One of the most broad-spectrum and non-toxic sanitiser ingredients is food-grade (non-denatured) ethanol. Ethanol has been demonstrated to have potent antiviral and antibacterial actions, and 60%-70% ethanol solution is known to inhibit infectivity of coronaviruses to less than 1/1000th baseline infectivity after 1 minute (1). 80%-85% ethanol has been shown to inactivate SARS coronavirus to below limits of detection in one study (2), and to inhibit replication to less than 1/316,000th baseline infectivity in another (3). This paper recommends ethanol solution for disinfecting surfaces in the recent SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) pandemic, and demonstrates that this is far more potent than the other common disinfectants chlorhexidine and benzalkonium chloride (3). The broad-spectrum activity of ethanol can also potentially be augmented with the use of propylene glycol, a food-safe and nontoxic antibacterial, limiting the risk of coinfection (4).
1 - Hulkower, R. L., Casanova, L. M., Rutala, W. A., Weber, D. J., & Sobsey, M. D. (2011). Inactivation of surrogate coronaviruses on hard surfaces by health care germicides. American journal of infection control, 39(5), 401-407.
2 - Rabenau, H. F., Kampf, G., Cinatl, J., & Doerr, H. W. (2005). Efficacy of various disinfectants against SARS coronavirus. Journal of Hospital Infection, 61(2), 107-111.
3 - Kampf, G., Todt, D., Pfaender, S., & Steinmann, E. (2020). Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and its inactivation with biocidal agents. Journal of Hospital Infection.
4 - Robertson, O. H., Bigg, E., Puck, T. T., Miller, B. F., & With the Technical Assistance of Elizabeth A. Appell. (1942). The bactericidal action of propylene glycol vapor on microorganisms suspended in air. I. The Journal of experimental medicine, 75(6), 593-610.