The CDC, WHO, hospitals, and other organizations have released contradictory statements about which soaps or sanitizers will kill the Ebola Virus. While such agencies undoubtedly have their hands full with other concerns, this is an important subject that should not be bypassed.
Due to a lack of information on what types of soap kills Ebola on the skin, hard surfaces, and fabric, I decided to take research into my own hands. A recent WHO study found that 87.1 percent of those infected with Ebola Virus exhibited fever (but 12.9 percent did not). This scary statistic displays how the virus could spread silently & undetected; not to mention the threat of spread due to travelers from infected countries, who could take fever reducers or lie on their airport questionnaires.
Scientific Information on Ebola Virus – What Type of Virus is Ebola?
Before we get into the subject of what will kill Ebola, it’s important to know what type of virus it is, and why it is so difficult to kill - compared with bacteria & other viruses.
Ebola is considered an enveloped virus, which means its outer covering protects itself as it waits to find a host; making it notoriously difficult to kill. This enveloped status also helps the virus escape harm from the body’s immune system, which is why most people’s bodies cannot fight off the Ebola virus naturally. The virus can survive on skin for 2-6 hours, and on hard surfaces at cold or room temperature for at least 2-4 days. The actual virus envelope is formed from lipids and proteins, and contains projectiles similar to tiny spikes – enabling the virus to attach itself to the host cell when it enters the body.
How Does Ebola Compare to Other Viruses?
In contrast with Ebola, Enterovirus and Norovirus (common flu-like & respiratory illnesses) are highly contagious non-enveloped viruses. While they transmit from person to person more easily than Ebola, they are also easier to destroy; especially within the host. Non-enveloped viruses generally have a very short life span in the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, people who become ill with these flu-like viruses will often recover within a few days – unless the symptoms have caused other forms of sickness, such as pneumonia.
What Types of Soap, Disinfectant & Sanitizer Kill the Ebola Virus?
Below is a list of common questions people have about which types of disinfectant products will kill Ebola. Since (at this point) Ebola is only transmitted through touch, be sure to avoid touching your mouth, eyes & nose after being in busy public places like stores, airports, schools etc. The use of the items below is minimally necessary at this point, unless you are in a contaminated area. As the Ebola Virus progresses, the use of these disinfectants on a regular basis will become more important.
Do These Disinfectants Kill Ebola on Surfaces?
Does Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer Kill Ebola Virus?
No. Alcohol based cleansers are meant to kill bacteria, not the Ebola Virus. While they can make the skin inhospitable to viruses, they will not kill an existing virus on skin or hard surfaces. In a pinch, it’s better to use Sanitizer than nothing at all. If you aren’t able to wash your hands before eating, using Sanitizer will at least create an unwelcoming environment for viruses, and will kill bacteria. According to the Purell Website, "as of today, we are not aware of any hand sanitizers that have been tested against Ebola viruses, including PURELL® Hand Sanitizer."
Although Purell, nor the CDC have proven that Alcohol-Based Sanitizers will kill Ebola, they are still listing it as an important precautionary measure. We can only hope they are doing so not to dupe the general public, but because the Alcohol base will create a slightly inhospitable environment for the virus.
* I’ve been informed of 2 types of Anti-Viral Hand Sanitizer that are proven to kill viruses. Unfortunately they are both based in the UK and difficult to find elsewhere. Please note that these are titled “ANTI-VIRAL Sanitizers” and not the common “Anti-Bacterial” sanitizers like Purell. The first is called Response Beta Sanitizer - proven to kill Ebola Virus. This also kills the dreaded Norovirus, which is notorious for spreading quickly and causing days of painful flu-like symptoms. The second is Boots Advanced First Aid Anti-Viral Hand Foam, which kills 99.9% of viruses (but the website doesn’t specify Ebola). Either one is a better bet than the Anti-Bacterial 70% ethyl alcohol sanitizers you can buy at the local supermarket, because these two are labeled as Anti-Viral Sanitizers. Looking at the current spread of Ebola, these companies really need to get these items listed on Ebay or Amazon. If anybody finds a link as to where they can be shipped / purchased in the USA, please leave a link in the comments!
Does Regular Soap Kill Ebola Virus?
Yes and No. You need to look for specific ingredients in soap to discover whether or not it will target the Ebola Virus. The list below contains the range of disinfectant agents that will kill Ebola, so check to make sure your soap contains at least one of these:
sodium hypochlorite, lipid solvents, phenolic disinfectants, peracetic acid, methyl alcohol, ether, sodium deoxycholate, 2% glutaraldehyde, 0.25% Triton X-100, β-propiolactone, 3% acetic acid (pH 2.5), formaldehyde and paraformaldehyde, and detergents such as sodium dodecyl sulphate (SDS).
Does Bleach Kill Ebola Virus?
Yes. Bleach is the top choice for hospitals and medical professionals. You never want to use full strength bleach on skin (it can cause chemical burns), so always dilute with water. The recommended dilution for cleaning bare skin is 1:100 and the dilution level for hard surfaces and fabric is a 1:10 bleach / water solution. This means you would add 1 cup of bleach for every 100 cups of warm water when cleaning the skin, or 1 cup of bleach for every 10 cups of hot water when cleaning surfaces or fabric. Remember, bleach washes the color out of fabrics, so do a patch test before cleansing if you don’t want to alter the physical appearance of the item you are washing.
