Viruses are pathogenic and parasitic organisms. They lack respiration, metabolism, cell membrane, and cannot replicate out of the living cells. Viruses are either RNA or DNA viruses. Note that the RNA viruses quickly mutate than the DNA ones. Currently, viruses are the biggest threat to human life, with the current COVID-19 pandemic causing lock-down in several countries, industries and untold suffering across the communities globally.
Over time, the viruses have mutated, posing severe challenges to their destruction. Why are they so challenging to cure? Well, they exist as freeloading zombies. They aren't quite alive and, at the same time, not undoubtedly dead. What kills viruses? Let's go through some of the things that may inactivate the viruses.
1. Can Vinegar Kill viruses?
Before scrubbing using home-made disinfectants, consider the natural disinfectants such as vinegar, more so during the corona virus pandemic. The virus has instilled a lot of panic into the global population, with toilet papers, sanitizers, and face masks becoming rare commodities in the US. In case you are unable to get disinfectants in your local warehouses, consider natural disinfectants such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and tea tree oil. Even though most people recognize vinegar as an alternative bleach that is safe, very little data supports its activity against the pathogens.
When the antimicrobial effects of vinegar get compared to that of commercial disinfectants, it is less effective. Commercial disinfectants are the most active against viral pathogens. However, another study carried out using a cleaning solution containing 10% malt vinegar proved effective against the influenza viruses. The antibacterial and antiviral properties observed with vinegar result from the acid being one of its contents.
2. Does Hand Sanitizer Kill viruses?
The sale of hand sanitizer has been enormous globally, with the spread of the corona virus. Does Purell kill viruses? Note that hand sanitizer may or may not kill the corona virus. However, it should not be your first preventive mechanism against the virus. A hand sanitizer containing a minimum of 60% alcohol is the most appropriate alternative to thorough scrubbing of hands using water and soap for not less than 20 seconds.
Enveloped viruses such as the corona virus contain outer envelopes or membranes that get inactivated. Inactivation occurs in the presence of hand sanitizers containing alcohol. Less quantities of hand sanitizer may not be useful in the management of the corona virus. Place the sanitizer onto your hand, and then rub your hands until they dry completely. It will take an average of 20 seconds.
Does isopropyl alcohol kill viruses? To increase the probability of killing the virus, ensure you use alcohol-based sanitizers with the alcohol content ranging from 60 – 95 %. The most common alcohol used in the disinfection is isopropyl and ethyl alcohol. Although hand sanitizers may reduce your chances of contracting covid-19, it is not effective against the norovirus and some bacteria such as Clostridium difficile.
Hence, the reason to practice regular scrubbing of your hand using sufficient water and soap. Soap molecules have both lipo-philic and hydrophilic terminals. The lipo-philic terminals are capable of inserting themselves within the lipid bi-layers of the viruses. It destroys the viral genome. Remember that in preventing COVID-19, washing of hands is superior to using hand sanitizers.
3. Does UV Light Kill Viruses?
Ultraviolet light is electromagnetic radiation transmitted through waves at an alternating frequency and wavelength. The most popular sun rays are UV-C, UV-B, and UV-A. The ozone layer always blocks UV-C rays, and it never gets to the surface of the earth. It has the highest energy with the shortest wavelength. It is useful in disinfecting non-porous surfaces, water, and air. The UV-C rays destroy the viral genetic materials such as the RNA or the DNA.
Inhibition of the viral replication is the reason as to why the beams are useful as disinfectants. However, for the disinfection to be efficient, streamlining of a lot of critical factors is necessary. Get the rays at the right wavelength for a particular virus. The standard germicidal range is between 200 nm to 300 nm. Besides, ensure you get the correct dose. It varies based on other factors.
4. Does sunlight kill viruses?
Note that natural light is an effective disinfectant for the non-porous materials that are contaminated. Besides, sunlight is essential for our general health. It leads to the formation of vitamin D responsible for the absorption of calcium ions. The resultant effect is less cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Apart from the UV rays, these are what kills viruses.
5. Does Bleach Kill Viruses?
Bleach can kill viruses and germs. Note that sodium hypochlorite, which is the main active ingredient of bleach, is active against numerous pathogens. Sodium hypochlorite targets the viral membranes. It oxidizes the viral membranes. With loss of integrity on the viral membranes, the pathogens will die.
An example is the influenza virus, which can only survive on surfaces for not more than 48 hours. If you use bleach to clean the bodies, the influenza virus's life span will be less than the standard 48 hours. For effectiveness, get to know the nature of the surface you wish to disinfect and handle the bleach. Bleach is the best in disinfecting most surfaces that people touch, door handles, kitchen counters, and bathroom sinks.
6. Does Heat Kill Viruses?
Generally, hot temperatures are the most suitable for killing microbes such as viruses. However, it does not mean that you have to sterilize everything using heat. Note that high temperatures do not affect the COVID-19 strain. Each virus responds differently to the variations in temperature. Temperatures ranging from 140 Fahrenheit to 150 Fahrenheit are sufficient to destroy numerous viruses as per WHO.
Below are some of the things which do not kill the viruses:
1. Does ammonia kill viruses?
Even though ammonia has shown its bactericidal effect on Escherichia coli and salmonella, it effectively kills viruses and bacteria. In some instances, you may find people combining bleach and ammonia to boost the power of disinfection. Note that it is a dangerous move because of the deadly chloramine gas produced. The gas will lead to skin and eye irritation as well as difficulty in breathing. Ammonia's disinfecting power gets enhanced through a household steamer.
2. Does Freezing Kill Viruses?
Several viruses, such as the novel corona virus, will not be killed by the low temperatures. The COVID-19 virus can survive in low temperatures and lower humidity for a longer time. Besides, viruses would stay in a frozen environment.
How Long Do Viruses Last on Surfaces?
Survival of a virus depends on:
- The type of the virus.
- The environmental conditions.
- And the surface the virus is on.
Note that cold viruses can survive on surfaces of the indoor for about seven days. On the other hand, flu viruses remain active for about 24 hours. It is important to note that every virus can survive on a hard surface such as a plastic or a metal longer than survive on softer surfaces. An infectious flu virus may only remain viable on tissues for about 15 minutes.
It is a fact that viruses stay longer in regions with low sunlight, low humidity, and low temperatures. If viruses remain on the surfaces a bit longer, they may not be so harmful. Although the cold viruses may survive for more days, their chances of causing more severe infections reduce after one day. Note that the best way of preventing the active viruses is through thorough and regular washing of hands.