Which Cleaners Work to Kill the Coronavirus and Which Don’t
The coronavirus causing COVID-19 is a nasty bug, but like other members of the coronavirus family, it’s no match for good disinfecting products, health experts say.
There are many bad things about the coronavirus, but there is one good thing: It is not very hardy. Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations have weighed in with advice on the products that can help protect us — and our homes — against the coronavirus.
Here’s what you need to know about what will and won’t work against the coronavirus — according to experts.
4 Cleaners that are Effective at Killing the Coronavirus
Soap and Water
It’s not fancy, but soap and water work. The soap removes the viral particles that have attached themselves to surfaces — whether it’s your hands, face or countertops — and suspends them in the water, so they can be washed away.
Most of the cleaning products we call soap are actually detergents that not only remove the germs from surfaces but also kill them. Discard the towel or leave it in a bowl of soapy water for a while to destroy any virus particles that may have survived.
Tip: When buying soap, you don’t need any kind of special “disinfectant” soap. Regular soap or bar of soap works fine.
Bleach is very effective at killing the coronavirus, as well as virtually every other germ on the face of the planet. The only problem is, it’s stinky, it’s hard to use and it can damage what you’re trying to clean.
To protect your skin, you should wear gloves when using bleach — and don’t mix the bleach with anything but water. Here’s the CDC formula for making a diluted bleach solution: Use 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach in one gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach in one quart of water.
Tip: use gloves when handling bleach products to avoid skin exposure.
The active ingredient in surface wipes is an antiseptic – usually benzalkonium chloride. The wipes work by physically removing germs through the pressure you apply when you use them, and the germs then attach to the wipe.
They also leave a layer of the antiseptic on the surface that works to kill germs. The antiseptic works well on bacteria as well as on coronaviruses that infect mice and dogs – but it seems to make no difference to the spread of human coronavirus.
Rubbing alcohol products that are at least 70 percent of alcohol will kill the coronavirus with less potential for damage than bleach. When using rubbing alcohol, don’t dilute it. Although rubbing alcohol is safe for all surfaces, it can discolor some plastics.
What Not To Use Against Coronavirus
There are widely circulated recipes on the internet using vodka to combat the coronavirus. Despite what you may have seen on social media, vodka is not effective at sanitizing, nor are any other types of distilled spirits.
Many people clean with vinegar. It’s cheap and natural. Cleaning recommendations are easy to find online, but there is no scientific evidence that they are effective against coronavirus.
Tea Tree Oil
Although there is preliminary research that suggests tea tree oil may affect the herpes simplex virus, there is no evidence that it can kill coronaviruses.
Should you consider making your own hand sanitizer?
It’s easy to go online and find advice about how to make your own hand sanitizer. So, is this a good idea? Experts advise against it. The thing is you might end up putting the ingredients in the wrong ratio, which may cause more harm than any good.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are not as effective when our hands are visibly dirty or greasy. That’s why it’s important to wash them with soap and water. Please share this with your community as there is a lot of misinformation going around and using ineffective homemade products could put many families at risk.