Survival Strategies

How to tell if a disinfectant works

The truth about disinfectants: Q& A with an expert

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t keeping track of news coming out of China. The rapid spread of the novel coronavirus has caused the Chinese government to shut down some of their largest municipalities, most popular tourist attractions, and as of today’s date, at least 16 airlines have canceled flights to and from China.

These steps are unprecedented and require any smart person to keep one eye on the headlines and the other eye on your preps!

In large-scale percentage, preparing for something like this virus or any other virulent bug involves furnishes that are relatively inexpensive, but not all disinfectants are similar and not everyone knows which disinfectant is more effective. If you’re going to stock up on these quantities, you are able to as well obtain those that are proven to kill viruses.

Little-known truths about disinfectants
So, a couple of weeks ago in one of my Facebook pages, one person started a dialog and began to describe disinfectants and what was effective against viruses, in particular the coronavirus in the news as of late. Later, this person explained that she wanted to correct the record because of misinformation was spreading so quickly in social media and through emails.

This individual’s background is with a large chemical producer, a supplier of cleaning chemicals and disinfectants to neighbourhood hospitals and institutions of learning.  Her main focus is staying informed on the latest developments in this area, including this coronavirus outbreak.

Wondering about the most efficient disinfectants utilized in a pandemic/ influenza scenario? Here are some insider tips.

Q&A with key experts
“There’s a lot of misinformation currently going around about disinfectants and Human Coronavirus that I wanted to clear up.

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses that were firstly found in the 1950’s. The envelope is like a fragile bubble that surrounds the DNA and they are easy to pop and relatively easy to kill on surfaces.

When looking for a disinfectant, there are 2 distinct kill claims to look for: Human Coronavirus or Human Coronavirus( SARS Like ). Both will kill the Wuhan virus, though I would include more dwell time if the claim is for Human Coronavirus.

Dwell time is defined as the time it takes to kill a virus. A contaminated surface must stay fully wet during that time. Lysol and Clorox wipes products are great, but they will not stay wet for the full 10 minutes they required by disinfectants with a 10 -minute dwell time. You must re-wet the surface for it to be effective.

If neither kill claim is listed on the manufacturer’s label, use a disinfectant that kills a non-enveloped virus like Norovirus. This is due to the fact that Non-enveloped viruses are much more difficult to kill.

Alcohol is not a good disinfectant as it requires a 10 minute dwell time, and a lot of surfaces are not compatible with alcohol for that length of time.

There are various good cleaning disinfectants recommended. One is Oxivir TB wipes and/ or spray. It has a 1-minute kill claim and uses hydrogen peroxide. Purell also makes a surface disinfectant spray, but be careful with it on wood surfaces. It’s not compatible with some wood varnishes. It is food-safe, though, which is desirable. All of these options are great because they don’t necessitate personal protection equipment and such. Clorox and Lysol require you to wear gloves.

QUESTION: What about bleach?

ANSWER: Bleach is an fantastically effective disinfectant but is not meant for cleaning purposes. It’s also very harsh on surfaces and on humans. It’s very toxic, so use a cleaner and disinfectant in one product instead.

QUESTION: What about Norwex for killing viruses?

ANSWER: Norwex does not kill bacteria or viruses and does not disinfect.

QUESTION: Can you make your own disinfectant spray with hydrogen peroxide?

ANSWER: It depends on the percentage of hydrogen peroxide used. Most bottles are 3% or 6 %. You genuinely need 7.5% or higher in order to make an at-home disinfectant. It has a 30 -minute kill claim for things like polio and Hepatitis A. One thing to be cautious about using 7.5% hydrogen peroxide is that it can damage some surfaces, so you might want to think about using something different on furniture.

QUESTION: I bought a disinfectant with colloidal silver in it! If it will kill MRSA & Staph, it’ll kill corona!

ANSWER: Colloidal silver has great antibacterial properties, which is why it kills MRSA and Staph. Note that it does not kill viruses and won’t kill Coronavirus.

QUESTION: My dad worked in a hospital and they used alcohol out of the bottle. I use alcohol to clean the showers and light switches. I’ve used Odoban before; it helped us stay healthy during the swine flu.

COMMENT: Just make sure you are hitting that 10 minute kill claim for alcohol.

QUESTION: What are your thoughts on the Lysol laundry disinfectant?

ANSWER: Lysol Laundry Sanitizer sterilizes against bacteria. It does not kill viruses.

QUESTION: Are generic or other makers of hand sanitizer as effective as Purell?

