This herb-derived ingredient disinfects household surfaces without the harsh smell of bleach.

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You already know how important it is to sanitize your home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, but until recently that's meant using bleach. Recently, however, the the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added three household cleaners containing the ingredient "thymol" to their list of approved coronavirus-killing products: Cleanwell Botanical Disinfectant All Purpose Cleaner; Cleanwell Botanical Disinfectant Wipes; and Sol-U-Guard Botanical disinfectant.

Thymol comes from the oil of various herbs including basil and thyme, a naturally anti-microbial botanical. Because this plant-based component breaks down quickly, it's less harmful to the environment than other chemical cleaners. Plus, the botanical oil kills germs and bacteria without strong chemicals or the harsh smell of bleach.

Each of Cleanwell's thymol cleaning products contains a 0.05% concentration of thymol and is designed to kill 99.9% of germs, bacteria, and viruses. They're also alcohol-free, non-toxic, and safe for food surfaces.

You can find these products in person at many health food stores, such as Natural Grocers or Fresh Thyme, or buy them online through Thrive Market, which requires a membership for purchase. Although both Cleanwell disinfectant products appear to be currently out of stock online, you can request to be notified when they become available again.

Sol-U-Guard's disinfectant combines thyme oil and citric acid to kill household germs. The product is sold by Melaleuca, an online wellness store that requires a log-in for purchase. The concentrated cleaner should be diluted with equal parts water and poured into a spray bottle (sold separately) before use.

Seventh Generation disinfectant products, which are manufactured by Cleanwell, also use thymol as the active ingredient. Although these products are not directly included in the EPA's list, they contain a similar formula as approved Cleanwell disinfectants and are likewise effective against coronavirus.

If you're running out of Clorox wipes or can't stand the smell of bleach, look for EPA-approved cleaners containing thymol as the active ingredient to naturally disinfect your home.

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