Using disinfectants to control the COVID-19 virus
Topic Fact Sheet
This guidance is for the public and professionals to control the COVID-19 virus on surfaces. The coronavirus named "SARS-CoV-2" is the cause of "COVID-19" in people.
This information applies to sprays, surface wipes, and other liquids. You may see them called "antimicrobials",
"disinfectants", or "biocides" on product labels.
Antimicrobial Products List
There are currently no EPA-registered disinfectants that specifically include the SARS-CoV-2 virus on the product label. Refer to
the following list from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for products that control the virus:
Using products effectively:
- To kill the virus, the surface must stay wet for the entire time on the label. Look for "contact time" or "dwell time".
- Surface wipes can dry out during use. They must remain wet to be effective.
- Each product has only been shown to work where the label says it can be used. Look for "use sites" on the label.
- Disinfectants may not work on all surfaces. Follow the label carefully. Examples of surface types are listed in Table 1 below.
- "Cleaning" wipes do not kill viruses. They do not make claims to disinfect and are not registered by the U.S. EPA.
|Table 1. Porosity of common household materials1,2,3,4
Some sealed countertops
Consider these steps to reduce your risk when using disinfectants:
- To avoid chemical exposure when using disinfectants, follow the label's "precautionary statements". If no label guidance is
provided, consider wearing gloves, eye protection, shoes with socks, and long sleeves/pants.
- Keep children, pets, and other people away during the application until the product is dry and there is no odor.
- Open windows and use fans to ventilate. Step away from odors if they become too strong.
- Wash your hands after using any disinfectant, including surface wipes.
- Keep lids tightly closed when not in use. Spills and accidents are more likely to happen when containers are open.
- Do not allow children to use disinfectant wipes. Keep cleaners and disinfectants out of reach from children and pets.
- Throw away disposable items like gloves and masks after use. They cannot be cleaned.
- Do not use disinfectant wipes to clean hands or as baby wipes.
- Guidance to Registrants: Process for Making Claims Against Emerging Viral Pathogens not on EPA-Registered Disinfectant Labels - U.S. EPA
- Interim guidance for environmental cleaning in non-healthcare facilitates exposed to SARS-CoV-2 – European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
- Mysz, A.; Martinez, J. Indoor Carbaryl Dust Cleanup; EPA Region 5: Chicago, IL, 2011.
- Emergency or Incident Response. National Pesticide Applicator Certification Core Manual; National Association of State Departments of Agriculture Research Foundation: Arlington, VA, 2014, pp 144–145.
- Johnson, M. Letter to Steve Renninger, On-Scene Coordinator, US EPA: Documentation for Previous Verbal Consultations that ATSDR Provided to the US EPA and the Cincinnati Department of Health Regarding
Excessive Spray of Malathion in Several Residences; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry: Chicago, IL, 2011.
- OSHA Fact Sheet: Mold Hazards during Disaster Cleanup; U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration: Washington, DC, 2013.
Last updated March 05, 2020