Here’s how Lysol Disinfectant Spray actually works, and where you can possibly still find it

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Since the onset of the global pandemic, household cleaners and disinfectants have been hard to find. In particular, Lysol disinfectant has been out of stock online and in stores since nearly March. However, it’s not only because it’s a well-known brand name — there’s more to why Lysol Disinfectant Spray is at the top of everyone’s list for preventing the spread of germs.

Lysol has been tested and approved by the EPA for fighting COVID-19

On July 6, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it approved two products, Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfectant Max, based on laboratory testing that proved the products are effective against the coronavirus.

Credit: Amazon

While the EPA previously released a list of over 400 approved cleaning products that met its list of criteria for use against COVID-19, Lysol’s disinfectants are the first two that the agency tested directly against the virus. According to the EPA, it expects to approve claims via laboratory testing for additional products as well.

Lysol stands out for one ingredient in particular

Like many other disinfecting cleaners, the active ingredient in Lysol is a quaternary ammonium compound, also referred to as a QAC or quat. Lysol introduced one of the first QACs in the late 1880s, called benzalkonium chloride (BAC).

Bill Wuest, a Georgia Research Alliance distinguished investigator and associate professor of chemistry at Emory University, said that today, BAC is one of the most common active ingredients in disinfectants.

However, “technically, Lysol has received EPA approval for Benzalkonium saccharinate (BAS) against COVID-19, likely because that specific ingredient is less common in other cleaning agents providing some ‘exclusivity,'” he said. “This subtle difference is likely based on the production method to make the compound.”

“Based on the research in my lab and what we have learned about these agents, I would presume that both are likely to be equally effective. However, to date only BAS has been approved by the EPA,” he added.

Related: Still can’t find Lysol spray? These disinfectants kill germs too, according to an expert

Nonetheless, if you can’t find Lysol at the store, Wuest said that most other antibacterial and antiseptic wipes contain the same mix of active ingredients and you should check their labels for “ammonium” or “alkonium.” He also suggested checking generic brands, as they’re just as effective, but make sure to read the labels for active ingredients first.

Keep in mind, there is a right and a wrong way to disinfect

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the current coronavirus can live on a variety of surfaces for hours to days. However, cleaning those surfaces and disinfecting them “is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings.”

Unfortunately, many people misuse cleaning products, which makes them significantly less effective. In June, the CDC released a survey on consumer knowledge of disinfecting coronavirus and found that 39 percent of respondents weren’t using their cleaning products correctly.

You should always follow the instructions provided on a cleaning product’s label, but most disinfectants should be sprayed or wiped on a surface and left to dry. After 10 minutes, if the disinfectant has yet to dry on its own, you can wipe it up. This gives the disinfectant enough time to do its work.

Where to find Lysol Disinfectant Spray in stock

Your best bet for finding Lysol Disinfectant Spray is going to a local store in-person. To prevent unnecessary exposure during the pandemic, you can call ahead to check for inventory and wear a mask. If you’d prefer to shop online, it seems Amazon has been periodically restocking Lysol Disinfectant Spray. However, when you see it, you have to act fast because just as quickly as they are restocked, they’re sold out.

You can also check the following stores for restocks online or in-store:

If you liked this story, check out the best household cleaners for limiting the spread of germs.

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