There's Only One Way to Make Sure Your Disinfectant Works

You may be spraying down your counters on the daily, but this mistake could render your work useless.

We're all disinfecting like we never have before. Whether it's using up a bottle of hand sanitizer each day or going through a canister of Lysol wipes in a mere weekend, our disinfecting products are being put to use constantly to help keep our hands and homes safe from COVID-19. But while it may seem like your disinfectants are doing their job, are you 100 percent certain that's the case? If you're making one very common error, chances are high the answer is no.

In order to make sure your disinfectant works, you need to read the back of the bottle. While some disinfectants kill viruses and bacteria in 30 seconds, others can take 20 times that amount of time. And if you're wiping up your surfaces too fast after spraying them down, the virus could be lingering everywhere from your door knobs to your kitchen counters.

Spraying a disinfectant and immediately wiping it off is a classic disinfecting mistake, explains Jennifer Walden, WikiLawn Lawn Care's director of operations. "You might catch some surface bacteria, but anything deeper will linger," Walden previously told Best Life. "Read the label and see how long you need to wait. Most chemical disinfectants take about 10 minutes to activate."

In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed all the products that meet their criteria for use against COVID-19, and while six of the 116 disinfectants listed kill the novel coronavirus in 30 seconds, more than 60 take 10 minutes to do their dirty work. The rest fall somewhere in between.

So, be sure to double check the back of your bottle before you get paper towel happy and wipe up your disinfectant before it's killed the contagion you're desperately trying to avoid. And for some fast-acting disinfectants you should try, check out 10 Disinfectants That Kill Coronavirus Faster Than Lysol Wipes.

Jaimie Etkin
Jaimie is the Editor-in-Chief of Best Life. Read more
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