Not all surface sanitisers are made equal – and only some are truly effective against COVID-19. We explore how to tell which products work, and which don’t…

Amongst the panic of COVID-19, many of us rushed out to stock up on bleach, hand sanitiser gel and other disinfectants – and as testing against COVID-19 hadn’t yet taken place, there was no way for us to know if these products actually worked against this specific strain of virus.

So, do you truly know if the disinfectants or sanitiser products you’re using are independently verified to be effective against COVID-19? Are they compliant with the Biocidal Products Regulation? And are they really keeping you safe?

We’re exploring the critical questions you need to ask when analysing whether a disinfectant or sanitising product is actually effective against COVID-19.

Don’t forget; as consumers, it’s your prerogative to request detailed testing information or product data, and any company or manufacturer should make these available when asked.

Question 1: Has your disinfectant been independently tested & verified to be effective against COVID-19 on hard surfaces?

Ask to see the independent test report! SARS-CoV-2 is a betacoronavirus. Just because a test has been carried out against another type of virus, it does not mean the product will necessary be effective against COVID-19!

Independent testing MUST be carried out using an appropriate SARS-CoV-2 surrogate virus to make a justifiable claim for COVID-19 protection.

For the dilution in use:

The minimum requirement for a claim against COVID-19 is a pass ( >4 log reduction in virus titre) with the standard method – EN 14476:2013 + A2 2019 (surface products) or EN 14476: 2013 + A1 2015 (hand products) against vaccinia virus (at less than 2 minutes for hand products and less than 5 minutes for surface products). This covers all enveloped viruses including all coronaviruses.

In addition to these standard methods above, the following can also be used to demonstrate efficacy against COVID-19:

  • An independent pass against EN 14476:2013, EN 14476:2013 + A1 2015, EN 14476:2013 + A2 2019 to either limited spectrum virucidal activity or full virucidal activity allows a claim against SARS-CoV-2.
  • An independent pass against EN 16777:2018 fully supports these claims.
  • An independent pass against EN 14675:2015 also gives confidence in a claim for efficacy against this virus.
  • An independent pass against a SARS-CoV-2 surrogate virus, ideally another betacoronavirus to ASTM E1052-11 or ASTM E1053-97(2002) is also the basis of a claim.

Question 2: What dilution of product is effective?

Despite many commercially available disinfectants containing recognised ‘anti-viral’ active substances, the product must be proven to have anti-viral efficacy at the dilution in use.

Check the independent EN 14476:2013, EN 14476:2013 + A1 2015, EN 14476:2013 + A2 2019, EN 14475:2015, EN 16777:2018 and ASTM E1052-11 or ASTM E1053-97 (2002) test report to ensure the in-use dilution has been tested and proven to give a 4-log reduction in the appropriate surrogate virus.

Question 3: Is your disinfectant compliant with the Biocidal Products Regulation?

To be fully compliant with the European-wide Biocidal Products Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 528/2012) or ‘BPR’, the disinfectant product MUST satisfy the following:

1. The disinfectant product must be an ‘Authorised Biocidal Product’ containing an approved active substance that appears on the Union list of approved active substances.


2. The disinfectant product must contain a listed active substance still in the BPR review programme (Art. 89 et seq) and supplied on the EU market by the ‘substance supplier’ or ‘product supplier’ named in the Article 95 list for the Product Type to which the product belongs. In the case of a hard surface disinfectant the product type is PT2: “disinfectants and algaecides not intended for direct application on humans or animals”.

Question 4: How should disinfectants be applied to effectively sanitise surfaces?

It is vital to follow the ‘directions for use’ on the cleaning product.

This includes following the correct dilution rate and contact time indicated in the standard test method used to validate anti-viral efficacy.

For example, if efficacy against COVID-19 was demonstrated for the use-dilution of product using the EN ISO 147726 test method, a contact time should be observed. This means the product should be sprayed onto the surface an left for the correct time before wiping the surface clean to ensure all virus particles are eradicated. In the case of Genesis Purpose Sanitiser Concentrate, you must wait 5 minutes after spraying the surface before wiping clean.

Further details on recommended cleaning methods for different surfaces and articles can be found on the UK Government website.

Remember your rights

As consumers, we’re able to request further information, if it’s not visible, before we purchase – particularly when the matter is so essential to public health.

As shops and commercial spaces re-open across the UK, it’s critical to ensure your cleaning regime is legitimate, using products with proven efficacy against COVID-19 – your customers deserve more.

Browse our range of surface sanitisers, all independently tested & verified to be effective against COVID-19*.

Browse the range

*When used in accordance with our recommended ‘directions for use’.

This article was originally published on our parent site,

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