I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t keeping track of news coming out of China. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has caused the Chinese government to shut down some of their largest cities, most popular tourist attractions, and as of today’s date, at least 16 airlines have canceled flights to and from China.
These steps are unprecedented and require any smart person to keep one eye on the headlines and the other eye on your preps!
In large part, preparing for something like this virus or any other virulent bug requires supplies that are relatively inexpensive, but not all disinfectants are the same and not everyone knows which disinfectant is most effective. If you’re going to stock up on these supplies, you might as well purchase those that are proven to kill viruses.
Little-known truths about disinfectants
So, a couple of weeks ago in one of my Facebook groups, one woman spoke up and began writing about disinfectants and what was effective against viruses, including the coronavirus currently in the news. Later, she explained that she wanted to correct the record because a lot of misinformation was spreading in social media and through copied-and-pasted emails.
Her background is with a large chemical manufacturer, a supplier of cleaning chemicals and disinfectants to local hospitals and schools. Part of her job is staying informed on the very latest developments in this area, including this coronavirus outbreak.
Wondering about the most effective disinfectants to use in a pandemic/flu scenario? Here are some insider tips.
Q&A with an expert
“There is a lot of misinformation currently going around about disinfectants and Human Coronavirus that I wanted to clear up.
Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses that were first discovered in the 1950s. The envelope is like a fragile bubble that surrounds the DNA and they are easy to pop. They are relatively easy to kill on surfaces.
When looking for a disinfectant, there are 2 different kill claims to look for: Human Coronavirus or Human Coronavirus (SARS Like). Both will kill the Wuhan virus, though I would add more dwell time if the claim is for Human Coronavirus.
Dwell time is the time it takes to kill a virus. A surface must stay completely wet during that time. Lysol and Clorox wipes are great, but they will not stay wet for the full 10 minutes they required by disinfectants with a 10-minute dwell time. You must re-wet the surface.
If neither kill claim is listed, use a disinfectant that kills a non-enveloped virus like Norovirus. Non-enveloped viruses are much more difficult to kill.
Alcohol is not a good disinfectant as it requires a 10 minute dwell time, and a lot of surfaces are not compatible with alcohol for that long.
There are several good cleaning disinfectants I recommend. My favorite one is Oxivir TB wipes and/or spray. It has a 1-minute kill claim and uses hydrogen peroxide. Purell also makes a surface disinfectant spray, but be careful with it on wood. It’s not compatible with some varnishes. It is food-safe, though, which I love. All of these options are great because they don’t require personal protection equipment. Clorox and Lysol require you to wear gloves.
QUESTION: What about bleach?
ANSWER: Bleach is an incredibly effective disinfectant but is not a cleaner. It’s also very harsh on surfaces and people. It’s very toxic. Instead, I would use a cleaner and disinfectant in one.
QUESTION: What about Norwex for killing viruses?
ANSWER: Norwex does not kill bacteria or viruses and does not disinfect.
QUESTION: Can you make your own disinfectant spray with hydrogen peroxide?
ANSWER: It depends on the percentage of hydrogen peroxide. Most bottles are 3% or 6%. You really need 7.5% or higher in order to make an at-home disinfectant with it. Even then, it still has a 30-minute kill claim for things like polio and Hepatitis A. One warning about using 7.5% hydrogen peroxide is that it can damage some surfaces, so you might want to use something different on furniture.
QUESTION: I bought a disinfectant with colloidal silver in it! If it will kill MRSA & Staph, it’ll kill corona!
ANSWER: Colloidal silver has great antibacterial properties, which is why it kills MRSA and Staph. However, it does not kill viruses and won’t kill Coronavirus.
QUESTION: My dad worked in a hospital and they used alcohol out of the bottle. I use alcohol to clean the bathrooms and light switches. I’ve used Odoban before; it kept us healthy during the swine flu.
COMMENT: Just make sure you are hitting that 10 minute kill claim for alcohol.
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the Lysol laundry disinfectant?
ANSWER: Lysol Laundry Sanitizer sanitizes against bacteria. It does not kill viruses.
QUESTION: Are generic or other brands of hand sanitizer as effective as Purell?
ANSWER: I would recommend just using Purell. They did a study that found all sanitizers actually go down in efficacy the more you use them. Purell actually goes up in efficacy
QUESTION: I’m having a hard time finding N95 face masks. They’re sold out online.
ANSWER: For those of you looking for face masks, you can still get them by the case through Medline.com. They are a medical distributor and supply the hospitals. You are allowed to create a personal account with them for purchases.
What else do you need besides effective disinfectants?
Our expert has given you a handy short-list of the most effective disinfectants, but of course, you’ll want to have a few other items on hand for the annual flu season or something worse.
She mentions Purell as a preferred brand name, and in fact, that hand sanitizer is proven to be very effective.
I checked my stored supplies with a flu virus in mind, and here’s what I have personally stocked up on:
- Bars of soap
- Purell hand sanitizer
- Clorox and Lysol wipes and spray for general cleaning
And I’m looking at those Oxivir wipes. They’re kind of pricey, but for that short dwell time against viruses, it’s probably a worthwhile investment, especially for cleaning up things like vomit as detailed in this article.
This article goes into more detail for preparing for a home quarantine situation.
Bottom line: Know which disinfectants are most effective against viruses, including the coronavirus, and use them according to package instructions.
Wash your hands, cut down how often you touch your face, and stay healthy this flu season!