Cleaners that Kill

By Tom Branna, Editorial Director | 03.27.20

One solution to the COVID-19 pandemic is in the pantry.

Sheltering in place has become the method of choice to slow the spread of coronavirus. Yet, even the healthiest of homes isn’t always an oasis against COVID-19, because the virus can stay viable on surfaces for anywhere from two hours to two days, according to health experts. Furthermore, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that people who touch surfaces or objects contaminated with the virus and then touch their mouths or eyes can also become infected. 
 
Therefore, disinfection is paramount to maintaining one’s health during the COVID-19 pandemic. But consumers don’t have to scour the internet in search of solutions, they can be found right in their closet.
 
The American Chemistry Council’s list of EPA-approved cleaners includes:
Purell MultiSurface Disinfectant;
Clorox 4in1 Disinfecting Spray;
• Clorox Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner;
Lysol bleach multi-purpose cleaner;
• Lysol Disinfecting Spray; and
• Clorox Disinfecting Wipes.
 
Executives at the leading trade associations in the cleaning industry are confident their members’ products can get the job done.
 
“Knowing that you are using the most effective products is critically important when you are trying to protect your family,” said Steve Caldeira, president and CEO of the Household & Commercial Products Association (HCPA). “We encourage everyone to check the product against EPA’s list by finding the registration number on the product label. Read the label, follow the directions and pay attention to how long the product should stay on the surface you’re cleaning.”
 
They may have the right cleaner at hand, but that doesn’t mean consumers have a handle on cleaning. According to a recent poll conducted for the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) finds that four in ten Americans are not properly allowing disinfectant sprays and wipes to kill the viruses and germs that can make us sick.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos for ACI, asked respondents to indicate how they are primarily using disinfectants on surfaces in their homes, in an effort to understand and help educate consumers to use products as directed in the midst of COVID-19.

Twenty-six percent of those surveyed say they spray and then wipe the surface immediately after, while another 16% make a quick pass with a disinfectant wipe. The poll shows that other consumers are getting it right: 26% keep the surface wet with disinfectant wipes for as long as recommended on the label, while another 16 percent spray and leave until air dried.


Here are ACI’s key tips to proper disinfection:


·  Pre-clean any surfaces prior to disinfecting to remove any excess dirt or grime.
·  Use the disinfecting spray or wipe as directed.
·  After disinfecting, let the surface air dry making sure it stays wet for as long as recommended on the product label. This is critical in ensuring that the proper germ or virus kill takes place as intended.
·  If disinfecting food contact surfaces or toys, rinse with water after they air dry.
·  If using a disinfectant wipe, throw out after using. Do not flush any non-flushable products.

The survey did indicate that 82% of respondents were either very or somewhat confident that the cleaning products they use will protect against the spread of the coronavirus.
 
 
“The benefits of properly using disinfectants have been strongly reinforced by EPA during this COVID-19 outbreak,” said Melissa Hockstad, president and CEO of the American Cleaning Institute. “ACI member company manufacturers and suppliers are continuing to work around the clock to meet the surge in demand for these necessary products.”

 
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a five-page list disinfectants that it says are strong enough to ward off “harder-to-kill” viruses than the coronavirus.
 
“Using the correct disinfectant is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of illnesses along with other critical aspects such as hand washing,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.