Maybe you read the title of this blog and are wondering, what is List N and what does it mean? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) introduced List N to the public in March 2020. The complete official name is List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The list originally began as a spreadsheet for finding a disinfectant for coronavirus. It is an everchanging document due to the evolving nature of COVID-19 and the means necessary to eradicate it.
List N contains over 570 products. Each product meets one of three criteria and is proven against:
- Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2
- A pathogen more difficult to kill than SARS-CoV-2
- Different human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2
The SARS-CoV-2 is the virus behind COVID-19. Keep reading for everything you need to know about List N disinfectants and their difference from standard household cleaners.
Cleaning and Disinfecting During COVID-19
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that COVID-19 is primarily spread through the air, not by touching services. Normal cleaning will remove germs and dirt from surfaces that may contaminate those touching them. The best way to remove risk is to use disinfectants on surfaces, especially when someone may have COVID-19.
While it is always possible to perform decontamination yourself, precautions must be taken. You need to follow all instructions on the disinfectant product, including all precautions. If you do not apply the chemicals according to the label instructions, they may be ineffective.
You must make sure the product you are using contains an EPA registration number. If it claims it kills SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) but does not have an EPA registration, it may not be effective or safe. This violates federal law requiring EPA registration.
Another concern in attempting to conduct disinfection on your own is the risk to people who have asthma, children, and students. When in need of COVID-19 disinfection, the safest and most thorough method is to call in Spaulding Decon. We specialize in biohazard cleanup and will send in a team of highly trained technicians who make sure the cleanup is safe and complete.
Finding Products on List N
The EPA’s List N Tool regarding COVID-19 disinfectants contains 570 entries. For each entry you will find the following information:
- EPA registration number
- Active ingredients
- Product name
- What virus the disinfection directions and preparation will kill
- Length of contact time necessary to kill the virus
- Type of formulation
To figure out whether the product you have kills the COVID-19 virus you need to determine if the EPA primary registration number is on List N.
Finding the Registration Number
You first need to find the words “EPA Reg. No.” on the product. Those words will have two or three sets of numbers following them. If the registration number is in two parts (i.e. 1234-12) that is a primary registration number. If that number is shown on List N, it qualifies to disinfect against COVID-19.
If the product has a three-part registration number (i.e. 1234-12-123) then it is a supplemental distributor product. This means it contains the same chemicals and the same effective ability as a primary chemical but has a different brand or product name. If the first two sections of the number are on List N (i.e. 1234-12-xxx) it meets the qualifications for use against COVID-19.
After finding the product on List N, you must check that the product contains instructions for the pathogen on List N. For example, List N shows that the product will kill SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) as long as you use the directions for rotavirus. You must check the product label to make sure it has instructions for killing rotavirus.
Making sure you have the proper product and using it in the appropriate method for effective decontamination can be confusing and time-consuming. As COVID-19 mutates it is important to make preparations for a third wave of the virus. Now is the time to hire a decontamination team so when the virus again runs ramped through our lives all preparations are in place to maintain safety.
How to Disinfect COVID-19 Using Common Household Products
Once you confirm the product you have is on the EPA List N, you must follow the directions on the label, including contact time, to make sure disinfection is complete. Contact time is the amount of time the surface needs to remain visibly wet. When using the list of disinfectants that meet the EPA approval you must:
- Pre-clean the surface prior to applying disinfectant
- Follow the appropriate product label directions in accordance with List N specifications
- Leave the product wet on the surface for the appropriate time to make sure it is effective
- Wear disposable gloves when disinfecting, and wash your hands after removal
- Be sure to keep disinfectants away from children
Bleach as a cleaning solution is not chemically stable and becomes ineffective as a COVID-19 disinfectant. This is because bleach begins to degrade after six months on the shelf. Over time it will degrade into saltwater.
It is difficult to determine the actual chemical level you have when using bleach for disinfection. It is also important to clean the surface with water and detergent before using bleach. This is because many materials react with and deactivate bleach.
You must then dry the surface, apply your bleach solution and let it sit a minimum of 10 minutes before wiping off. Bleach will corrode metal over time and is harsh on countertops. You need to rinse the surface with water after using bleach to prevent damage and discoloration.
Because of the need for intense adherence to proper chemical mixtures and contact time for effective disinfection, the most effective method is to use a professional decontamination service. A team of trained professionals wearing protective clothing will make sure that all surfaces are virus-free and safe for use when they exit the premises.
Effective and Thorough Disinfection
When you want effective and thorough disinfection that meets List N qualification for eradicating the COVID-19 virus, call Spaulding Decon. We have more than 15 years of experience handling disinfection and decontamination, providing service throughout the continental U.S.
Our licensed and certified technicians use proprietary cleaning products to remove all traces of coronavirus. Any property that cannot be decontaminated will be removed. Schedule professional decontamination services by calling our 24-hour call center at (833) 804-6600.