4 Coronavirus Disinfectants That Really Work
If you’re worried about the best (scientifically-proven) ways to kill coronavirus, then here are 4 coronavirus disinfectants that really work.
All the methods in this post are approved by the CDC and/or EPA.
Let’s get started.
First things first: before you start disinfecting, the CDC recommends cleaning a surface area with soap and water.
Because viruses are tiny. They can hide underneath dirt that’s on the surface, which can protect them from the disinfectant.
That’s why soap comes first: to remove dirt.
And also because soap itself can kill coronavirus.
According to the American Chemical Society, soap is a great way to kill the coronavirus because it breaks down fats.
A coronavirus’s exterior contains fat, so once it’s covered and infiltrated by soap it begins to disintegrate and quickly falls apart.
Here’s a video that demonstrates this process when washing hands with soap:
Soap doesn’t just kill coronavirus on hands; it also works on surfaces.
Any soap will do, but we recommend this one because it’s all-natural and keeps your hands soft.
The CDC affirms that disinfecting surfaces with alcohol will kill coronavirus, but you have to make sure the disinfectant contains between 60 and 80% alcohol.
So, your favorite potent potable doesn’t cut it.
The most common alcohol-based disinfectant is isopropyl alcohol (like this one), which has a 70% alcohol content.
The 70% concentration might be sold out due to the high demand during the pandemic, but if you are able to find 99% isopropyl alcohol (such as this one), you can McGuyver it into a 70% solution.
Mix 7 parts 99% isopropyl alcohol with 3 parts filtered water and you’re all set.
Apply the 70% alcohol concoction to any surface you want to sanitize and let it sit for at least 30 seconds to kill coronavirus.
Why not just use the 99% alcohol solution as it is, without diluting it with water? The alcohol will just evaporate before it can do a thorough job, and the virus may survive.
If you do use isopropyl alcohol to kill the novel coronavirus, be safe.
Alcohol is highly flammable, so keep it well away from flames or sparks.
Never, ever ingest isopropyl alcohol because it is poisonous. Keep it out of the reach of children, too.
Take care not to breathe in the fumes, because those too are dangerous. Breathing them in causes the isopropyl alcohol to enter your respiratory system; from there, it enters your blood stream and, consequently, your brain.
So please, when you’re using isopropyl alcohol, keep the room well ventilated by opening windows to avoid a high alcohol concentration in the air.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide
The EPA confirmed that hydrogen peroxide is another disinfectant that works great for sanitizing surfaces during the coronavirus crisis.
Concentration should be at about 3% (that’s what most stores offer anyway), but 0.5% should also work.
Leave the hydrogen peroxide on the surface for at least one minute before wiping it clean (you can order a bottle right here).
Keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent that has bleaching properties. If you’re not sure whether hydrogen peroxide might change the color of a particular surface, test it on a hidden area before using it widely.
While hydrogen peroxide is generally safe to use in household cleaning, take care not to swallow it. It can cause upset stomach and vomiting.
Bleach is a harsh cleaner that’s certainly effective against coronavirus (you can order bleach here).
But while bleach is powerful at killing this dangerous virus, bleach itself is quite dangerous to all life forms, including humans.
We’ve written an entire post devoted to the hazard of bleach, but to give you a quick recap, here’s what to watch out for:
1. Even a small splash of bleach that lands in your eye can cause a chemical burn—creating blurry vision, pain, redness, and swelling, perhaps even causing permanent damage. That’s why wearing eye protection is so important.
2. Bleach is a dangerous indoor air pollutant. A Harvard study revealed that using bleach just once a week increases the probability of developing lung disease by a banging 32%. Therefore, always wear a face mask (like this one).
3. Bleach burns your skin. Due to its high alkalinity (pH of 12.5), bleach rapidly dissolves the oils and dead cells on your skin. That’s why bleach causes significant skin burns. Always wear rubber gloves (like these) when using bleach.
And here’s how the CDC recommends you apply bleach to kill the novel coronavirus:
1. Check the expiration date to ensure the bleach hasn’t expired (order some new bleach here).
2. Open up the windows to allow for proper ventilation while cleaning with bleach.
3. Make sure you wear protective gear (face mask, rubber gloves, and a face shield).
4. Mix 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
5. Never mix bleach with any other cleaners to prevent dangerous chemical reactions. (Mixing bleach and ammonia, for example, releases deadly fumes).
6. Apply the bleach mixture to the surface and let it sit for at least one minute.
7. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth and water.
Bleach is an extremely harsh chemical, however. As such, there are several types of materials (ranging from fabric to tile grout) that you should not clean with it, because over time, bleach causes these materials to degrade and eventually fall apart.
Here’s a more detailed post on handling bleach properly when cleaning.
Can surfaces lead to coronavirus infections?
The answer is: probably it is possible, but the CDC hasn’t recorded any surface-to-person infections yet.
The main risk of infection comes from droplets, which come from people.
With that being said, technically it is possible for the virus to remain infectious for hours (cardboard and copper) or even days on surfaces (plastic and stainless steel).
But getting infected with the coronavirus requires being exposed to a large enough “dose” of coronavirus cells.
As far as scientist know so far, the dose of exposure appears to play a large role in whether a person who is exposed to the coronavirus becomes infected.
How hard is it to kill coronavirus?
The good news is that the virus is actually quite fragile.
Even if you don’t have harsh chemical cleaners at home, you can disinfect surfaces with some good ol' soap, water, and elbow grease.
That way, both the chemical reaction of the soap and the mechanical action of the rubbing will attack the virus’s protective outer layer, causing it to die.
When should you use coronavirus disinfectants?
If someone in your household is infected with the coronavirus, it’s definitely time to take cleaning seriously.
In that case, every area that is used frequently should be disinfected three times a day.
Place special focus on the kitchen and bathroom.
Make sure you clean faucets, sinks, doorknobs, and any other handles that someone might touch.
And there’s more.
How long can the virus survive on a surface?
Some surfaces allow coronavirus to survive longer than others.
A study showed that the virus was still infectious after 72 hours on plastic and 48 hours on stainless steel.
The virus was also viable on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on copper for just 4 hours.
Even though cloth wasn’t included in the study, most virus experts believe absorbent fabric is more likely to dry out the virus rather fast, causing it to die.
That’s exactly what a different study discovered regarding an earlier SARS virus, which could not survive longer than 24 hours on cotton.
To remove coronavirus from clothes, washing them with laundry detergent works well since the fat-dissolving properties in detergent cause coronavirus to disintegrate and die. (We recommend this detergent).
Now you know about coronavirus disinfectants
One more thing before you go.
In case you’ve read about research that detected coronavirus on surfaces after 17 days, here’s the crucial detail from that study that often gets left out.
“Detected” means that they found the dead remains of the coronavirus.
The CDC stresses that at that point, the virus isn’t infectious anymore, meaning you won’t get sick.
And if you follow the advice in this post and use one of the recommended disinfectants to clean surfaces regularly, surface-to-person infections are unlikely.
Keep cleaning, and stay safe!
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