Can Disinfectants Kill Viruses?

April 22, 2020 5:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic has people across the United States focused on being clean and sanitary more than ever before. Aside from the frequent PSAs reminding you to wash your hands, you may also have seen recommendations to regularly disinfect surfaces in your home that you frequently touch.

But do these disinfectants you use for cleaning surfaces in Fort Wayne, IN really kill the virus and prevent its spread? Here’s a quick overview of what you should know.

Effectiveness of disinfectants

First, to understand the best methods of preventing the spread of the virus, it’s important to know how it spreads in the first place. Like other types of coronaviruses, COVID-19 spreads through respiratory droplets sent into the air when a person infected with the virus coughs, sneezes or even talks. Those tiny droplets can be inhaled by other people nearby, or land on surfaces that other people will touch. If those droplets get on a person’s hands, they can then get infected when they touch their face.

The use of disinfectants on surfaces is done with the aim of eliminating one method of contamination—it attempts to get rid of the virus on surfaces to ensure people don’t come into contact with it. There are studies that show many common household disinfectants, such as bleach solutions or soaps, are capable of deactivating coronaviruses on surfaces indoors. Disinfectants cut through the protective layers of the viruses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a list of disinfectants that, in past studies, have demonstrated effectiveness in combating other types of coronaviruses.

You might wonder how long the COVID-19 virus will remain on a surface after the surface has been affected, and there’s no simple answer to this, as it depends on the kind of surface and the conditions in the surrounding environment. The virus can survive in the air for up to three hours, and for two to three days on surfaces like plastic or stainless steel. A related virus has been shown to survive for up to nine days on nonporous surfaces. There is no indication the virus can be passed through water, such as drinking water, swimming pools or spas.

Outdoors, it’s uncertain whether or not bleach is effective at killing COVID-19, because bleach breaks down under exposure to ultraviolet light. However, that UV light may also destroy coronaviruses. Even then, the risk of coronavirus exposure from outdoor surfaces is likely to be significantly lower than the risk of exposure from indoor surfaces, simply because indoor spaces are more enclosed and feature more surfaces that people will touch.

Ultimately, experts say that while it’s a good idea to disinfect surfaces in your home with some regularity, the best way to avoid transmission of COVID-19 is to avoid person-to-person contact. This means following stay-at-home orders, especially if you are sick, reducing close contact with other people and regularly washing your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds each time.

For more information about how to kill viruses like COVID-19 in Fort Wayne, IN, contact the team at Pro Clean Building Services, Inc. today.

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