If you have touched a surface that may have been contaminated, the most safe and effective way to kill the virus is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or use hand sanitizer containing either 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethanol alcohol. You must also try not to touch your face before cleaning your hands, as this could cause infection.Use EPA-registered household disinfectants to disinfect coronavirus on surfaces only.
The CDC says to use 5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water to disinfect surfaces only (not recommended on skin).
In July and August 2020, the FDA issued a warning about the toxicity of many popular hand sanitizers sold in the United States as well as hand sanitizers that are not effective at killing COVID-19. No hand sanitizer is FDA approved. For this reason, it’s advisable to use hand sanitizer containing either 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethanol alcohol in situations where you can’t wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
The EPA lists products that should be effective against COVID-19.
Launder washable items in water that is as hot as possible. Don’t shake dirty laundry.
How long does the virus live on surfaces?
We do not have a definitive answer at this point, but the COVID-19 virus may behave like other coronaviruses, which linger on surfaces for a few hours, or up to several days.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says preliminary studies have found coronavirus in aerosols for up to 3 hours, up to 4 hours on copper, up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to 2–3 days on plastic and stainless steel.
A recent study that has yet to be peer-reviewed found evidence that infected patients without symptoms can spread coronavirus by breathing. Contaminated airborne particles were found within 6 feet of an infected person in an indoor environment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends disinfecting any surfaces you think might be contaminated.