Certain Lysol products with active ingredients such as ethanol, sodium hypochlorite, or quaternary ammonium may effectively kill norovirus on hard, nonporous surfaces.

Norovirus, also known as stomach flu or stomach bug, is a highly contagious virus that can cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, and diarrhea.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists four Lysol products as proven for use against norovirus. However, people need to follow specific product instructions, including the required contact time, in order for the disinfectant to kill norovirus on certain surfaces.

Although some Lysol products may kill norovirus, people must never consume Lysol. Ethanol and quaternary ammonium, the active ingredients in some Lysol products, are toxic and harmful if swallowed.

This article will take a closer look at whether Lysol can kill norovirus in the home, other cleaning products that may produce similar effects, and how to disinfect the home after a stomach virus.

A person wiping a wooden surface with a white cloth and cleaning products to combat norovirus. -2Share on Pinterest
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The EPA List G contains registered antimicrobial products that have gone through laboratory testing to show they kill norovirus. This list includes the following Lysol products:

  • Disinfectant Max Cover Mist
  • All-Purpose Cleaner
  • Foaming Disinfectant Basin Tub & Tile Cleaner II
  • Mold and Mildew Remover with Bleach

The active ingredients in these products are ethanol, quaternary ammonium, or sodium hypochlorite.

According to the EPA, these Lysol products can effectively kill norovirus on hard, nonporous surfaces. However, people must follow the specific cleaning instructions on each product for maximum effect.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that people clean and disinfect the areas affected by norovirus straight away.

They suggest using a homemade bleach cleaning solution of 5–25 tablespoons of household chlorine bleach with a concentration of 5–8% per gallon of water.

Never mix chlorine bleach with other cleaners, especially those that contain ammonia. Mixing chlorine bleach and ammonia can create chloramine gas, which is highly toxic and can kill. Mixing products may also reduce the effectiveness of the products.

Alternatively, people can use a disinfectant product on the EPA’s List G of registered products effective against norovirus. This includes products containing the following active ingredients:

  • quaternary ammonium
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • hypochlorous acid
  • sodium hypochlorite
  • sodium chlorite
  • octanoic acid
  • phenolic
  • dodecylbenzene sulfonic acid
  • sodium dichloroisocyanurate
  • citric acid
  • thymol
  • lactic acid
  • iodine

People can check a product’s EPA registration number to find out whether it appears in the list to use against norovirus.

People may be able to help prevent a stomach virus by following certain hygiene and cleaning practices.


People should wash their hands regularly with soap and hot water. This includes:

  • after using the toilet
  • after changing a diaper
  • before handling food or eating
  • before taking any medication or giving medications to another person

People should wash their hands for at least 20 seconds every time. Norovirus occurs in vomit and feces before people begin experiencing symptoms. And it can take longer than 2 weeks after a person recovers for the virus to no longer pass to others.

This means it is still possible for the virus to spread without causing symptoms, so maintaining cleaning and handwashing measures is important.

Hand sanitizer is not effective at killing norovirus. Hand sanitizer can be a useful addition to handwashing, but washing hands with soap and water is most effective.

Food safety

To help prevent stomach viruses from spreading through food, people can take the following precautions:

  • regularly clean and sanitize all surfaces and utensils in the kitchen
  • wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating
  • ensure the inside of cooked shellfish has a temperature of at least 145°F (62°C)
  • throw away any food that may have come into contact with virus particles
  • avoid preparing or handling any food for others when sick with a stomach virus and for at least 48 hours after symptoms resolve

These steps can also help to protect people from food poisoning.

Wash laundry

If any clothing or fabrics have vomit or feces on them, remove them immediately and wash them thoroughly. When handling and washing affected items, people should:

  • wear disposable or rubber gloves
  • carefully handle items and avoid shaking them or placing them on other surfaces
  • wash in the washing machine on the maximum cycle length with detergent and hot water
  • machine-dry items using the highest setting available
  • after handling soiled items, wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water

To disinfect a room after a stomach virus, the CDC recommends people take the following steps:

  • wear disposable or rubber gloves while cleaning
  • wipe the entire affected area with paper towels and dispose of them in a trash bag
  • use appropriate cleaning products to disinfect the area, following all product instructions
  • leave disinfectant on the area for the correct amount of time according to the product instructions
  • after disinfecting, clean the affected area with hot water and soap
  • wash any affected fabrics
  • remove trash, along with any disposable gloves
  • wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after cleaning

Some Lysol products can work effectively against norovirus. However, it is important to follow all product instructions to ensure the disinfectant kills the virus.

People should wear gloves when cleaning affected areas and wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water afterward. Hand sanitizer is not effective at killing norovirus and should not replace regular handwashing.

Washing affected fabrics, following food safety practices, and regularly disinfecting surfaces may all help to prevent the spread of norovirus.

Consuming any disinfectants can be toxic, so people should use them with care and keep them away from children and animals. Additionally, people should never mix cleaning products, as doing so can create toxic fumes.