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Do bleach and other disinfectants kill the coronavirus?

CLAIM: Bleach and other disinfectants destroy the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

TRUE. Many chemical disinfectants work against the novel coronavirus, but it is important to use them properly and never ingest them or apply them to your skin.


Choose the right product.

Cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces in your house can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified products that meet its criteria for use against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
  • Approved products include bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and other common household chemicals and cleaning products.
  • Don’t rely on products that are not on EPA’s list. Beware of false claims.

Follow the directions carefully.

Disinfectants kill germs only if you use them the right way. Using chemicals incorrectly can hurt you.

  • Read the label to find out what types of surfaces you can use the product on.
  • Follow the directions on the label. Most products must stay wet on the surface for a specific amount of time in order to fully destroy viruses and bacteria.
  • Follow all of the safety precautions listed on the label. Sanitizing products can hurt your skin and eyes. They can also poison you if swallowed or inhaled.

It is not safe to use disinfectants on people or food.

Cleaning products are for objects and surfaces only. Never drink or ingest bleach or any other disinfectant, and never apply them to your skin.

  • Many disinfectants can irritate your skin or cause a rash. Scrubbing with soap for 20 seconds and rinsing well is the best way to get the novel coronavirus—and other germs—off your hands.
  • Health organizations recommend using normal methods for washing raw fruits and vegetables during the COVID-19 crisis. Using bleach or soap on these foods is not recommended.
Published on: April 23, 2020