The novel coronavirus has made its way to American shores and people across the country are looking for ways to stay healthy. Disease control officials are advising citizens to keep calm and focus on precautionary hygiene measures, like washing your hands. Is that, along with staying home, enough?
Believe it or not, cleanliness is actually one of the best lines of defense we have against the virus. Despite rampant misinformation on the disease’s power, plenty of soaps and disinfectants can kill the virus if used correctly. Tap or click to see the fake virus stories spreading online.
Now that we know soap and disinfectants will work against the virus, a bigger question emerges: Which ones should you stock up on? While we don’t advise panic-buying, the EPA has released a list of the most effective disinfecting chemicals you can use against the COVID-19 virus.
EPA publishes a list of potent ammunition against coronavirus
The Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of disinfecting chemicals and products that have been verified to be effective against SARS-CoV2.
Because viruses are unique kinds of microorganisms, not all antibacterial products will have the same degree of effectiveness; however, the soaps and cleaners on this list are known to dissolve the virus’s “envelope,” or outer coating.
In a spot of good news, the EPA states enveloped viruses like SARS-CoV2 are among the easiest to kill using the products on the list. This is partially because the virus envelopes are composed of lipids, which are fatty, oily types of compounds.
Just how you can wash grease from pans, you can scrub away the virus’s shell with vigorous, soapy handwashing.
Notable names on the list include the following widely available cleaning products:
- Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
- Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Disinfecting Spray
- Lysol brand Heavy-Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate
- Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
- Lysol brand Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner
- Purell Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes
- Sani-Prime Germicidal Spray
This is only a partial list. For the complete, searchable list, visit the EPA’s website. Enter the first two sets of the product’s EPA registration number in the search bar. You can also search by keyword or product name.
The CDC website lists steps for cleaning and disinfecting, including extra steps if someone in your household is sick. If all you have on hand is bleach, here’s what the CDC recommends.
- Mix 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water OR
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water
How can I use these to protect myself? Is there anything else I can do?
Right now, your biggest concern will be protecting your mouth, nose and eyes from coming into contact with the virus — especially important if you or anyone in your home has a compromised immune system.
This is why handwashing is highly encouraged, as people frequently touch their faces and eyes without realizing it. If your hands are clean and you can avoid touching your face, you’re far less likely to let the virus into your body.
It’s also worth disinfecting surfaces you frequently touch. Items like your phone come into contact with your hands, which come into contact with your environment.
Add that to the fact that you frequently put your phone up to your face and you have a recipe for all kinds of bacteria to infect you. Tap or click to find out how to properly clean your smartphone.
Your phone isn’t the only magnet for germs, though. Here are five often-overlooked things you need to sanitize, including your wallet and computer keyboard.
Taking precautions is critical, and the best thing you can do is stay informed and use your best judgment. Avoid scaremongering and panic-buying, but be prepared to spend time keeping yourself extra hygienic and away from large crowds until the epidemic wanes.
Additionally, you can follow the updated spread of the disease with this digital map from Johns Hopkins University. Tap or click here to follow the spread of COVID-19 with this real-time resource.
When it comes to infectious diseases, it’s important to put aside fears and to do our parts in preventing the spread of germs. Not only are we protecting ourselves from diseases, but we’re protecting the most vulnerable among us. That’s something worth fighting for.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have regarding a medical condition, advice, or health objectives.