What Disinfectant Kills Coronavirus (COVID-19, SARS, MERS)

covid-19Their words don’t match the actions, and yet China tells us they have everything under control. Quarantining close to 60 million people, shutting down businesses, restricting human-to-human interactions and possibly welding apartments shut to keep people from leaving their homes, seems to have had little affect on the spreading of the novel coronavirus.

Doctors leaking information mysteriously die. People posting videos disappear. Activists posting contradictory articles to the official government releases are apprehended. And there is some evidence to suggest this particular virus was being researched in a laboratory just 290 meters away from the market it purportedly originated from.

Something doesn’t add up.

China is desperately trying to stave off the spread of the newest coronavirus, officially COVID-19 by the World Health Organization (WHO). No point in mentioning the number of people infected or dying because it’s ever changing, and we simply can’t trust anything coming out of China.

Probability COVID-19 Spreads

We live in a world of probabilities with only two certainties; death and taxes. But based on what we’re seeing, it would appear it’s just a matter of time before COVID-19 reaches pandemic levels spreading human-to-human on every continent.

This doesn’t appear to be a doomsday scenario, but it could certainly make its way into your life. Therefore, it’s probably not a bad idea to start preparing, or to at least start thinking about it.

Killing Novel Coronaviruses

The heading of this section is a little misleading. In order for something to die, it has to be alive. Viruses are not technically alive. But they can be deactivated with disinfectants.

The problem with COVID-19 is that it’s new. Scientists and pharmaceutical companies don’t have samples yet. Therefore, nothing has been tested against the virus in a controlled environment to definitively know whether it’s effective or not.

Not all coronaviruses are the same. But there are commercial products that have been verified to work against other human coronaviruses. Specifically the more deadly variants SARS and MERS. And the focus of this blog entry is to identify probable disinfectants that might work against COVID-19. If disinfectants work against these two viruses, they may work against COVID-19.

Keep in mind, we’re not dealing with a bacteria which is a living organism. Disinfectants that claim to kill 99.9% of all bacteria are useless against a virus, unless by coincidence.

What Products to Look For

Some commercial products will list the names of viruses they can “kill” (deactivate). It’s rare, but some products will specifically say SARS or MERS. This should be our goal.

If it says “Kills Human Coronavirus”, this doesn’t necessarily mean it kills SARS, MERS or the novel COVID-19. There are many variants of the coronavirus. To increase the probability that the disinfectant works against COVID-19, we need to make sure it specifically states SARS or MERS (Preferably both).

List of Probable Disinfectant Products

I’m sure there is some really powerful stuff out there that’s used in Bio-containment labs, but normal people don’t have access to these products.

Fortunately, there are a few common Lysol products found in just about every grocery store that can deactivate SARS. Each has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registration number certifying this claim. They also kill other viruses, such as HIV and various Flu strains (H1N1):

NOTES: 1) I can’t specifically find the last two Lysol Products online (The brand names don’t have the “II” in them). 2) Open the EPA PDF file then press “Control-F” keys and type “SARS“. 3) You can look-up other EPA registration numbers at the NPIRS website.

Finding products that deactivate MERS is a little more difficult, probably because MERS is not as big a threat as SARS or some of the other coronaviruses. So manufacturers don’t focus on such products.

Clorox has a bleach product that claims to deactivate MERS, but when I read through the EPA documentation, I found no such reference (listed below). So be careful when selecting a product based upon online information.

On the other hand, the below product does have an EPA registration number and specifically states MERS:

There may be other products out there, but these products should be easy to find. Again, just because a product deactivates SARS, doesn’t mean it works against MERS, which doesn’t mean it works against COVID-19. I’m just saying it’s possible and seems like a reasonable guess given nothing commercially viable is approved against COVID-19 as of this writing (17-FEB-2020).

How to Use

Please read the instructions on the product, but most claim to kill the virus within a few minutes. It’s best to coat the entire  surface with the disinfectant, then wait and wipe it down with a separate paper towel. Discard the paper towel in the trash and wash your hands.

Do not spray the disinfectant on your body! Do not inhale the disinfectant! A little contact is fine, but it’s advisable to wear a breathing mask if you’re going to spray down your entire house.

Spray doorknobs, handles, faucets, toilets, light switches, remote controls, any anything people touch with their hands.

Hand Sanitizers

Unlike disinfectant sprays which are regulated by the EPA, hand sanitizers fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As of today, the FDA prohibits listing what pathogens hand sanitizers kill. Therefore, it makes it difficult to know which stand a chance of deactivating the COVID-19 virus.

What we do know, is that based 2005 and 2006 studies from Germany, hand sanitizers with at least 70% by volume Ethyl Alcohol (Ethanol) work against SARS. These types of hand sanitizers are tough to find in your local stores, though.

Here are a couple suggestions that might work against COVID-19 that you can purchase online:

The probability of alcohol-free hand sanitizers being effective is very low.

It’s also advisable to use hand moisturizer after applying the hand sanitizer. Alcohol contents this high can cause skin to dry out, crack, and bleed in some cases. This provides entry points for the virus and places for it to hide.

Remember, soap and water is very good at removing viruses (not deactivating them). This should be the first line of defense. Hand sanitizers are great for when you are in a location that does not afford the opportunity to wash your hands.


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