Anonymous asked: Are quatenary ammonium compounds proven to destroy SARS-COV-2? I remember recommendations to use alcohol-based handwash in preference to BAC but that was back in the spring so maybe they’d just not got around to testing BAC.

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So, a couple things there.

1. Since coronaviruses, being dependent on an envelope, are generally one of the easier viruses to destroy, my baseline initial assumption was that standard disinfectants work. I know there *are* some bottles of ammonium-chloride-based disinfectant sprays at the grocery store now advertising themselves as “approved for use against COVID-19”, though I haven’t looked into the details of such approvals myself.

(Also, if you replace store-bought quat wipes with homemade quat wipes, any change in effectiveness will not be because of problems common to all quat-based cleaners.)

2. I gather that SARS-CoV-2 fomites aren’t a big deal, except maybe under extreme circumstances like caring for COVID patients: it’s the airborne stuff you gotta worry about.

This is mostly a general zeitgeist thing and I don’t have many links on hand, but off the top of my head there’s the argument-from-salad-bars [link].

The main reason to disinfect stuff is to prevent COVID *scares*. All else equal, catching a cold during a pandemic is worse than catching a cold under normal circumstances, because now you have to worry about whether it’s actually the plague. Plus if you catch a *really* bad flu and end up hospitalised, that’s one step closer to overwhelming the hospital (and god help you if they’re *already* overwhelmed).

I personally haven’t been disinfecting my respirator (I wash my hands after touching it if it’s been out in the last 3 – 4 days; if possible, I also wash *before* touching it), but OTOH I have 15+ years’ experience with tracking potential-fomite statuses in my head and exercising caution in what I touch accordingly. For people who haven’t trained on that until it becomes second nature (perhaps because they didn’t have the threat of horrific colds to motivate them [link]), disinfection often makes sense.

(Plus ULine was out of stock when I bought my filters, so I have the pink-circle ones. There’s only so much disinfection I’d be able to do.)

I *do* disinfect my smartphone after every outing, but I was already in the habit of doing that before COVID-19. (Note that I have a screen protector and a case, though you *might* still be able to get away with it without those.)

P.S. Since apparently we’re talking about quaternary ammonium in more than just an aside now, while we’re at it: *don’t* use ordinary cotton for your homemade disinfectant wipes! [a source]

P.P.S. Oh, also, I just noticed the term “handwash” in your ask. That might have something to do with it, since you’re not supposed to use quaternary ammonium as hand sanitiser: it’s a mild skin irritant. (To be completely honest I occasionally end up doing it anyway at work, but that is part of why I use shitloads of moisturiser.)


Tags:

#covid19 #tales from the askbox #illness tw #the more you know

One thought on “Anonymous asked: Are quatenary ammonium compounds proven to destroy SARS-COV-2? I remember recommendations to use alcohol-based handwash in preference to BAC but that was back in the spring so maybe they’d just not got around to testing BAC.

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