If you have touched a surface that may have been contaminated, the most effective way to kill the virus is to either use hand sanitizer or wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. You must also try not to touch your face before cleaning your hands, as this could cause infection.
Hand sanitizers with at least 70% alcohol, and most EPA-registered household disinfectants, should all be effective against the coronavirus.
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).
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.