Protecting Against Coronavirus
Coronavirus is a large family of viruses that causes illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, better known as SARs.
You might see coronavirus already listed on a cleaning product’s label. But the coronavirus referenced on that label is different than the coronavirus spreading now. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of products that can kill COVID-19.
Disinfectants Can Kill Coronavirus
Coronavirus is one of the easiest classes of viruses to kill. Certain EPA-approved disinfectants are effective in killing them.
The EPA released a list of products that can kill even tougher viruses than COVID-19 (List N). These products should therefore be effective against COVID-19. Always read the label to make sure the products you choose are the right type for what you are disinfecting.
Follow the steps below to know if the product you want to use is effective against COVID-19:
1. Check the EPA Reg. No. on the product’s label, usually on the back toward the bottom.
2. Compare the EPA Reg. No. on the product’s label with the EPA registration number on List N.
3. If the EPA Reg. No. on the product’s label matches the EPA registration number on List N, the product can be used to kill and stop the spread of COVID-19.
4. Products may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same first two sets of EPA registration numbers, they are related products. For example, if EPA Reg. No. 123-45 is on List N, you can buy EPA Reg. No. 123-45-678 and use the same contact time directions according to List N.
Definitive scientific confirmation that a product can protect against the new strain can only come once it’s been tested on the strain.
In the meantime, manufacturers are stepping up production of disinfectants to aid the response to this public health crisis.
How to Prepare to Fight Coronavirus
Take preventative actions, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
- Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
For information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.
For information specific to healthcare, see CDC’s Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings.
To make a plan of action for your home and family, start with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Interim Guidance: Get Your Household Ready for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Clean Your Home If You Think You Have Coronavirus
Clean and disinfect things that are touched frequently such as doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, cell phones, toilets, faucets, sinks and tables.
The best place to learn how to prepare, clean and disinfect your home for coronavirus is the CDC. Household members should follow the CDC home care guidance when interacting with persons with suspected or confirmed the new coronavirus.
Closely monitor the news and follow the advice from the Centers for Disease Control and other government agencies.
Clean AND Disinfect
The best way to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus is to clean AND disinfect.
Disinfecting with products that are registered with the EPA to kill bacteria and viruses will significantly lower the risk of spreading illnesses.
Reading the label to make sure that you are using a disinfectant correctly is an important step in lowering risk.
The use of surface disinfectants will stop the chain of transmission and reduce the spread of the virus to others.
For more detailed recommendations about how to clean and disinfect if you think you or someone in your home might have the virus, read the CDC Interim Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations for U.S. Households with Suspected or Confirmed Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).