EPA Approves Microban 24-Hour Sanitizing Spray to Kill COVID-19

Microban sanitizing spray on table.

 Business Wire

Key Takeaways

  • The Environmental Protection Agency added Microban 24-Hour Sanitizing Spray to its list of disinfectants that can kill COVID-19.
  • The spray kills SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, within 60 seconds.
  • Microban 24 can also create a 24-hour protective shield against other bacteria and germs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added another product to its list of disinfectants to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19: Microban 24-Hour Sanitizing Spray.

This spray, which has been available to the public for months, can kill SARS-CoV-2 in 60 seconds or less, according to Procter and Gamble, the company behind Microban’s spray.

Microban 24 also has unique bragging rights: The spray can continue to kill certain germs and bacteria on surfaces for up to 24 hours after use. “The power behind Microban 24 is a multi-layer protective bacteria shield on the surface,” Kevin Wenzel, brand vice president of the North America surface care unit at Procter and Gamble, tells Verywell. “This multi-layer shield binds the bacteria-fighting ingredient to the surface, and keeps killing 99.9% of bacteria for 24 hours, even when contacted multiple times, when used as directed.”

The shield's 24-hour protection doesn’t include SARS-CoV-2, but does include other germs that can make you sick.

Wenzel says the spray was created with a forward-thinking mindset. “We saw a real need for innovation in a category that hadn’t seen any in several decades,” he says. “We know, now more than ever, that consumers are focused on keeping their households as healthy as they can, and we wanted to give them a product that works as hard as they do. With the 24-hour bacteria shield, we’re hoping to give consumers peace of mind that they don’t have to be constantly sanitizing the same surfaces over and over throughout the day.” 

What This Means For You

Microban 24-Hour Sanitizing Spray is another disinfectant proven to kill SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. If you can find it, it could be a handy tool to have in your home. You can also find a list of over 500 EPA approved products that kill SARS-CoV-2 here.

How Does the Spray Work?

The usage directions “may vary depending on the desired outcome,” Wenzel says. If you want to kill SARS-CoV-2, spray the surface with Microban 24 and then allow it to remain wet on the surface for 60 seconds. Then, you can wipe it off.

In order to get the 24-hour bacteria shield, you need to spray the product, walk away, and allow it to air dry. “Microban 24 Sanitizing Spray provides 24-hour bacteria protection through multiple touches, so we recommend that consumers identify high-touch spots in their home—light switches, door handles, stairway railings, remote controls, etc.,—and use the product there,” Wenzel says. He also recommends using it to sanitize soft surfaces like backpacks, bedding, and upholstered furniture.

What Other Products Can Kill COVID-19?

The EPA currently lists more than 500 disinfectants that can kill COVID-19. Other products include more commonly-known disinfectants like Lysol and Clorox, as well as some lesser-known products.

To get on the list, companies need to provide the EPA with data to prove that their product can actually kill SARS-CoV-2 in a reasonable amount of time, infectious disease expert David Cennimo, MD, assistant professor of medicine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, tells Verywell.

What Do Experts Think?

Jamie Alan, PhD, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, tells Verywell that Microban 24’s kill time for SARS-CoV-2 is “a little surprising,” noting that the time frame for similar products to work is between one and 10 minutes.

Still, Cennimo says, a lot of products can do this. “I am glad that they tested their product on SARS CoV-2 virus but, honestly, it is marketing,” he says. “You can only claim a product label for killing a bacteria/virus if you can show research demonstrating effect on that virus. In this case, they used SARS CoV-2 and killed it in a minute.”

Cennimo says that Microban 24’s kill time is “good, but not particularly shocking,” noting that 70% rubbing alcohol will kill SARS-CoV-2 in 30 to 60 seconds as well.

But how can this spray create a 24-hour shield? Alan says it’s not entirely clear. “It does this by leaving some sort of residue behind,” she says. The shield likely doesn’t continue to work against viruses during that time because “you have to denature the virus proteins with harsher chemicals like alcohol that will not last as long,” Cennimo says. 

Where Can I Find It?

Like all disinfectants that make the EPA’s list, it’s becoming difficult to find Microban 24. However, some Amazon sellers are offering up cases right now—at inflated prices.

While experts say Microban 24 seems like a good product to have around your home, they also say you shouldn’t panic if you can’t find it online or in stores. “Before disinfectants were getting tested against SARS CoV-2, I would look to see what was listed on the bottle,” Cennimo says. “If it could reliably kill norovirus, picornavirus, or similar it would almost certainly work against a coronavirus.”

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on COVID-19, visit our coronavirus news page.

By Korin Miller
Korin Miller is a health and lifestyle journalist who has been published in The Washington Post, Prevention, SELF, Women's Health, The Bump, and Yahoo, among other outlets.