5 Household Disinfectants That Can Destroy the Coronavirus

A woman in a mask with household disinfectants
Photo by Andrew Angelov / Shutterstock.com

There have been more than 3.2 million reported cases of COVID-19 and more than 134,000 deaths in the U.S. from the disease caused by the coronavirus as of Monday.

Careful cleaning habits and the right disinfectants may help you avoid a coronavirus infection, though.

Coronaviruses like the one currently circulating the world are enveloped viruses, meaning they have a protective coating. That makes them “one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product,” says the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Following is a list of such disinfectants. Some still might be hard to find in stores as the number of coronavirus cases continues to climb again, but others you likely already have at home.

Just remember that you must use a disinfectant correctly for it to be effective.

The EPA urges consumers to follow product directions, especially those regarding how long to let a disinfectant sit on a surface before wiping it away. The National Pesticide Information Center offers more detailed guidance for using disinfectants (which are considered pesticides) to control the coronavirus.

1. Soap and water

That’s right: Plain ol’ soap and water is not only the best way to wash your hands but also an effective way to disinfect other surfaces.

The friction that is created when you scrub with soap and water is enough to break the coronavirus’s protective envelope, according to Consumer Reports. That means you must use some elbow grease along with the soap and water, though.

Richard Sachleben, a chemist and member of the American Chemical Society, tells Consumer Reports:

“Scrub like you’ve got sticky stuff on the surface and you really need to get it off.”

2. Bleach

Bleach is among the products that the CDC recommends for disinfecting surfaces in households with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 — assuming the surface would not be damaged by bleach.

Bleach is effective against coronaviruses if its expiration date has not passed and it’s diluted with water using one of these two ratios:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach per gallon of water
  • 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water

Caution: Never mix bleach with other cleaners. Hazardous gases can be produced, as we detail in “Never Mix These 4 Combinations of Cleaners.”

3. Alcohol

The CDC also recommends rubbing alcohol that contains at least 70% alcohol.

Note that we’re talking about rubbing alcohol itself, not alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

For cleansing your hands, a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is your next-best bet after soap and water. But to disinfect surfaces, you need rubbing alcohol itself and a higher percentage — at least 70% alcohol.

4. Certain Clorox products

The EPA recently released a list of disinfectant products that have qualified for use against the coronavirus.

Also known as List N, this resource is dominated by professional products like those intended for use in the health care industry, but it does include some products intended for consumers.

Those consumer products include the following from Clorox:

  • Clorox Disinfecting Wipes
  • Clorox Clean-Up Cleaner + Bleach

These products might be out of stock at your local stores, and their availability appears to fluctuate even at online retailers. But if you keep an eye on Clorox’s storefront on Amazon, you might luck out.

5. Certain Lysol products

The EPA’s list of qualified coronavirus disinfectants also includes numerous consumer products from Lysol, such as:

  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray
  • Lysol Disinfectant Spray Max Cover Mist
  • Lysol Multi-Surface Cleaner Pourable
  • Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach
  • Lysol Power Bathroom Cleaner
  • Lysol Power Foam Bathroom Cleaner
  • Lysol Power Toilet Bowl Cleaner
  • Lysol Toilet Bowl Cleaner with Bleach

Again, monitor Lysol’s storefront on Amazon or call ahead to local stores to ask about their stock.

How to earn $30 in less than 30 seconds

Earn extra money by using Rakuten (formerly known as Ebates) — a site that gets you cash back at more than 2,500 stores. As a bonus for joining Rakuten between now and Dec. 31, 2020, you'll earn $30 when you sign up using our link and spend at least $30 shopping online through Rakuten within the first 60 days. Start earning cash back and claim a free $30 bonus today.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
10 Items Every First-Aid Kit Should Have
10 Items Every First-Aid Kit Should Have

Take control of your health and safety by customizing your own first-aid kit with these Amazon purchases.

5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income
5 Ways to Avoid Taxes on Social Security Income

Here’s how to minimize and delay the chunk that Uncle Sam claims.

Don’t Trash These 11 ‘Disposable’ Items — Reuse Them
Don’t Trash These 11 ‘Disposable’ Items — Reuse Them

Are you throwing away money? Consider giving these things a new purpose.

10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card
10 Expenses You Should Not Put on a Credit Card

Sometimes it’s simply safer to keep the plastic tucked away.

17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher
17 Unusual Things You Can Clean in a Dishwasher

Many everyday items do not require meticulous hand washing.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security
This Is the Most Popular Age for Claiming Social Security

Both men and women are most likely to start receiving Social Security benefits at this age.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020
The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?
Could You Give Up These 7 Expenses to Save Thousands of Dollars a Year?

You could save more than $30,000 by setting aside these costly expenses for just one year.

6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s
6 Things You Should Never Buy at Trader Joe’s

We love Trader Joe’s for plenty of reasons. But think twice about this handful of products.

3 Ways to Catch the First Presidential Debate Without Cable
3 Ways to Catch the First Presidential Debate Without Cable

You don’t need cable — or even a TV — to watch the first presidential debate on Tuesday.

Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them
Don’t Toss These 7 Household Items — Sell Them

Here’s how to earn cash as you give new life to these unwanted items.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet
11 Expenses That Quietly Drain Your Wallet

It’s scandalously easy to overspend in these areas of your life.

9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value
9 Dumb Ways You Are Ruining Your Home Value

Homeowners, beware these mistakes that can drive away potential buyers.

This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car
This Is the Cheapest Place to Buy a Used Car

Looking for a good deal on a set of wheels? This should be your first stop.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon
10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile
7 Tips for Building an Emergency Stockpile

A pandemic or natural disaster could leave you reliant on your existing food supply. Is your pantry prepared?

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already
11 Disgusting Household Items You Should Toss Already

Never keep these items past their prime.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.