CDC: Soap and Detergent Enough to Reduce Spread of COVID-19 in Most Cases

April 6, 2021 Updated: April 6, 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that normal household cleaners and soap are adequate to use to clean indoor surfaces and disinfectants are only necessary if someone in the home has been sick with the virus.

“In most situations, regular cleaning of surfaces with soap and detergent, not necessarily disinfecting those surfaces, is enough to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at Monday’s White House coronavirus briefing.

“Disinfection is only recommended in indoor settings—schools and homes—where there has been a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 within the last 24 hours,” she added.

Besides disinfecting indoor surfaces after someone has been sick, Walensky recommended taking continued precautions of wearing a mask and socially distancing to prevent the spread of the virus. She noted that the infection rate for the most recent 7-day period is up 3 percent from the last 7-day period.

She added that she was hopeful because “to date, more than 106 million people have received at least one dose, and more than 61.4 million, or 18.5 percent, are fully vaccinated.”

Meanwhile, in an April science brief titled “SARS-CoV-2 and Surface (Fomite) Transmission for Indoor Community Environments,” researchers found the transmission of the virus through contact with surfaces was low.

The reports state, “Because of the many factors affecting the efficiency of environmental transmission, the relative risk of fomite transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is considered low compared with direct contact, droplet transmission, or airborne transmission.”

The CDC’s brief also found after analyzing multiple studies the virus was more likely to be found, “On porous surfaces, studies report inability to detect the viable virus within minutes to hours; on non-porous surfaces, the viable virus can be detected for days to weeks.

“However, there is little scientific support for routine use of disinfectants in community settings, whether indoor or outdoor, to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission from fomites.”

The CDC’s guidance suggests cleaning high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, tables, handles, light switches, and countertops daily. It also recommends that asking those who have not been fully vaccinated to wear a mask in your home and isolate those who are sick.

It recommends disinfecting surfaces after someone in your home had the virus, although mentioned the risk of infection from entering a space where a person with COVID-19 has been is low after 24 hours.

In addition, the brief states that wearing a mask and washing hands can also reduce droplets on surfaces and thus transmission of the virus.