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How Products Are Tested to Determine COVID-19 Virus Killing Claims

Disinfectants need to back up their claims in order to promote efficacy against a specific virus like the common cold, flu or COVID-19.

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In the U.S., any disinfecting product that claims to kill viruses, bacteria or other organisms needs to be verified with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nationally and state-wide before it can be sold on shelves or marketed online to consumers. To gain that official kill claim, Clorox follows a detailed testing process through a lab required by the EPA. Learn how we back up our claims below.

How disinfectants are tested for efficacy against viruses

Disinfectants need to back up their claims in order to promote efficacy against a specific virus like the common cold, flu or COVID-19. Clorox Scientists follow strict product efficacy testing requirements established by the EPA for claim verification. This government body involves evaluations of our disinfectant product in a lab under Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) conditions. The criteria tested for efficacy against viruses are:

  • Product Application
  • Surface Type
  • Contact Time
  • Reproducibility
  • Consistency of Results

The EPA-approval process

The approval process to get a product claim by the EPA is comprehensive and thorough. It takes several months for the agency to review our claim and our lab data based on the performance criteria above. Once a disinfectant gets official EPA approval, it allows us to legally promote the disinfecting virus-killing claims on our product’s packaging and advertising.

Emerging pathogens guidance vs. COVID-19 germ killing claims

Sometimes when a new virus emerges like COVID-19, it’s not readily available for disinfectant efficacy testing in labs. In these situations, the EPA utilizes its Emerging Viral Pathogens Policy to quickly identify disinfectant products that can be used to kill the new virus based on that specific disinfectant’s efficacy against similar or more challenging viruses. For the COVID-19 virus, there are select Clorox disinfectant products that are part of the Emerging Viral Pathogens Policy that has shown efficacy against a harder-to-kill virus.

As time goes on, disinfectants will be tested for efficacy against the COVID-19 virus and you will start seeing official EPA kill claims against it on select products. Since it’s not possible for all disinfectants to receive those claims at the same time, it is important to know which Clorox products are part of the Emerging Viral Pathogen Policy to understand all the products available for purchase that effectively help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. All products on EPA’s List N meet the agency’s criteria for use against the COVID-19 virus per this policy, or they have a claim against Human Coronavirus.

For a full list of these products, usage instructions and more information about disinfecting and the COVID-19 virus, click here.