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The Best Disinfectants to Use Against Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Written by jsolloway on . Posted in , .

Many people are calling our office (603-641-6555) with questions about how to deal with the coronavirus as it pertains to cleaning and disinfecting their facility. A good portion of the conversation typically revolves around the cleaning process and the disinfectant products used. This article focuses on what disinfectant products should be used against coronavirus (COVID-19) during this current epidemic.

Cleaning versus Disinfecting

Before discussing specifics about the best disinfectant products to use against coronavirus, it is important to first define two key terms: cleaning and disinfecting. While both terms are commonly interchangeable in our daily vernacular, they have drastically different meaning when it comes to our current situation of fighting COVID-19 in our facilities. The following definitions are direct from the CDC:

  • Cleaning – “refers to the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs. But by removing the germs, it decreases their number and therefore any risk of spreading infection.”
  • Disinfecting – “works by using chemicals, for example EPA-registered disinfectants, to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. But killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.”

To summarize the above, cleaning is the physical removal (i.e. wiping) and disinfecting is a chemical process. Both are important steps in disinfecting our buildings from infectious diseases.

What are the best chemicals to use in the fight against COVID-19?

Fortunately for consumers and commercial restoration companies, like Soil-Away, the EPA is doing a great job researching and listing appropriate disinfectants. They have a webpage dedicated to List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. To date there are 357 products on the list, and it is constantly being updated. This list is the best resource to find disinfectants to fight against COVID-19.

Best practices when searching for approved disinfectants on the EPA’s List N

The list does come with some common questions and challenges to first time users. Here are some helpful tips when searching chemicals on the EPA’s site.

  • Use the “search” feature: At the top of the list, there is a “search” feature to help you sort through the list. Don’t waste your time scrolling through 350+ line items.
  • Don’t give up if you can’t find a certain product: Many disinfectants go by different brand names but are actually equivalent products. Think for example about how many different bleach or window cleaner brands and manufacturers there are. If you are searching by brand name and not having luck, try to use the EPA registration number found on the label (see below).
  • Searching by EPA registration number: This is the most accurate way to find disinfectants on List N. The EPA registration number can be found on the label of any product. It will look something like: 54321-99-6789. In the search feature enter the first two sets of numbers. For example, if the full EPA registration number is 98765-10-1234, search 98765-10. Anything that matches the first two sets of number is an equivalent product. That last set of numbers is the distributor number.
  • When using the product READ THE LABEL FIRST: Reading the label may sound simple, but it is typically overlooked by users of disinfectant products. Safety first. Misusing products can not only be dangerous to your health, but it might also be wasting product and your efforts to disinfect will not be as effective.

Soil-Away will only use List N disinfectants in your facility

Now that you know how to identify approved disinfectants to use against the coronavirus (COVID-19), the next issue if finding them to purchase and/or figuring out who is going to apply them. Disinfectant supply chains and qualified labor pools to clean are becoming overwhelmed. Fortunately, at Soil-Away our job is to prepare for such situations so we can best serve our clients.

Soil-Away teams are on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic in our community. We are serving dozens of local businesses by cleaning and applying EPA approved disinfectants on a daily basis. Currently we are serving pharmacies, manufacturing plants, police/fire stations, ambulance services, senior living facilities, educational institutions, financial offices, warehouses, churches, insurance companies and government contractor facilities. We are only using EPA approved List N disinfectants.

If your company is looking for facility solutions related to fighting coronavirus, give us a call today – 603-641-6555. We are currently offering solutions for the following:

  • Proactive maintenance plans
  • Emergency response plans for confirmed cases
  • Re-entry cleaning for currently vacated buildings

Soil-Away is here to serve you during these challenging times.


This article was composed utilizing the most current information available at the time it was written by resources such as the CDC and EPA. The COVID-19 pandemic is a rapidly evolving situation. Please understand that information and best practices are constantly being updated by health and government officials. Everything in this article is subject to change. Soil-Away is making every effort to support your facility needs at this time and will continue to monitor changes and adjust its best practices as new information becomes available. At this time, Soil-Away is cleaning facilities by applying EPA List-N approved disinfectants. Clients who engage with Soil-Away understand that no guarantees can be made about cleaning and disinfecting results, and that any information provided is for the purpose of sharing information, and not for providing definitive advice.

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