Tiff's Cleaning Angels

Tiff’s Handy Tips

Household products that destroy coronavirus!

Two recent studies have investigated how long coronaviruses survive on different surfaces. The research looked at a number of different viruses including SARS-CoV-2-the coronavirus that has COVID-19. And it found that the survival times varied according to the type of surface.

The virus survived for longest on stainless steel and plastic- for up to nine days. The shortest survival of one day was for paper and cardboard.

The amount of virus particles during this time does reduce, but it’s worrying that the particles can last for days rather than hours or minutes on the surface. So, how good are the cleaning products already in your cupboards at killing SARS-CoV-2? There is some good news in the list below.

Soap and Water

Soap and water are your first line of defence to remove the virus from surfaces. Soap interferes with the fats in the virus shell and lifts the virus from surfaces and this is then rinsed off by water. Of course, you also need to wash your hands when you come in from the shops and wash your food as normal.

Surface Wipes

The active ingredients in surface wipes in an antiseptic – usually benzalkonium chloride. the wipes work by physically removing germs through the pressure you apply when you use them, and the germs then attach to the wipe. 

They also leave a layer of the antiseptic on the surface that works to kill germs. The antiseptic works well on bacteria as well as on coronaviruses. Antiseptics work by disrupting the fats in pathogen cells, but SARS- CoV2 does not contain many fats. So far, there is no evidence that antiseptics can kill human coronaviruses.

Hand Sanitiser

A word of warning though about hand sanitisers. The main ingredients in hand sanitisers that will  kill SARS-CoV-2 is ethanol, the alcohol in the surgical spirit. but it’s concentration in the sanitiser is very important it has to be 70% or it will not kill the virus effectively.

Surgical Spirit

Surgical spirit is mostly made up of the alcohol ethanol. ethanol has been shown to kill coronavirus in as little as 30 seconds. Like bleach , the alcohol destroys the protein and RNA that the virus is made up of. Moisten a cloth with some neat surgical spirit and rub it over a surface. This will evaporate and you will not need to wipe it off.


The active ingredients in bleach – sodium hypochlorite- is very effective at killing the virus. Make sure you leave the bleach to work for 10-15 minutes then give the surface a wipe with a clean cloth. The bleach works by destroying the protein and what’s known as the ribonucleic acid (RNA)of the virus-this is the substance that gives the blueprint for making more virus particles when you become infected. Be sure to use the bleach as directed on the bottle.