Effective disinfectant products to use against COVID-19

On March 13, 2020 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its expanded list, List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, of disinfectant products that have qualified for the use against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.  The product list has also been updated to include the product’s active ingredient and the amount of time the surface should remain wet to be effective against the given pathogen.  Recently, the EPA has approved two surface disinfectants products, Lysol Disinfectant Spray (EPA Reg No. 777-99) and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist (EPA Reg No. 777-127), based on laboratory testing that show the products are effective against SARS-CoV-2.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit, cleaning products like sanitizers and disinfectants have become a part of people’s daily lives.  Although, sanitizers and disinfectants are commonly referred to interchangeably, the two types of products are actually different, and should be used in different situations.  The main differences between sanitizers and disinfectants are as follows:

  • Sanitizers reduce the number of germs on surfaces or objects. This may not kill the germs but it can still help prevent the spread of illness.
  • Disinfectants kill germs on hard, non-porous surfaces or objects.
  • Sanitizing solutions are not as strong as disinfecting solutions.

As the EPA continues working to ensure that American families, communities, businesses, hospitals, and others are aware of and have access to effective surface disinfectant products to use against COVID-19, the EPA has established six steps for safe and effective disinfectant use:

  1. Check that the product is EPA-approved – Find the EPA registration number on the product. Then, check to see if it is on EPA’s list of approved disinfectants (List N).
  2. Read the directions – Follow the product’s directions. Check “use sites” and “surface types” to see where you can use the product.  Read the “precautionary statements.”
  3. Pre-clean the surface – Make sure to wash the surface with soap and water if the directions mention pre-cleaning or if the surface is visibly dirty.
  4. Follow the contact time – You can find the contact time in the directions. The surface should remain wet the whole time to ensure the product is effective.  We find this to be the step not followed most often.
  5. Wear gloves and wash your hands – For disposable gloves, discard them after each cleaning. For reusable gloves, dedicate a pair to disinfecting COVID-19.  Wash your hands after removing the gloves.
  6. Lock it up – Keep lids tightly closed and store out of reach of children.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend individuals to wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers containing at least 60% alcohol are a convenient alternative when hand washing with soap and water is not available.

Sanitizers and disinfectants are only one aspect of maintaining the health and wellness of the public.  The Cohen Group can assist with any questions you may have.