EPA Approved Effective Surface Disinfectants for COVID-19

You cannot disinfect surfaces properly if you do not have a disinfectant which is “proven to work” against SARS-CoV-2.

When you are in the market to buy a surface disinfectant, you should first ensure that it will be effective against COVID-19 virus.

Thankfully, that task is made easy by The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The EPA has released a long list (List N) of more than 350 surface disinfectant products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2.

This is list is expanding as more and more products are being added to it.

Popular EPA approved Disinfectants for COVID-19

Here is a quick list of some of the disinfectants which have received EPA approval –

NameTypeKey Ingredient
Clorox Multi Surface Cleaner + Bleach Ready To Use Sodium hypochlorite
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes Wipes Quaternary ammonium
Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes by Purell Wipes Ethanol
Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Spray Quaternary ammonium, Ethanol
Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist Spray Quaternary ammonium, Ethanol
Sani-Prime Germicidal Spray Quaternary ammonium; Ethanol; Isopropanol
Lysol brand Heavy-Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate Quaternary ammonium
Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner by Lysol Concentrate Quaternary ammonium

Ready to Use Cleaners

Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach – Its active ingredients are Sodium hypochlorite and It can be used for hard non-porous materials. The disinfectant is effective against – Rhinovirus; Canine Parvovirus; Feline Panleukopenia Virus; Norovirus; Poliovirus and has contact time of 1 min.

Wipes

Clorox Disinfecting Wipes – Best for hard nonporous surfaces with Quaternary ammonium as an active ingredient. The disinfectant is effective against – Rotavirus and has a contact time of 4 min.

Professional Surface Disinfectant Wipes by Purell – Ethanol is the key active ingredient. The disinfectant is effective against – Norovirus and has a contact time of 5 min.

Sprays

Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Disinfecting Spray – Active ingredients are Quaternary ammonium and Ethanol. The disinfectant is effective against – Coxsackie Virus; Echovirus; Feline Calicivirus; Hepatitis A Virus; Poliovirus and has a contact time of 10 min.

Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist – active ingredient is Quaternary ammonium and Ethanol. The disinfectant is effective against – Norovirus and has a contact time of 10 min.

Sani-Prime Germicidal Spray – This spray has Quaternary ammonium; Ethanol; Isopropanol and active ingredients. The disinfectant is effective against – Feline Calicivirus and has a contact time of 3 min.

Concentrates

Lysol brand Heavy – Duty Cleaner Disinfectant Concentrate – This diluteable solution and has an active ingredient as Quaternary ammonium. The disinfectant is effective against – Rotavirus and has a contact time of 5 min.

Clean & Fresh Multi-Surface Cleaner by Lysol – This is also a diluteable concentrate with Quaternary ammonium as an active ingredient. The disinfectant is effective against – Rotavirus WA and has a contact time of 3 min.

How to find if the disinfectant you are using is EPA approved?

You can visit the EPA website for List N and put in the details of your product. You can search by the EPA registration number or by the name of the product on the list.

You only need to enter the first two sets of the EPA registration number to search.

Note that the list is expanding and it’s possible that the product you are using now will get its approval in the future.

My Disinfectant is not on List N. Is it effective against SARS-CoV-2?

First of all, make sure you have searched across the list of the approved disinfectants. Searching using EPA registration number is a better way that by name.

If that is not successful.

There is a possibility that even when a product is effective against SARS-CoV-2, it may not be part of List N.

In such a case, the best way to determine if the product is useful is if it states in the label as helpful in “human coronavirus”.

It is very important to stress the word “human” in the label, as products useful for “animal coronavirus” many not be useful for SARS-CoV-2.

The second very important thing to note is, never trust a product which does not have EPA registration number.

How to safely use these disinfectants?

The easiest way is to make sure you follow the instructions provided on the product for this.

Here are the key aspects –

  • Surfaces to use – most of the disinfectants are for hard and non-porous surfaces.
  • They are NOT to be used on humans
  • Follow the instruction of “contact time” as provided on the label for it to prove effective. The surface needs to be visibly wet for that period.
  • Do not dilute the RTU disinfectants nor use the concentrated ones as it is

What is contact time for a disinfectant?

Contact time, also known as wet time is the time period for which a surface has to be kept visibly wet by the disinfectant to ensure its efficacy against a particular pathogen.

For example, some disinfectants have a contact time of 1 min while others up to 10 min.

The contact time for one disinfectant will vary for different pathogens and active ingredients used in the disinfectant.

The contact time is a very important parameter as if this criterion is not met while application, the disinfection process will likely be incomplete.

Are all List N products tested against SARS-CoV-2?

No, and that is because it is a new virus and thus it is difficult to test it in the laboratory against all the disinfectants.

Given the short time period, there are two very logical ways a disinfectant can be proven to work against SARS-CoV-2.

If it can kill a harder to kill virus – Researchers have defined how hard it is to kill various kinds of viruses. If a disinfectant can kill a more hard to kill the virus, it can be logically concluded that it can kill SARS-CoV-2 too.

or

If it is known to be effective against other viruses which are similar in nature as SARS-CoV-2

In the end..

While COVID-19 primary mode of spread is respiratory droplets (person to person contamination) and not through touching contaminated surfaces.

But it is best to take every possible precaution to stop the spread of this virus.

Are you currently using any disinfectant? which one and how you use it? Share your views in the comments.