You wash your hands now all the time. Check. You cover any cough or sneeze. Check. You stay at least 6 feet away from people anytime you go out. Check.
These Disinfectant Products Have Been Approved by the EPA to Kill the Coronavirus
But how about cleaning inside your home?
The virus that causes COVID-19 can live on surfaces for a few hours to a few days. So, anytime you bring something new into your home — groceries, mail — it probably needs to be cleaned. The CDC also recommends cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects as part of your everyday routine to prevent viral spread. These surfaces and objects include anything you might touch regularly. That would include tables, countertops, remotes, light switches, doorknobs, cabinet handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets and sinks.
The cleaning products below have been approved by the EPA for use against SARS-Cov-2, the official name of the new coronavirus. The EPA says these products have not been tested against SARS-CoV-2, but "they are expected to be effective based on demonstrated efficacy" against a harder-to-kill virus or a human coronavirus similar to SARS-Cov-2.
The list also has recommendations for how long the disinfectant should be left wet upon the surface to be cleaned and disinfected, called "contact time." The durations range from 15 seconds to 15 minutes. When cleaning, wear gloves, open windows or turn on fans to ensure good ventilation. The list of cleaners from the EPA does not include information on "natural" cleaners.
From the EPA website:
When purchasing a product, check if its EPA registration number is included on this list. If it is, you have a match and the product can be used against SARS-CoV-2. You can find this number on the product label – just look for the EPA Reg. No. These products may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same EPA registration number, they are the same product.
If appropriate for the surface or object, you can also use diluted unexpired household bleach as a disinfectant. You can make your own solution by mixing 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water (or 1/3rd cup of bleach per gallon of water). You can also use alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other product, as this can cause poisonous gases to form.
If a surface is dirty, the CDC recommends, you should first clean it with soap and water before disinfecting with one of the products above.
The CDC has detailed disinfection guidance on how to clean your home if you live with someone who is sick with COVID-19.
And Still, Wash Your Hands
You're probably sick of us saying this, but washing your hands is still one of the best ways to reduce the likelihood of contracting COVID-19. Water, soap and scrubbing for 20 seconds -- including between your fingers -- is the gold standard. When this is not available, hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a good second choice. For more on this, check out the CDC website.
Jon Brooks contributed to this post.