Lysol, Clorox, Purell—What will disinfect the coronavirus? EPA releases a list.

The CDC explains that COVID-19, the novel coronavirus, is most often spread by close person-to-person contact (within 6 feet) by "respiratory droplets". You can check out their advice for prevention here, which involves social distancing and hand-washing

However, there is an additional precaution you can take. Current evidence suggests that the coronavirus can contaminate surfaces for days—one study said as long as 9 days. Though there haven't been any documented cases of a person being infected with coronavirus by a contaminated surface, the CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched surfaces during this time.

EPA Recommended Cleaners

The US Environmental Protection Agency has officially approved a list (pdf) of products for coronavirus-killing. On that list were several easy-to-get household cleaners. A couple of standouts:

  • Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach
  • Clorox Disinfection Bathroom Cleaner
  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner
  • Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
  • OxyCide Daily Disinfectant Cleaner
  • Peak Disinfectant Wipes
  • Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
  • Sani-Cloth Prime Germicidal Disposable Wipe

It's important to note, the EPA says, that products are sold under different names and labels sometimes. You can double-check you've got an approved product by checking its label for the EPA Registration Number and cross-referencing that with the EPA list.

A second note is to check how to use your disinfecting product. Each might have a different "contact time" for proper cleaning.

The Good News

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, which means they wear some pieces of their host's cells and important proteins right on their sleeves. According to the EPA, this makes them "one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product".

And according to this study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection, increased temperatures of 30º to 40º Celsius (that's 86º to 104º Fahrenheit) lowered how long the virus could persist on a surface. But they also concluded that bleach kills the virus on a surface within a minute.

What frequently-touched surfaces do you think need washing? I just realized, I should probably wipe down my phone ...

What else? Comment below!