Trust Index: Can hydrogen peroxide be used as a disinfectant to kill COVID-19?

Internet loaded with claims about alternative products capable of killing COVID-19

Internet loaded with claims about alternative products capable of killing COVID-19

SAN ANTONIO – With initial shortages and a rush to sanitize surfaces, people have been thinking outside the box when it comes to cleaning their home and work spaces.

Wipes and bleach flew off the shelves, leaving the internet to swirl with claims about other products capable of killing COVID-19.

Some are legitimate, others are not.

One claim in particular involves hydrogen peroxide.

Can it be used as a disinfectant? It’s a question many KSAT viewers have asked if it can be used as a disinfectant so we ran it through our KSAT Trust Index.

Our experts have a multi-faceted answer.

"Hydrogen peroxide is listed on the CDC's website," said Dr. Ruth Berggren with UT Health San Antonio's Long School of Medicine.

Dr Berggren said hydrogen peroxide can in fact kill COVID-19, but that doesn't mean it's the best thing to use.

Be Careful

After reviewing this topic, we've found some issues - Be Careful.

“3 percent hydrogen peroxide is what you can buy over the counter at a drug store. That’s is actually higher concentration than what you see in the disinfectants, the registered disinfectants are at 1.4 percent, so about half of that. So the potential risk you run with using that 3 percent that you can buy in the drug store, is that it can be corrosive. It might bleach surfaces, it may cause a breakdown of surfaces,” said University Health System hospital epidemiologist Dr. Jason Bowling.

Dr. Bowling said there are specific sprays you can buy that contain hydrogen peroxide in lower concentrations, and those are okay for your surfaces.

Dr. Berggren added the fact that the hydrogen peroxide that a lot of people keep under their cabinets for a while, can expire. That's one of the reasons she suggests sticking with alcohol or bleach.

"If you can't get alcohol, get bleach. I think bleach might have been in short supply back in April but it should be pretty readily available now. I just bought a gallon of bleach of my household last weekend and what you want to do is put five tablespoons of bleach in a gallon of water. Or you can to four teaspoons in a quart of water," she said.

So when it comes to using hydrogen peroxide as a COVID-19 disinfectant the KSAT trust index labels it, "Be Careful." It can work, but might ruin your stuff.

If you have a claim, picture or video you’d like us to check out, submit it to our KSAT Trust Index website.

Read our latest Trust Index stories:

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Trust Index: Can disinfectant injections and sunlight kill Coronavirus?

Trust Index: Despite what you see on Facebook, H-E-B is not imposing age limits in its stores

KSAT Trust Index: Do San Antonio hospitals have enough personal protective equipment?

About the Authors:

Courtney Friedman is a KSAT anchor and reporter. She has an ongoing series called Loving in Fear, confronting Bexar County’s domestic violence epidemic. She's also covered Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Sutherland Springs and Santa Fe, and tornadoes throughout Texas. She’s a California native and proud Longhorn who loves calling SA home.

Before starting at KSAT in August 2011, Ken was a news photographer at KENS. Before that he was a news photographer at KVDA TV in San Antonio. Ken graduated from San Antonio College with an associate's degree in Radio, TV and Film. Ken has won a Sun Coast Emmy and four Lone Star Emmys. Ken has been in the TV industry since 1994.