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Disinfecting Wipes: don’t assume they will kill the COVID-19 virus, Expert warns

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Many disinfectants for Coronavirus or wipes do, but just because they claim “disinfecting” don’t conclude they will destroy the COVID-19 virus. So how can you be sure of it?

“The label will tell you what germs the wipes can kill, so look for the COVID-19 virus on the label,” says Infectious disease specialist Carla McWilliams, MD.

There are hundreds of EPA-registered disinfectants that can kill the COVID-19 virus. Don’t worry about one particular ingredient or brand. Just read the label.

These disposable disinfectants for Coronavirus have a germ-killing solution on them. Disinfecting wipes are for hard surfaces in your home. They don’t work on soft surfaces like clothing or upholstery.

“They’re designed to kill viruses and bacteria on hard surfaces like doorknobs, counters, TV remotes and even phones,” says Dr. McWilliams.

The germ-killing ingredient on disinfecting wipes is a chemical pesticide, so you shouldn’t use them on your skin. You also shouldn’t use them on food (for example, don’t clean an apple with one before you eat it).

The word “pesticide” may be concerning, but don’t panic. As long as your disinfecting wipes are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they’re safe to use as directed.

And don’t get confused with Antibacterial wipes.

“Antibacterial wipes kill bacteria, not viruses,” says Dr. McWilliams.

They’re usually for your hands, but read the directions to be sure. And COVID-19 is a virus, not bacteria, so antibacterial wipes may not kill it. That’s why reading the label is so important.

Soap and water instead?

“Using disinfectant ingredients is important in protecting your home if someone brings COVID-19 into your home,” Dr. McWilliams says.

There’s nothing wrong with soap and water for everyday cleaning. But in certain cases, disinfectant is better at killing all the germs than when you clean with soap and water alone.

According to new guidance from the CDC, as long as no one with COVID-19 is in your home, washing surfaces with water and soap or detergent once a day is sufficient. 

To find out which wipes can kill the COVID-19 virus, check the EPA’s running list of disinfectants for the COVID-19 virus.

Image Credit: iStock

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