How to Safely Clean and Disinfect for Coronavirus


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 Disinfecting Ingredients for COVID-19

When it comes to disinfectants that are effective against the virus that causes COVID-19, some active ingredients are safer than others. While EPA does not allow third-party certifications for disinfectants, Green Seal has curated U.S. EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus to help you identify safer ones.

Green Seal recommends choosing List N disinfectants with the following active ingredients. Unlike other active ingredients commonly found in disinfectants, the active ingredients we recommend are not linked to asthma, cancer, endocrine disruption, DNA damage or skin irritation. 

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

Products With Safer Disinfecting Ingredients

Green Seal has compiled a list of EPA List N disinfectants that use safer active ingredients. This is only a partial list; check List N for other options. As always, read the label carefully and follow the directions for safe, effective use.

  • Accel 5 RTU
    EPA Registration No. 74559-8 • 5-minute contact time
  • Angel
    EPA Registration No. 777-126 • 10-minute contact time
  • Annihilyte 
    EPA Registration No. 92449-1 • 10-minute contact time
  • Bona STL Disinfecting Cleaner
    EPA Registration No. 91861-2 • 10-minute contact time
  • CleanCide
    EPA Registration No. 34810-35 • 5-minute contact time
  • Diversey’s Oxivir TB Ready-to-Use Liquid
    EPA Registration No. 70627-56 • 1-minute contact time
  • Ecolab’s Peroxide Multi Surface Cleaner and Disinfectant
    EPA Registration No. 1677-238 • 2-minute contact time
  • ECOS Multi-Purpose Disinfectant & Sanitizer, fresh citrus
    EPA Registration No. 34810-35-82206 • 5-minute contact time
  • ECOS Multi-Purpose Disinfectant Wipes, fresh citrus
    EPA Registration No. 34810-37-82206 • 3-minute contact time
  • ECOS PRO Multi-Surface Disinfectant & Sanitizer, fresh citrus
    EPA Registration No. 34810-35-82206 • 5-minute contact time
  • Facility + RTU
    EPA Registration No. 45745-12 • 1-minute contact time
  • Force of Nature Activator Capsule***
    EPA Registration No. 93040-1 • 10-minute contact time
  • Hydra
    EPA Registration No. 10772-21 • 5-minute contact time
  • Lemi Shine Disinfecting Wipes 
    EPA Registration No. 34810-37-92388 • 3-minute contact time
  • PURELL Healthcare Surface Disinfectant 
    EPA Registration No. 84368-1-84150 • 30-second contact time
  • PURELL Professional Food Service Surface Sanitizer 
    EPA Registration No. 84368-1-84150 • 30-second contact time
  • PURELL Professional Surface Disinfectant 
    EPA Registration No. 84368-1-84150 • 30-second contact time
  • UrthPRO
    EPA Registration No. 84368-1 • 30-second contact time
  • Viking Pure Disinfectant
    EPA Registration No. 87542-1 • 10-minute contact time
  • Wexford Disinfectant Wipes EPA Registration
    No. 34810-37 • 3-minute contact time
  • Windex Disinfectant Cleaner 
    EPA Registration No. 4822-593 • 10-minute contact time

It is also 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.

Nina Hwang, MPH

Nina Hwang, MPH is an environmental scientist at Green Seal.