Safer COVID-19 cleaning products and disinfectants

September 17, 2020

Are safer products and practices available?

Yes!  We have created a factsheet [English] [Chinese] [Spanish] specifically aimed at businesses seeking to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. More general information on safer disinfectants can  be found on our SFApproved disinfectants page.  Also make sure you follow the latest San Francisco Department of Public Health Directives.

Who has cleaning products available?

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted global supply chains, and businesses seeking to reopen may find it difficult to locate cleaning supplies. San Francisco's Emergency Operations Center is exploring a variety of ways to serve this unmet need.  In the meantime, the Department of the Environment is conducting periodic spot checks of local distributors (not retailers) with cleaners and disinfectants in stock - including safer products.  Prices vary widely, with some vendors selling supplies at many times their usual price. 

Note that these listings are not comprehensive, and do not constitute an endorsement by the City and County of San Francisco. 

Which disinfectants are the safest?

NEW FEATURE: Safer disinfectants for COVID-19 are now listed below. Many of the disinfectants approved for COVID-19 use contain hazardous chemicals, particularly chemicals that cause asthma. The list below shows only California-registered disinfectants that contain safer ingredients and are approved by US EPA for COVID-19.  The San Francisco Department of the Environment considers the following ingredients as safer: Hydrogen peroxide, lactic acid, citric acid, octanoic (caprylic) acid, alcohol (ethanol, isopropanol) and thymol.  Thymol-based products are suspected asthmagens and should be considered when other products are not available. Alcohol-based wipes are appropriate for spot cleaning only (example computer keyboards); please do not use for applications that require more than one wipe, or cleaning of surfaces larger than 1 square foot.

Some commonly found products and where to buy them locally (after you click links below, click "available nearby") (scroll down for the complete list):

Lysol Multi-Purpose Cleaner With Hydrogen Peroxide

SC Johnson Windex Disinfectant Cleaner

Method Antibac All-Purpose Cleaner

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Cleaner

How to use the tool below:

  • Look for US EPA Design for the Environment (DfE) products, which have been fully screened for safest ingredients (scroll down, look for the checkmarks)
  • Click in the lower right corner to expand the table for easier viewing.
  • Filter products using the top menus for company, formulation type and type of use.
  • For large organizations, concentrated ("dilutable") products are cheaper and more environmentally friendly.  Always use concentrates with an automatic dilution system.
  • "Time to leave product on surface".  Disinfectants require time to work, and these times vary between products and organisms.

 Updated 9/17/2020.