9 Active Ingredients for Disinfection of Covid-19 Virus (Listed by NEA Singapore)

1) Accelerated hydrogen peroxide (0.5%)a

Contact Time: 1 Minute

Accelerated hydrogen peroxide products are recently introduced EPA-registered surface disinfectants; they are bactericidal, virucidal, fungicidal, sporicidal, and mycobactericidal. These products have a generally short contact time, with some products having a 30-second to 1-minute bactericidal and virucidal claim, and a 5-minute mycobactericidal claim. Lower-level concentrations are used for disinfecting hard surfaces, while higher-level concentrations (2%) are used for high-level disinfection. These compounds are commonly used, considered safe for EVS staff (i.e., lowest EPA toxicity category IV), surface compatible, non corrosive, and unaffected by organic material. In addition, accelerated hydrogen peroxide products are generally considered benign for the environment. However, they are more expensive than other disinfectants such as quaternary ammonium.

2) Benzalkonium chloride* (0.05%)b

Contact Time: 10 Minutes

Benzalkonium Chloride is primarily used as a preservative and antimicrobial agent, and secondarily used as a surfactant. It works by killing microorganisms and inhibiting their future growth, and for this reason frequently appears as an ingredient in antibacterial hand wipes, antiseptic creams and anti-itch ointments. In cosmetics, its antimicrobial properties are employed to protect products from spoiling. It’s mostly used in personal care products like rash creme, foot odor powder, facial lotion, cleanser, makeup and sunscreen.

3) Chloroxylenol (0.12%)c 

Contact Time: 10 Minutes

Chloroxylenol is used in hospitals and households for disinfection and sanitation. It is also commonly used in antibacterial soaps, wound-cleansing applications and household antiseptics such as Dettol liquid (to which it contributes its distinctive odor), cream and ointments.


4) Ethyl alcohol (70%)d

Contact Time: 10 Minutes

Alcohols have been used effectively to disinfect oral and rectal thermometers, hospital pagers, scissors, and stethoscopes. Alcohols have been used to disinfect fiberoptic endoscopes but failure of this disinfectant have lead to infection. Alcohol towelettes have been used for years to disinfect small surfaces such as rubber stoppers of multiple-dose medication vials or vaccine bottles. Furthermore, alcohol occasionally is used to disinfect external surfaces of equipment (e.g., stethoscopes, ventilators, manual ventilation bags) 506, CPR manikins, ultrasound instruments or medication preparation areas. Two studies demonstrated the effectiveness of 70% isopropyl alcohol to disinfect reusable transducer heads in a controlled environment. In contrast, three bloodstream infection outbreaks have been described when alcohol was used to disinfect transducer heads in an intensive-care setting.

Ethyl alcohol, at concentrations of 60%–80%, is a potent virucidal agent inactivating all of the lipophilic viruses (e.g., herpes, vaccinia, and influenza virus) and many hydrophilic viruses (e.g., adenovirus, enterovirus, rhinovirus, and rotaviruses but not hepatitis A virus (HAV) 58 or poliovirus) 49. Isopropyl alcohol is not active against the nonlipid enteroviruses but is fully active against the lipid viruses 72. Studies also have demonstrated the ability of ethyl and isopropyl alcohol to inactivate the hepatitis B virus(HBV) 224, 225 and the herpes virus, 490 and ethyl alcohol to inactivate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 227, rotavirus, echovirus, and astrovirus

5) Iodine in iodophor (50 ppm)b 

Contact Time: 10 Minutes

In its over-the-counter form, iodine is used in a tincture, ointment or gel to disinfect the skin and prevent or treat infections. For example, you might apply a liquid tincture of iodine to a cut or scrape. Iodine kills bacteria that can cause an infection. This type of iodine is for topical use only. When used as a disinfectant, iodine is often combined with another ingredient called povidone, and you might see it listed in a product’s ingredients as povidone-iodine.


6) Isopropanol (50%)b

Contact Time: 10 Minutes

Isopropyl alcohol, particularly in solutions between 60% and 90% alcohol with 10 – 40% purified water, is rapidly antimicrobial against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Once alcohol concentrations drop below 50%, usefulness for disinfection drops sharply. Notably, higher concentrations of alcohol don’t generate more desirable bactericidal, virucidal, or fungicidal properties.

The presence of water is a crucial factor in destroying or inhibiting the growth of pathogenic microorganisms with isopropyl alcohol. Water acts as a catalyst and plays a key role in denaturing the proteins of vegetative cell membranes. 70% IPA solutions penetrate the cell wall more completely which permeates the entire cell, coagulates all proteins, and therefore the microorganism dies. Extra water content slows evaporation, therefore increasing surface contact time and enhancing effectiveness. Isopropyl alcohol concentrations over 91% coagulate proteins instantly. Consequently, a protective layer is created which protects other proteins from further coagulation.

7) Povidone-iodine

Contact Time: 1 Minute

Free iodine, slowly liberated from the povidone-iodine (PVP-I) complex in solution, kills eukaryotic or prokaryotic cells through iodination of lipids and oxidation of cytoplasmic and membrane compounds. This agent exhibits a broad range of microbicidal activity against bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and viruses. Slow release of iodine from the PVP-I complex in solution minimizes iodine toxicity towards mammalian cells.

Povidone-iodine is a broad spectrum antiseptic for topical application in the treatment and prevention of wound infection. It may be used in first aid for minor cuts, grazes, burns, abrasions and blisters. Povidone-iodine exhibits longer lasting antiseptic effects than tincture of iodine, due to its slow absorption via soft tissue, making it the choice for longer surgeries. Chlorhexidine provides similar results, but with equal toxicity concerns.



8) Sodium hypochlorite (0.05 – 0.5%)d, e

Contact Time: 5 Minutes

Chlorine solutions (Cl2, NaOCL, Ca[OCl]2, ClO) have been used extensively as disinfectants and antiseptics since the 1800s11. Guidance documents on use of these compounds for environmental and healthcare infection control in the context of the Ebola preparedness and response in the United States have recently been published9. Chlorine solutions are oxidative chemicals and have broad-spectrum activity against a wide variety of microorganisms, from viruses to protozoa.

9) Sodium chlorite (0.23%)b

Contact Time: 10 Minutes

Sodium chlorite, NaClO2, sometimes in combination with zinc chloride, also finds application as a component in therapeutic rinses, mouthwashes, toothpastes and gels, mouth sprays, as preservative in eye drops, and in contact lens cleaning solution under the trade name Purite.

It is also used for sanitizing air ducts and HVAC/R systems and animal containment areas (walls, floors, and other surfaces).