These 2 Everyday Items Can Kill COVID in 2 Minutes, New Study Says

Researchers found that these products you may have in your bathroom effectively inactivate COVID.

It's safe to say that the arrival of the novel coronavirus has made us more aware of cleanliness and overall hygiene in our daily lives. In fact, it's made us so aware that we're continuously buying up the go-to cleaning products we rely on, making them hard to find even seven months into the pandemic. Fortunately, it turns out there are more everyday products around your house that can effectively kill the coronavirus. New research out of Penn State found that antiseptic mouthwash and baby shampoo can rid you of the virus in under two minutes. Read on to find out more, and to see if you should pay extra attention to virus killers, check out How Bad the COVID Outbreak Is in Your State.

The new research from the Penn State College of Medicine, which was published in the Journal of Medical Virology, tested various household products to see if they could have any effect on "deactivating" the coronavirus, including a neti pot, peroxide sore-mouth cleansers, mouthwashes, and a 1% solution of baby shampoo. While the former two proved to be no match for COVID, the results showed that the baby shampoo solution—which is often used by head and neck doctors to rinse out sinuses—killed 99.9 percent of coronaviruses within two minutes of contact time, while mouthwash did the same in just 30 seconds.

The researchers say that the discovery could be particularly helpful in slowing the spread of the virus while the public awaits the release of an effective vaccine. "People who test positive for COVID-19 and return home to quarantine may possibly transmit the virus to those they live with," Craig Meyers, PhD, a professor of microbiology and immunology and a researcher at Penn State Cancer Institute, said in a statement. "Even if the use of these solutions could reduce transmission by 50 percent, it would have a major impact."

Read on to find out more about what else has been proven to kill coronavirus, and for more news from this week, check out The CDC Now Says You Should Wear Your Mask in These 7 Places.


A young woman standing in the sunlight on a balcony because the sun kills coronavirus

If you've ever experienced the pain of a bad sunburn, you know that the sun's rays pack more of a punch than just making things bright. A study published in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology in June concluded that "90 percent or more of SARS-CoV-2 virus will be inactivated after being exposed [to summer sun] for 11 to 34 minutes." And if you're concerned you could have the virus, check out If You Can't Smell These 2 Things, You May Have COVID.

Far-UVC light

UVC light used to disinfect coronavirus

Just because you don't have unlimited access to sunlight in all areas of your house doesn't mean you can't harness the power of light to sterilize your mask, phone, and more. Multiple studies have shown that far-UVC light can effectively inactivate the coronavirus in minutes.

"Far-UVC light has the potential to be a 'game changer,'" David Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics and director of the Center for Radiological Research, said in a statement. "It can be safely used in occupied public spaces, and it kills pathogens in the air before we can breathe them in." And for more on this COVID-killing innovation, Here's What to Know About UV-C Light.

Alcohol-based sanitizer

School students wearing N95 face masks and using hand sanitizer. Sitting in a classroom. Close up of hands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states in their guidelines that you should be using hand rub (ABHR) with 60-95 percent alcohol to clean your hands whenever you don't have access to running water and soap. But not all hand sanitizers are made equal: Make sure you're not using one that's been deemed toxic or unsafe for containing methanol instead of ethanol (often labeled as ethyl alcohol) or isopropanol. And to discover signs that you may have been infected with the coronavirus, check out If Your Food Tastes Like These 2 Things, You May Have COVID.

Lysol Disinfectant Spray

According to the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) list of products that can kill COVID-19, everyday Lysol Disinfectant Spray inactivates SARS-CoV-2 after two minutes of contact time, i.e. the number of minutes the product needs to sit on the surface being cleaned before you wipe it up. The classic Lysol Disinfectant Spray was added to the list in July when lab tests concluded that it was effective against the virus, as was Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist.

Zep cleaners

Zep Antibacterial Disinfectant & Cleaner with Lemon

According to the EPA's list of COVID killers, three Zep disinfectants inactivate COVID on surfaces in just one minute: Zep Antibacterial Disinfectant & Cleaner with Lemon, Zep Spirit II Ready-To-Use Detergent Disinfectant, and Zep All-Purpose Bathroom Disinfectant. And for more regular updates on COVID and more, sign up for our daily newsletter.


Pine-Sol Original Multi-Surface Cleaner

The Clorox Company announced in September that third-party laboratory testing had been approved by the EPA saying that Pine-Sol was shown to be effective against the novel coronavirus with "10-minute contact time on hard non-porous surfaces," according to a statement. If you're using it to combat COVID, let it sit for the full 10 minutes to make sure the Pine-Sol does its job.



As a powerful disinfectant, a diluted bleach solution can come through in a pinch as an effective way to clean non-porous surfaces. To combat the coronavirus, the CDC recommends a diluted bleach solution made up of ⅓ cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per 1 quart of water. Just make sure to toss it at the end of the day because it will lose its potency. Also, remember to wear protective gloves when working with bleach and, though it should go without saying, don't drink it.

Best Life is constantly monitoring the latest news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed. Here are the answers to your most burning questions, the ways you can stay safe and healthy, the facts you need to know, the risks you should avoid, the myths you need to ignore,and the symptoms to be aware of. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.
Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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