EPA regulates the claims on pesticide product labels. EPA-registered surface disinfectants kill viruses at the time they are used. After use, if new viral particles come into contact with the surface, a previously applied disinfectant will not protect against these new particles.
While there are some EPA-registered products with residual efficacy against bacteria, there are no publicly available EPA-registered products that can be used to inactivate viruses over the course of hours to months after they are applied (i.e. "residual" or "long-lasting" efficacy claims).
EPA has allowed residual antiviral products to be used on an emergency basis under certain circumstances.
EPA is expediting the review process for products with residual efficacy against viruses like SARS-CoV-2. For more information, see this press release or EPA’s list of all products with residual efficacy that can be used against the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.
There are some antimicrobial pesticides that EPA calls materials preservatives that can be incorporated into articles. Known as “treated articles,” these plastics, textiles or other materials are treated with or contain a materials preservative to protect the article itself from mold or bacteria that can cause odor, discoloration or deterioration.
Treated articles cannot claim that they are effective against viruses and bacteria that cause human illness. This means that they are not appropriate for controlling COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you clean contaminated surfaces with liquid disinfectant products to prevent the spread of disease. Read CDC's recommendations.
View List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.
Learn more about how to protect yourself against COVID-19 by visiting CDC’s website.
Read our infographic on how to use disinfectants safely and effectively.
Return to Frequent Questions about Disinfectants and Coronavirus (COVID-19).