ANSWER: I would recommend using Purell. They did research studies that showed all sanitizers go down in efficacy the more you use them. Purell actually goes up in efficacy

QUESTION: I’m having a hard time procure N95 face masks. They’re sold out online.

ANSWER: For those of you looking for face masks, you can still get them by the case through They are a medical distributor and supplying hospitals. You are allowed to create a personal account with them to make purchases.

What else do you need besides effective disinfectants?
One professional has given you a handy short-list of the most effective disinfectants, but of course, you’ll want to have a few other things on hand for the annual flu season or something worse.

She mentions Purell as a brand name of choice, and in fact, that hand sanitizer is proven to be very effective.

Here is a few things, keeping the flu virus in mind: Bars of soap, Purell hand sanitizer, Clorox and Lysol wipes and spray for general cleaning

And I’m looking at those Oxivir wipes. They’re kind of pricey, but for that short dwell time against viruses, it’s probably a worthwhile investment, especially for cleaning up things like throw-up.

Bottom line: Know which disinfectants are most effective against viruses, including the coronavirus, and use them according to instructions.

Wash your hands, cut down how often you touch your face, and stay healthy during this influenza season!


As a longtime chemical rep myself, I feel that it is important to mention that ALL antiseptics and sanitizers lose their effectiveness fairly quickly when stored. Unlike cleaning substances that will hold on to their cleaning ability for several years disinfectants, sanitizers, bleaches do not last. Do not trust their ability to kill germs if they have been stored a year.


We have currently used a 50/50 concoction of water and vinegar for wiping down faces. Would that kill coronavirus?


No, vinegar is a good, basic clean, but if/ when you want to be sure you’re protecting your home against coronavirus and other viruses, you’ll need something like the products mentioned in this article.


Thanks for this important info! I’m assuming chemical professionals might be less familiar with botanical disinfectants, but I ordered this one online that has very good reviews and is recommended by professionals who clean and sanitize homes that have been flooded. The active ingredient is Thyme oil and it claims to have a 3 minute kill time on viruses, funguses and bacteria. It’s less expensive than the Oxivir products. Bioesque Botanical Disinfectant Solution, 1 Gallon


My friend the disinfectant professional, took a look at this product and says it would be a good one to use against coronavirus and other viruses. She suggested causing it a somewhat longer dwell season of 1 minute.


I went to the link to Medline and established an acct but they transport a msg saying they are all out of face concealments and to check back to see if they have more in the future….


This is from referring to the n95 masks.”Coronaviruses in humans are between 0.1 and 0.2 microns large, meaning by themselves they can get through, but the viruses often travel on drops of mucus or other large molecules that the mask can block .” This alarming because people think that these masks will protect them.


Remove shoes before coming into the house. Shoes not only bring in dirt, but likewise bacteria, mold and viruses. So, adopt the custom of expecting everyone to remove shoes and leave them outside.


I’m sorry but I don’t understand what is meant by the dwell time. If it has a dwell time of 10 minutes, does that mean it has to be on the surface and visibly still there( like soaking) for 10 minutes? Or does it mean that after applied, you have to wait ten minutes for the virus to be killed? Because take alcohol for example after applied to hand quickly evaporates( if that’s what happens )? Is that why it isn’t effective ?? Because it doesn’t stay on the surface for 10 minutes??


That’s exactly right. It’s the amount of time the surface has to stay wholly wet with the disinfectant to ensure the virus is dead. If the disinfectant begins to evaporate, you have to spray it again for 10 minutes, or whatever the dwell time is. That’s why the specific brands of the Purell cleaner and Oxivir are recommended in this article.


Will odoban work against the coronavirus?


I have been using Odoban disinfectant because Lysol and Clorox are very harsh and require masks, gloves, and goggles. at first I didn’t think so, but with frequency it left home coughing and wanting to rub my eyes. That wasn’t the only negative, they all stank, very much. Odoban doesn’t. So the EPA approved list is out and Odoban isn’t on the list.

I scoured but can’t find that it kills norovirus but it says it can kill HIV -1, Influenza A/ Hong Kong, and Herpes Simplex Type 2 in 60 seconds. I don’t know if those are envelope or non-envelope. I bought 2 five gallon pails before any of this covid -19 and I really like the smell, going to suck having to find something else if that is necessary.

I’m tempted to call the company and ask if it’s effective for cleanup off novel corona virus. I’m not a pharmacist or sanitation expert so they could tell me what I want to hear and I still wouldn’t know the difference..