Amid an increasing number of studies showing that the novel coronavirus can survive on surfaces for hours or even days, people are naturally wondering which disinfectants are the best for killing the contagion.
One particular study that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered that the virus was detectable for up to twenty-four hours on cardboard and seventy-two hours on plastic and stainless steel. That’s enough to make many parents and senior citizens worry.
Moreover, before diving in and using any disinfectant that might be sitting in the back corner of your cabinet, be aware that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported over the summer that more than one-third of Americans have misused cleaners and disinfectants in their efforts to prevent coronavirus infections.
Several of the commonly reported “high-risk” practices were washing foods with bleach, using household cleaning or disinfectant products on bare skin, and intentionally inhaling or ingesting these products.
“These practices pose a risk of severe tissue damage and corrosive injury and should be strictly avoided,” the CDC researchers wrote in the report.
More specifically, the agency found that 4 percent of respondents consumed or gargled diluted bleach solutions, soapy water, and other disinfectants. Nearly 20 percent said they washed fruits and vegetables with bleach, and about the same percentage used household disinfectants on their skin. Overall, about 40 percent of respondents reported using at least one method not recommended by the CDC.
Know that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continually updates an exhaustive list of specific products that can do the job in eliminating the virus—but here are five top options to consider right now.
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
These wipes can kill the novel coronavirus on your home’s hard surfaces, such as countertops, bathroom fixtures, doorknobs, light switches, tile, and some wood floors. However, don’t try these wipes on fabric and other soft materials, as they can stain or make them fade.
Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner and Bleach
This particular product is known to have the ability to eliminate coronavirus in one minute on hard surfaces, such as sinks, faucets, toilets, tile, and synthetic countertops. Like the disinfecting wipes, try not to use this on fabrics.
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes
These EPA-approved wipes are great for disinfecting hard surfaces. They utilize the same non-bleach disinfectant as the Clorox version but take a bit longer to take full effect—ten minutes versus four.
Lysol Disinfectant Spray
This spray taps into the power of quaternary ammonium (quats) instead of bleach. It does a fine job on hard surfaces and most fabrics—and it’s considered gentler on skin than bleach.
Clorox Disinfecting Bleach
Clorox recommends a half cup of bleach per gallon of water to make a disinfectant solution that can eliminate viruses. However, know that it can damage fabrics and produce fumes that can irritate mucous membranes. Always wear gloves and have your room well-ventilated.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Minneapolis-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.