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Disinfecting Against the New Corona Virus Variants

New Corona Virus Variants Causing Concern

Each day we are hearing in the news about the emergence of new virus strains of the human corona virus that causes COVID-19.  There are some indications the strains are more virulent and can produce more serious illness, creating concerns amongst public health professionals.

All viruses constantly change through mutation and as expected, researchers have discovered new variants of the human corona virus that causes COVID-19.   A new virus variant has one or more mutations that differentiate it from the predominant virus variants already circulating among the general population.   Several new variants causing concern have been found in UK, Brazil, and S. Africa and now are believed to be spreading globally.

These concerns leads to questions amongst the public and sanitation professionals about whether the disinfectants they are using now will be effective against the new corona virus variants.

This article will address the issue and provide some guidance on how you might consider upping your disinfecting game to keep employees, customers, students, staff, and teachers safe.

Do disinfectants kill newer strains of coronavirus?

The EPA and CDC are still recommending List N disinfectants for SARS-CoV-2; there has not been a change regarding the efficacy of disinfectants or infection control procedures.

Below is the EPA Statement in response to the above question:

“EPA expects all products on List N to kill all strains of SARS-CoV-2. Genetic changes to the virus do not impact the efficacy of disinfectants.

List N disinfectants work by chemically inactivating viruses. The difficulty of killing a virus depends on its physical features, and the recent mutations to SARS-CoV-2 have not changed the basic physical properties”

Understanding EPA LIST N Disinfectants for Corona Virus (COVID-19)

The EPA developed the LIST N of disinfectants that are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2, the human corona virus that causes COVID-19.  The purpose was simply to give the public quick access to a comprehensive list of disinfectants they could use confidently to disinfect surfaces against the virus.

If you want to search list N for a particular disinfectant, please note you should search by EPA registration number, which is clearly listed on the label for any disinfectant.  If the product does not have an EPA registration number, you won’t find it on list N.  Below is a list of Multi-Clean brand disinfectants that can be found on list N.

Primary EPA registration number:  This is the number that identifies a product on LIST N.  Any product with this number is approved regardless of the company name.  This number can always be found on the product label.

Primary Registrant:  This is the principle company that initiated registration.  This company subregisters (licenses) other companies to produce disinfectants under the primary EPA reg.  Companies such as Lonza and Stepan are considered primary registrants, Multi-Clean subregisters under these companies to produce and distribute the disinfectant products.

Emerging Pathogen Claim:  This claim means the disinfectant has proven effective against a pathogen that is more difficult to kill than a human corona virus.  This designation for a disinfectant allows a claim that the product is effective on SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19.

Contact Time:  This is the time the surface should stay moist in order to kill the pathogen.

Methods to Apply Disinfectants

Trigger Spray and Wipe:  Using a trigger sprayer to apply disinfectant to a surface then wiping is still a tried and true method if done correctly.


Disinfecting is not the same as cleaning. Always leave the surface visibly moist and allow it to air dry. This insures appropriate contact time is achieved. NEVER wipe the surface to dryness as you would if you were cleaning.

Disinfecting Wipes: Wipes are a popular convenience item since the wipe material is pre-wetted with the disinfectant solution and the wipe material is throw away.  Read How to Make Your Own Disinfecting Wipes

Sustainability Tip

While wipes are convenient, they are far more expensive than using properly diluted concentrates and re-usable cloths.  Consider replacing or supplementing wipes with other methods to save money and reduce waste.

Microfiber Cloth and Bucket:  A common method is to put clean microfiber towels into a bucket then moisten with a disinfecting solution.  These moistened towels are used to clean and disinfect surfaces.  To avoid cross contamination issues, the used cloth is put into a bucket designated for laundering.

Mop and Bucket:  If you are cleaning and disinfecting floors, the mop and bucket is one of the oldest methods of application.  But even the venerable mop and bucket has evolved.

Quick Tip

One of simplest updates to the old mop and bucket is the dual chamber mop bucket.  One side of the bucket holds clean solution, the other soiled solution.  The mop is dipped into the clean solution, but always wrung into the soiled solution chamber.  This avoids the all to common scenario of mopping a floor with a dirty solution.

Electrostatic Sprayers:  The newest method to apply disinfectant solutions are with electrostatic sprayers.  These devices apply a small, attractive electric charge to the spray droplets.  The droplets are attracted to surfaces like opposite poles of a magnet.  These devices are extremely efficient at applying disinfectant  solutions over large areas.  Because the droplets are “charged” they can cover complex shapes without missing critical areas.  READ How Electrostatic Spray Disinfecting Can Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Quick Tip

Electrostatic Sprayer are great tools to help disinfectant areas quickly, they are not a substitute for cleaning.  Visibly soiled surfaces should always be cleaned first, prior to disinfectant application.

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