Public health officials say that while the overall risk of exposure to the novel coronavirus is still low for most of the American public, one of the proactive steps everyone can take to prevent any respiratory illness this time of year is to clean and sanitize your environment often.

The Environmental Protection Agency released a list of disinfectant products approved for use against COVID-19 on surfaces, including multiple products from brand such as Clorox and Lysol. Some of the specific products include Clorox toilet cleaner with bleach, Clorox disinfecting spray, Lysol disinfectant max cover mist, Lysol toilet bowl cleaners, and Lysol multi-surface cleaner and disinfectant spray.

An EPA spokesperson said the companies had to demonstrate their products are effective against viruses that are even “harder-to-kill” than the novel coronavirus. They also noted that any products without an EPA registration number haven’t been reviewed by the agency.

EPA does not review other household products, such as vinegar, or whether they’re effective against viruses and bacteria, the spokesperson said.

The agency also recommends that consumers pay attention to the directions for use on product labels, specifically how long a disinfectant needs to stay on the surface to be effective.

Another way to keep your home clean after wiping down frequently touched surfaces is to wash your hands frequently to prevent introducing new microbes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the best option to keep your hands free of germs that could spread to surfaces or your face is by washing with soap and water for 20 seconds.

Hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can also reduce the number of germs on your hands to a lesser extent, but CDC says products that are alcohol-free or have a lower percentage of alcohol are not as effective.

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