How to Safely Clean and Disinfect for Coronavirus

How to Safely Clean and Disinfect for Coronavirus

6/24/2020 | Nina Hwang, MPH

Are you concerned about properly disinfecting for coronavirus while also protecting people from the health risks associated with hazardous chemical exposure? 

Green Seal’s new Guidelines for Safer COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfection spell out five effective and responsible cleaning practices for occupant health and safety during the pandemic. 

Improper cleaning and disinfection practices – such as neglecting required product contact times, using inappropriate procedures or application methods, or failing to communicate with cleaning workers and building tenants – can expose building occupants to unsafe levels of hazardous chemicals while failing to protect them from COVID-19.

Our Guidelines explain how to:

 Earn LEED Credit 

Implementing the five best practices can contribute to earning the new LEED® Pilot Credit - Safety First: Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Space, promoting easy adoption by project managers seeking LEED® credit. The Guidelines also align with the requirements in the features related to cleaning products, practices, and protocols in WELL v2 and the recently announced WELL Health Safety Rating for Facilities Management and Operations. 

Green Seal-certified cleaning services already are verified to meet strict third-party standards for safe and effective cleaning and disinfecting, including rigorous requirements for training and operations. The Guidelines provide these best-in-class cleaning services additional guidance for pandemic-specific practices.


Safer Disinfectants for COVID-19

In addition to the Disinfecting Guidelines, we’ve curated EPA’s list of recommended disinfectants for COVID-19 to help you identify those with safer active ingredients, below. 

When considering EPA’s list N, Green Seal recommends choosing products with the following active ingredients: 

  • hydrogen peroxide**
  • citric acid
  • lactic acid
  • ethyl alcohol (also called ethanol or just alcohol)
  • isopropyl alcohol
  • peroxyacetic acid** 
  • sodium bisulfate
  • hypochlorous acid

 EPA’s List N includes several products with these active ingredients, including:  

  • Force of Nature Activator Capsule*** (EPA Registration No. 93040-1) (10-minute contact time)
  • EnvirOx Critical Care (Registered under the name Axen(R) 30) (EPA Registration No. 72977-3) (3-minute contact time)
  • Clorox Commercial Solutions Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfecting Cleaner and Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant (EPA Registration No. 67619-24) (1-minute contact time)
  • Diversey’s Oxivir Wipes (EPA Registration No. 70627-60) (1-minute contact time)
  • GOJO Industries PURELL Multi-Surface Disinfecting Cleaner, PURELL Multi Surface Disinfectant and PURELL Professional Surface Disinfectant (registered under the name URTHPro) (EPA Registration No. 84368-1) (1-minute contact time)
  • Ecolab’s Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant (EPA Registration No. 1677-238) (2-minute contact time)
  • Ecolab’s Peroxide Disinfectant and Glass Cleaner RTU (EPA Registration No. 1677-251) (.75 minute contact time)
  • Clorox Pet Solutions Advanced Formula Disinfecting Stain & Odor Remover (EPA Registration No. 5813-110) (5-minute contact time)
  • Clorox Commercial Solutions® Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes and Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Cleaner Disinfectant Wipes (EPA Registration No. 67619-25) (2-minute contact time)
  • Diversey’s Oxivir TB Ready-to-Use Liquid (EPA Registration No. 70627-56) (1-minute contact time) (1-minute contact time)
  • Diversey’s Oxivir Five 16 (registered under the name Oxy-Team Disinfectant) (EPA Registration No. 70627-58) (5-minute contact time)
  • Diversey’s Alpha HP Multi-Surface Disinfectant Cleaner (registered under the name Phato 1:64 Disinfectant Cleaner) (EPA Registration No. 70627-62) (5-minute contact time)
  • Lysol Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner (EPA Registration No. 675-55) (5-minute contact time)
  • GOJO Industries PURELL Professional Surface Disinfecting Wipes (EPA Registration No. 84150-1) (5-minute contact time)

In addition to choosing the active ingredient that you are the most comfortable with, it is important to look at the safety of the overall disinfectant product, including inactive ingredients. The product safety data sheet (SDS) provides information on whether the overall product is classified as hazardous according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The SDS also includes information on protective measures and safety precautions for using the product. As always, read the label carefully and follow the directions for safe, effective use.

**The combination of hydrogen peroxide and peroxyacetic acid is a designated AOEC asthmagen, so avoid products that contain both.
***Green Seal Certified