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Does Your Cleaner Kill COVID-19? Check This EPA List

April 30, 2020

Any household cleaner containing bleach or at least 70 percent alcohol should kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. If you're unsure your surface disinfectant is effective against the virus, check the newly updated Environmental Protection Agency database known as "List N." (Click here.) This exercise requires a little effort, though, to scan the product's microscopic print for an EPA registration number. These eyes needed assistance from a magnifying glass to read the numbers on our test subject, a spray container of Purell's "Multi Surface Disinfectant." But the search was rewarded with the affirmation that this product, indeed, kills the virus. In this case, it probably wasn't necessary: The label also includes an impossible-to-miss "Kills 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses." Look for “EPA Reg. No.” on the product label with two or three sets of numbers. You won't need all the numbers to search the database. If you don't have an approved cleaner and are unable to buy one at a local store, you can make a disinfectant by adding one-third cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Here are some tips from the EPA about reducing the risk of exposure to coronavirus:

  • Coronaviruses on surfaces and objects naturally die within hours to days. Warmer temperatures and exposure to sunlight will reduce the time the virus survives on surfaces and objects.
  • Normal routine cleaning with soap and water removes germs and dirt from surfaces. It lowers the risk of spreading COVID-19 infection.
  • Store and use disinfectants in a responsible and appropriate manner according to the label.  Do not mix bleach or other cleaning and disinfection products together–this can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in. Keep all disinfectants out of the reach of children.
  • Do not overuse or stockpile disinfectants or other supplies.  This can result in shortages of appropriate products for others to use in critical situations.
  • Always wear gloves appropriate for the chemicals being used when you are cleaning and disinfecting. Additional personal protective equipment (PPE) may be needed based on setting and product.
  • Practice social distancing, wear facial coverings, and follow proper prevention hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently and using alcohol-based (at least 60 percent alcohol) hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
Not feeling well? Call your healthcare provider for guidance and try to avoid going directly to an emergency department or urgent care center, as this could increase the chances of the disease spreading. Need to see your doctor? New Patient? For more information about Hartford HealthCare virtual health visits, click here. Click here to schedule a virtual visit with a Hartford HealthCare-GoHealth Urgent care doctor. Stay with Hartford HealthCare for everything you need to know about the coronavirus threat. Click here for information updated daily. Questions? Call our 24-hour hotline (860.972.8100 or, toll-free, 833.621.0600).  Get text alerts by texting 31996 with COVID19 in the message field.