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What are the best disinfectants to clean at home?

This article was updated on April 25, 2024

When choosing disinfectants to clean your home and help prevent the spread of viruses like COVID-19, it's important to select products that are effective against viruses, including the novel coronavirus, and safe for use on various surfaces. Here are some commonly recommended disinfectants for home use:

  1. Alcohol-based Disinfectants: Products containing at least 70% alcohol, such as isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol, are effective at killing a wide range of viruses, including coronaviruses. These disinfectants are suitable for use on hard, non-porous surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, and electronic devices.
  2. EPA-approved Disinfectants: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains a list of disinfectants that have been shown to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Look for products with EPA registration numbers on the label, indicating that they have been tested and approved for use against the virus. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use and contact time.
  3. Bleach: Household bleach, when diluted properly, can be an effective disinfectant against viruses and other pathogens. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. Use this solution to disinfect hard, non-porous surfaces after cleaning with detergent. Allow the bleach solution to sit on the surface for at least 1 minute before wiping or air drying.
  4. Hydrogen Peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is another effective disinfectant that can kill viruses and bacteria. Use hydrogen peroxide solutions with concentrations of 3% or higher for disinfection. Apply the solution to surfaces and allow it to sit for at least 1 minute before wiping or air drying.
  5. Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats): Quaternary ammonium compounds, also known as quats, are commonly found in household disinfectants and can be effective against viruses and bacteria. Look for products labeled as quaternary ammonium compounds or quats and follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper use.

When using disinfectants at home, it's important to follow safety precautions and use them as directed on the product label. Wear gloves and ensure adequate ventilation when handling disinfectants, and avoid mixing different types of disinfectants, as this can produce harmful fumes. Additionally, be mindful of surfaces that may be damaged or discolored by certain disinfectants, and test in an inconspicuous area before widespread use.

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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