March 12, 2020
Regulatory, Health & Hygiene, Chemicals, Products

Is my disinfectant effective against the novel coronavirus?

The novel coronavirus designated SARS-CoV-2 (also referred to as COVID-19, the name of the illness it causes) first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China.  As it spreads rapidly throughout the world, the novel coronavirus is testing the capacity of health systems in many countries.  Proper disinfection of shared spaces is an important aspect of containing the spread of the virus, along with social distancing measures.  But how can you ensure that the disinfectant you are using is effective against coronavirus?

The disinfectant certification process

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is the primary legal authority in the US for regulating disinfectants, which are technically classified as a form of pesticide.  In order to be approved by EPA, a disinfectant must undergo substantial lab testing to verify its efficacy against common pathogens as well as safety for use around people.  Each "kill claim" requires additional testing at considerable time and expense, so many disinfectants are certified as effective against certain subsets of pathogens.

Understanding disinfectant registration

Due to the complicated nature of certification, the active ingredients in most disinfectants are manufactured by a small number of major suppliers.  Approved ingredients are then sub-registered to other manufactures, including Maintex.  Sub-registered products require the same rigorous quality control and labeling requirements as master registrations, and have the same kill claims and contact times.

All Maintex disinfectants are manufactured with EPA-approved active ingredients.


Our most popular concentrated disinfectant for novel coronavirus is CItra Cide, which has a ten minute contact time for novel coronavirus.  Turbo Kill is our ready-to-use disinfectant that is effective against novel coronavirus with a ten minute contact time.  For disinfecting food contact surfaces, use Sani-Cide Plus with a ten minute contact time.  Other Maintex disinfectants are also effective against novel coronavirus and eligible under the EPA Emerging Viral Pathogen Program.  Check with your Maintex sales consultant for more information.


Verifying a disinfectant is approved for novel coronavirus

Your supplier of disinfectant should provide an efficacy information sheet that lists all the kill claims, contact times, and testing procedures.  The most basic check is to look for a claim for "Human coronavirus."  This claim technically refers to previous strains of coronavirus including SARS and MERS.

For newer threats like the novel coronavirus, the EPA uses a certification regime called the Emerging Viral Pathogen Program.  This program certifies existing disinfectants based on preliminary data.  The EPA has released a list of disinfectants certified under the program in a document referred to as List N.

On the label of each disinfectant as well as on the specification sheet and efficacy information sheet is a registration number such as this one for Maintex Citra Cide: EPA Reg No. 47371-131-6885.  The first two number groupings correspond to the master registration for the active ingredient in the product.  The third number grouping indicates the Maintex sub-registration. Looking up the registration EPA List N displays the following information for Citra Cide under the master registration:

Clicking on the green plus next to the registration number on the digital version of EPA List N provides additional information.

The Clean Up

Frequent disinfecting is an important component of reducing the speed and spread of novel coronavirus.  Make sure you are using a disinfectant that is approved for coronavirus and follow all instructions for dilution and contact time.  Practice good hygiene including social distancing measures to help reduce the spread of this dangerous new threat.


Maintex is an industry-leading manufacturer and distributor of high quality janitorial supplies, cleaning chemicals, tools, and equipment in Southern California. We stock thousands of facilities items and offer a full range of cleaning programs, comprehensive training, and customized solutions.

Learn More About Maintex

Subscribe To Our Newsletter