Any natural or chemical based product (that kill bacteria or virus such as corona) that can apply to wash hand but doesn't affect body too much if taken orally??
Sean Hoffer (April 8, 2020 1:34 AM)
I use this Chlorhexidine disinfectant. I have it to treat animals and disinfect surfaces
Mike (April 9, 2020 8:16 PM)
50% Liquid Sodium Hydroxide is a super strong base, and will destroy skin in seconds. Great paint stripper, removes carbon and grease from old vehicle parts, and soap is made by mixing it Sodium Hydroxide (Lye is the old school name) with animal fat to make soap.

So a protein, fatty acid virus membrane would dissolve in a water/ Lye, or a water sodium hydroxide mix super fast. Seconds for the 50% stuff. But it will eat paint too, LOL.

Now a cleaner that had sodium hydroxide in the formula mixed with fatty acids, may be only sodium-soap in the final product, or a mix of both.

Depends on the pH, and amount of each. But a strong base like sodium carbonate (Baking Powder at the grocery store as I recall), that is used as the main ingredient in products used to kill mold after floods, is a weaker strong base cousin to Sodium Hydroxide, safer, and may be just as effect given a little more contact time or higher concentration.

A heated solution would work faster. A scrub brush, or old used tooth brush, may help simulate the hand scrubbing done in hand washing when used on surfaces and in tight spots. I use to formulate what was called snake oil products 40 years ago, cleaners, paint strippers, water treatment compounds and so on.

I am a Bio-Chemical Engineer. Also was an Ozone expert 12-35 years ago.

Word is that chelated Zinc kills COVID19 too. Like 25 mg or more of a zinc supplement tablet dissolved in warn water to gargle with. I have used it on soar throats for 35 years and avoided antibiotics doing that.

My mother taught me 55 years ago to use a copper penny and rub it on my eye lids to kill the infections that cause a stye in the eye. Ancients used silver utensils, silver wear because trace silver (or copper or slightly more zinc) kill bacteria, algae, and zinc is being used to keep COVID19 from getting deep lung infections, by gargling with the zinc formula above regularly to limit COVID19 access to the deep part of the lungs, because zinc seems to kill it, and boosts the Immune system as an oral vitamin Mineral supplement.

Bacteria and mammals need trace amounts of zinc, But too much zinc kills bacteria, look at the active ingredient in many dandruff shampoos, it is a chelated organic zinc. The Human supplements use Zinc Gluconate or Zinc carnosine or zinc Picolinate or an amino-acid zinc chelate.

Many chemicals, are deadly at high doses, critical to life ad X dose, and can illness and death if missing in the diet, of mammals or bacteria.
Rgonet (April 10, 2020 12:58 AM)
I have a product called Star San that I use for sanitization in home brewing and it is used in the dairy, brewing, restaurant, and food processing industries. Its active ingredients are Dodecylbenzenesulfonic Acid (15.0%) and Phosphoric Acid (50.0%). It would seem to me that these acids, at the proper strength, would be effective for coronavirus. Does anyone have an educated opinion as to whether these acids would kill coronavirus? Thanks.
Karan (April 10, 2020 2:54 PM)
Can a solution of potassium permangante be used to disinfect surfaces, outer plastic packing for corona virus.
Eduardo Barillas (May 3, 2020 7:56 PM)
I would say yes because it is a strong oxidant, but I would think it's way overkill for this, and might be dangerous for yourself. Try something milder, like 3% hydrogen peroxide.
JAY STRUVE (April 10, 2020 3:58 PM)
Windex has a disinfectant spray that contains L-Lactic Acid - 0.19%. Any info if that works?
sbest (April 17, 2020 10:09 AM)
Yes, per the CDC list attached below Windex Disinfectant Cleaner kills covid-19.

All products on this list meet EPA's criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 regardless of what is shown in this column.
Nelson (April 11, 2020 1:12 AM)
This article didn't really tell me anything I didn't know. But let me ask a question: Is there any type of disinfectant
that kills this virus, that could be swallowed and digested safely?

If I drank Vodka straight every day, it would kill any SARS-CoV-2 that it made contact with, in any part of my body. But what about virus particles that it doesn't make contact with? There could be tens of millions of particles to kill/disable. Thanks.
Daniel M Perrine (April 12, 2020 1:33 PM)
Since viruses aren't really "alive" (they are parasitic molecules that can hijack a living organism's facility for reproduction), we shouldn't say we can "kill" them. "Neutralize" sounds like you could mark your success with pH paper. "Deactivate"or "inactivate" is probably the best term I've seen so far.
James (April 13, 2020 9:45 AM)
Vital Oxide Hospital Disinfectant is listed on the USEPA site to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It also has a "no rinse required on food contact surfaces" making it very user friendly. It won't harm most fabrics and is fragrance free. Great for cleaning kids toys!
Mahendra Shah vapi (April 15, 2020 6:19 AM)
Is chlorine dioxide recommended to kill this covid 19 virus & how much ppm require
dennis (April 23, 2020 9:59 PM)
Why has Hypochlorous Acid not been considered for sanitizing and disinfecting with its proven record in history? Spray it on let it dry. It has many uses! The research is aboundent.
Charles F. Heimerdinger (May 15, 2020 6:46 AM)
Hypochlorous acid is extremely unstable and for that reason is not available in pure form. At pH 7.5 HOCl (powerful oxidant) and NaOCl (weaker oxidant) exist in 50:50 equilibrium. So at a few hundred ppm concentration in tap water there's more than enough HOCl to disinfect.
Margaret Hammond-Green (April 24, 2020 1:43 PM)

Mary (April 26, 2020 2:27 PM)
Will use a disinfectant with dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride be effective in killing covid19?
Shahzad (April 30, 2020 8:14 AM)
Hydrogen peroxide 1% concentrate is quite effective to kill germs as well as coronavirus also..
barry millay (May 3, 2020 10:10 AM)
they say Hypoclorus Acid is 80 times stronger than Clorox or Hypochlorite non toxic strongest disinfectant in chlorine family, used by Japanese to clean their surgical rooms & equipment. please share any comments?
brian q (May 28, 2020 6:54 PM)
Steramine, a quaternary ammonium, is used in the food industries as a last rinse of dishes and plates and it also used in the scuba industry to disinfect scuba gear. Can this be used as a fog in a medical setting. I understand quaternary ammonium is also used to disinfect hospitals.
Leroy looi (June 4, 2020 11:36 AM)
Just wondering can we mix chlorine dioxide (ClO2) with chloroxylenol.. Any pro advise pls? Tqvm
Ernesto Galeano (June 27, 2020 2:06 PM)
Can I Use desinfectant 512 against Corona Virus, and use it with a steam cleaner machine?
William Randall (July 4, 2020 3:18 PM)
Hypochlorous Acid, HOCl, is non-toxic and natural, yet very, very reactive with microbes and more effective in the destruction of germs than bleach, certainly much much more effective than ammonia.

Devices which produce HOCl are available to the public in China, Europe, and other places and are just getting to the U.S. for use as hospital-grade disinfectants. There are a few companies which sell systems like Blue Science Solutions ( and Kirkmayer, but they are mostly for industrial applications. Hopefully soon they will have a model for homes, this would solve a lot of problems!

Either way, NEVER mix bleach with ammonia... not good!

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