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VERIFY: Which disinfectants will work on the new coronavirus?

The EPA has a list of disinfectants that should be effective against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
Credit: AP
Gelson's market in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles, amid new coronavirus outbreak. (AP)

Viewer Auntie Melanie on Twitter reached out to the VERIFY team with a question, “What kind of disinfectant solution can we use on surfaces to fight the coronavirus?” 

She then listed several solutions she heard have worked. 

Fortunately for Auntie Melanie, there is an expansive list that describes what exactly is effective and what isn’t.

THE QUESTION

What disinfectant solutions will work on killing the coronavirus which causes COVID-19? Will bleach, alcohol, betadine, hydrogen peroxide or Pine-Sol work?

THE ANSWER

The Center for Disease Control lists household bleach and alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol as effective. 

The Environmental Protection Agency lists 39 products with hydrogen peroxide that should be effective. 

They do not list betadine or Pine-Sol, but that doesn’t mean they won't be listed later.

WHAT WE FOUND

The CDC gives advice on how to disinfect your home if someone is sick. Their advice includes the use of diluted household bleach solutions and alcohol solutions that are at least 70% alcohol.

They also suggest using household cleaners and disinfectants before linking to an EPA page with a list of disinfectants that should be effective on SARS-CoV-2, the official name of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. There are 287 products listed.

The EPA list allows you to search for a product by its name or its active ingredient. For example, there are 39 products with hydrogen peroxide on the list. Betadine and Pine-Sol are not on the list.

At the top of the page, the EPA says, “Inclusion on this list does not constitute an endorsement by EPA. There may be additional disinfectants that meet the criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2. EPA will update this list with additional products as needed.” That means that products not on the list could be added down the road.

The list also includes key information that could help you best use a disinfectant or choose the one that most fits what you’re looking for.

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Many disinfectants have different instructions for cleaning and disinfecting different things. The EPA list tells you which instructions to follow to best disinfect for the new coronavirus.

It also tells you how long to use the product on the surface you’re trying to disinfect. The EPA says whatever you’re cleaning should be wet for the entire duration listed.

The EPA also lists whether or not a product qualifies for an Emerging Viral Pathogen Claim. Any product that has qualified for this claim has proven to be effective against a harder to kill virus than the coronavirus.

A notable no-show on the EPA list is hand sanitizer. That’s because hand sanitizer is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration instead of the EPA. The CDC says to only use hand sanitizers that are at least 60% alcohol.