Kill the claims, Control the virus

Lysol, Clorox and other household disinfectants widely tout their ability to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses. Included in that 99.9% is the human coronavirus. It’s listed as a disease the product can disinfect from surfaces among others.

That brings on the question: Will it work on the coronavirus that’s spreading around the world?

The answer is complicated.

The US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has some guidance: The disinfectants, at this time, are thought to be effective at killing the novel coronavirus. But as tests have yet to confirm this, its ability to kill the novel coronavirus has not been scientifically proven.

While the risk of getting novel coronavirus in the US remains low, the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) expected to see “community spread” of the virus in America.


The novel coronavirus, the new kid on the block

The novel coronavirus is a new virus. But the human coronaviruses in general are not new. The novel coronavirus just simply the most recent strain to be identified. At this time there are no vaccines or treatments that specifically target it.

Under the EPA’s guidance though, since Lysol, Clorox and other disinfectants have been proven to effectively kill other human coronaviruses, users can safely use the wipes and sprays to disinfect surfaces in areas where the novel coronavirus is suspected (see this chart for Clorox Kill Claims and Contact Times).

With that said these wipes and sprays are disinfectants designed for hard surfaces, not for body parts. For hands you should always consider hand sanitizers.

So what can you do?

At this time you should not panic about contracting the novel coronavirus within the US but if you are concerned, it is recommended to follow the same general practices you would if you were trying to avoid the common cold that you can catch at this time of the year: Scrub hands clean with soap and water, wipe down shared work spaces with disinfectant wipes and cover coughs and sneezes.

Here's what else you should know: Whether you use wipes or spray, always wipe in one direction to avoid recontaminating the surface as you're wiping also the surface must stay wet with the disinfectant long enough to kill the bugs. All these basic tasks are effective against all strains of the flu.