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EPA Approves Two Lysol Sprays for Killing Coronavirus on Surfaces

Lab tests confirm effectiveness of disinfectants against virus that causes COVID-19

A bottle of lysol

CHRIS DELMAS/AFP via Getty Images

En español | Two Lysol cleaning products have proven effective in killing the novel coronavirus on hard surfaces, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced.

Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist received approval Monday from the federal agency for their effectiveness against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. They are the first surface disinfectant products to receive such approval; the EPA said it expects more will follow.

"EPA is committed to identifying new tools and providing accurate and up-to-date information to help the American public protect themselves and their families from the novel coronavirus,” EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.

The coronavirus is thought to spread mainly from person to person by way of respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, coughs or sneezes in close proximity to others (within about 6 feet), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, it may be possible to become infected by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose, which is why the CDC encourages routinely cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces as a best practice to avoid infection. Physical distancing, handwashing and wearing a mask in public are other main methods of prevention.

Direct testing against new coronavirus leads to Lysol approvals

The EPA has a list of more than 420 products that are powerful enough to wipe out viruses that are harder to kill than the new coronavirus. However, the products on the EPA list had yet to be tested against the novel virus itself. The two newly approved Lysol products are the first to show their effectiveness when matched directly against SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory testing. The active ingredients in both sprays are quaternary ammonium (quats) and ethanol (ethyl alcohol).

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In mid-April, Lysol took to Twitter to announce an “unprecedented and accelerated” demand for its products, which have been hard to find on store shelves. The company has also issued safety warnings for its cleaning products, urging the public to use them as directed. More than one-third of adults have used chemicals or disinfectants unsafely in an effort to protect themselves against COVID-19, a June report from the CDC found. Poison centers have also experienced a sharp increase in calls related to exposures to cleaners and disinfectants since the start of the pandemic.

The CDC has a list of tips for cleaning and disinfecting your home safely and effectively.