Kill Coronavirus by Disinfecting Surfaces with Bleach

In a nutshell…
This article introduces a user-friendly poster featuring directions for preparing a solution of chlorine bleach and water to disinfect frequently touched surfaces against the coronavirus (COVID-19 virus). The poster may be freely downloaded. Directions given are recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


An image of the COVID-19 virus, which can last on surfaces for up to nine days but can be destroyed with a dilute chlorine bleach solution

Image courtesy of the CDC Public Health Image Library, Alissa Eckert, MS, Dan Higgins, MAMS

As our society adapts to the new realities of life during the COVID-19 pandemic, we wish to offer a simple formula for disinfecting surfaces against the “globe-trotting” “novel coronavirus” (COVID-19 virus). The CDC reports that just ⅓ of a cup of regular chlorine bleach can be mixed with 1 gallon of water to make a solution that can destroy the virus on frequently touched hard surfaces, such as door knobs, handrails, and toilets. Surfaces must stay wet with the solution for 1 minute to be effective. To prepare a smaller volume of solution, mix 4 teaspoons of bleach into 1 quart of water. The solution can be applied with a cloth or poured into a clean spray bottle and sprayed onto surfaces.

Solutions should be made fresh daily as bleach loses its effectiveness over time. Never mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaning products as harmful gases can be produced. 

The disinfecting solution works best when surfaces are first washed with soapy water and then rinsed with clear water. We invite you to download the poster, which uses pictograms to illustrate all the steps needed to disinfect frequently touched surfaces. An image of the poster is shown below. 

Linda F. Golodner is President Emeritus of the National Consumers League and Vice Chair of the Water Quality & Health Council.

Click here to download this article.