The Best Disinfectants Approved by the EPA to Kill the Coronavirus
From viruses to bacteria, our lives are filled with exposure to germs. While some of these germs are relatively harmless to people, others, like the novel coronavirus (and COVID-19, the disease it causes that's currently spreading across the globe), can put certain demographics at serious risk. Luckily, there's an easy way to completely kill germs in your home: by using the best disinfectants.
Disinfectants differentiate themselves from other cleaning products by killing germs with chemicals rather than removing them. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), disinfectants should be used on surfaces that have already been cleaned of dirt and grime—especially high-touch surfaces in common household areas—to prevent the spread of diseases.
However, not every disinfectant is made the same. To account for discrepancies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues registered lists of antimicrobial products effective against common pathogens, including one released on March 5 with 300 cleaning products that can kill the coronavirus. The products received the EPA's stamp of approval based on the agency's Emerging Viral Pathogen program, which requires manufacturers to prove their products are effective against viruses that are even harder to kill than SARS-CoV-2.
Unfortunately, many cleaning products are in high demand right now between flu season, allergies, and the coronavirus outbreak. To save you time hunting down your own supply, we've collected the best disinfectants that are still available to shop online and EPA-registered to kill the coronavirus.
Best Bleach: Clorox Disinfecting Bleach
You can't go wrong with this household name. The phosphate-free bleach kills 99.9% of household germs and bacteria to keep your house free of viruses. Just add half a cup of bleach to a gallon of water to create a disinfecting solution for hard surfaces. Once you've brewed up the perfect mix, be sure to leave it on for at least 5 minutes for total clean.
Shop Now: Clorox Disinfection Bleach, $7, target.com.
Best Multipurpose: Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner
This all-purpose cleanser can be used around your home to disinfect high-traffic surfaces like floors and countertops and remove 99.9% of bacteria. Unlike other products, the best-seller also tackles grease, grime, mold, and mildew for a visible clean. It's packed with fresh fragrances like lavender and lemon to ensure your home smells amazing, too. Plus, it's still effective when diluted, so just one 40-ounce bottle goes a long way.
Shop Now: Lysol Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner, $15, amazon.com.
Best Toilet Cleaner: Clorox Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach
Instead of dripping into the toilet, this unique gel formula clings to the side of the bowl to tackle stains and kill 99.9% of bacteria with bleach. It's powered with a special deep-cleaning nozzle that evenly dispenses the product throughout your porcelain throne. You just have to pour, brush, and flush—and don't worry, the non-abrasive cleaner is safe for septic tanks.
Best for Pets: Clorox Pet Solutions Stain & Odor Remover
You'll have better luck getting your hands on this pet-marketed stain remover than traditional disinfectant. Its ready-to-use formula can be directly sprayed on carpets, floors, furniture, and more to eliminate odors, stains, and germs. And because it's safe for your furry four-legged friends, you'll feel good about using it around your home, too. Plus, its "smart tube" technology guarantees you'll get to use every last drop on both hard and soft surfaces.
Shop Now: Clorox Pet Solutions Stain & Odor Remover, $7, petco.com.
The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDC, WHO, and their local public health department as resources.