Now that the rushes on the supermarkets and other stores are past, we can usually find the cleansers we need. But in our efforts to protect ourselves from COVID-19, are we using the right products to help kill the virus in our homes and workspaces? And are we using them the right way?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a page on its site that lists products which meet the criteria for killing SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. In addition to listing the products, the information includes how long the product must be in contact with the surface to be effective. For example, if you clean a counter with Clorox® Disinfecting wipes, it should stay in contact with the counter for 30 seconds to kill the virus. If you use Lysol® Disinfectant Spray, it should be in contact for 2 minutes. Some other products need as many as 10 minutes to do their work.

Knowing how long a cleaner should remain on the surface helps you plan your cleaning more efficiently and it helps ensure you are using the product as it should. Leaving one on for longer won’t make a difference, but not leaving it on long enough may leave enough virus behind to spread to others.

Researching the products

Whether you have a favorite go-to cleaner brand or you buy whatever is available, researching its effectiveness will help you with your cleaning routine. You can start by going to the manufacturer’s website to see what they say about their products. If their products are approved for COVID-19 decontamination, they will mention it on their site, with a list of the relevant products.

If the products are from lesser known companies, you can cross reference the products with the EPA list.