Here’s How to Properly Disinfect Surfaces

The Journal of Hospital Infection said that the human coronaviruses could be “efficiently inactivated” on surfaces within one minute if they’re cleaned with solutions containing 62 percent to 71 percent ethanol alcohol or 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide.

Rachel Graham, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina, said surface disinfectants could even work within 15 seconds. She added, “To get the kill rates advertised on the packaging, that usually involves waiting…between five minutes and six minutes.”

Graham said the important thing when disinfecting a surface is getting the infectious dose of the virus below a level that will cause disease and that “most commercial products labeled ‘disinfectants’ talk about a 99.9% kill rate.” That certainly brings the dose below the threshold that would make people ill, but alcohol-based hand sanitizer is not ideal for disinfecting hard surfaces because the alcohol content is not high enough.


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