Does Chlorine Kill Ebola Virus?
Yes. Much like bleach, chlorine bonds to cell enzymes to aid in their destruction. It’s common to see pictures of health care workers in Liberia spraying down effected areas with chlorine. Chlorine is used in many water plants to prevent both bacteria and viruses from thriving. Since Chlorine forms hydrochloric acid when mixed with water, it must be highly diluted to prevent fumes and chemical burns on the skin.
Using bleach is a much more household friendly manor of disinfecting, as chlorine is commonly used for large area industrial cleaning. However, if chlorine is all you have available, it can be mixed in a solution of ¼ oz per 100 cups. You can also keep some chlorine wipes on hand – a fast solution for cleaning surfaces with no mixing required.
Does CHG (Chlorhexidine Gluconate Solution) Kill Ebola Virus?
Yes. This is a hospital-grade soap, which doctors use before performing surgeries. Studies have shown that it is effective at killing all types of bacteria & viruses, including enveloped viruses such as Ebola. This is probably your best bet for hand washing, as it is stronger than regular soap, but not as harsh on skin as bleach. The CHG 4.0% solution is present in a product called Hibiclens. This liquid soap can be purchased online or at most CVS drugstores. As an added bonus, it is also effective at killing MERSA, and quickly heals wounds that MERSA has infected.
Hibistat Wipes are the perfect replacement for basic hand sanitizer, which is ineffectual against ebola. The Hibiclens Wipes combine 70% Isopropyl Alcohol for immediate bacterial kill, plus a 0.5% CHG solution. This allows for persistent antimicrobial protection that leaves a residual CHG solution on skin – which provides killing action for up to 6 hours.
Does Lysol Spray Kill Ebola Virus?
Possibly. According to the Lysol website, “Lysol Disinfectant Spray is likely to be effective against the Ebola HF virus.” Well…that doesn’t sound very reassuring. While it’s been determined that Lysol Spray does kill most non-enveloped viruses like Enterovirus, apparently nobody is sure whether or not it will kill Ebola. I’ve researched extensively online, and could not find any definite information whether or not Lysol kills Ebola. I would suggest using it only as a last resort if Chlorine or Bleach are not available.
Do Any Natural Treatments Help Kill Ebola?
One of the most highly suggested ways to kill Ebola Virus without using chemicals is by Ultra Violet Light. Once the light has been applied to surfaces, it has been known to kill pathogens in just a couple of minutes. Thorough decontamination would use it in combination with Bleach cleansing - but if no other method is available, or for those who suffer from Bleach allergies, UV light is a good alternative. Hospitals are expanding their use of UV Light Technology like the Little Moe robot pictured to the right.
How do I Strengthen my Immune System Against Ebola?
It’s a well known fact that the FDA attempts to control literature and usage of alternative medicines that are widely available to the public. Advocating alternatives would place a direct threat on the big pharmaceutical companies whose financing basically thrives off the circular pattern of illness diagnosis and maintenance, with little regard for prevention or cure. Many doctors and scientists are now researching alternative solutions, as the monetary cost and side-effects of chemical drugs begins to spiral out of control.
While chemicals like bleach and chlorine can be relied on to kill the Ebola Virus outside the body, what about creating a first line of defense within the body?
Boosting one’s overall health via PH balancing is a wise choice whether or not you will be exposed to the Ebola Virus. It’s been proven that maintaining an alkalized state (PH of 7.3 – 7.9) is effective in preventing common flu viruses, and even many cancers.
Scientists have yet to add data to journals that suggests it can help one become immune to the Ebola Virus – but many laboratory experiments have confirmed that several viruses require a mildly acidic environment to attack host cells. So how to you create an alkaline environment in your blood? Avoid chemically processed food, sugar, fast food & soda. Instead, increase your intake of green foods, lemon water, and apple cider vinegar water. You can purchase inexpensive PH Test Strips to check that your PH is in the level of 7.3 - 8.0. This is an incredibly simple simple way to alkalize the body and create an unfriendly environment for viruses – whether or nor you fear exposure to Ebola.
Vitamin & Herb Intake:
The stronger your immune system, the more likely you will be able to heal from any type of virus. Taking a wide-range vitamin isn’t going to make you immune, but it will give you a better chance at recovery should you catch the virus. There are also many immune boosting herbal supplements on the market that can provide an extra line of defense against this or other viruses and bacteria you may encounter.
Colloidal Nano Silver is being tested as a way to hault the ill effects of Ebola, even after it’s been contracted. Ebola victims in Lagos have reportedly been receiving Colloidal Silver injections in attempt to treat the virus – some of which have been successful. Colloidal silver can also be taken by mouth, but unfortunately few tests have been done to find the exact dosage one would need to hault Ebola. As the disease continues to destroy South Africa, this natural source is being considered for further testing.
Other items to have on hand for impending virus disasters
Hard core disaster preppers have an arsenal of supplies for any type of natural or man-made disaster, all arranged neatly in an underground bunker. We common folk are lucky to have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher on hand. Without taking the threat of Ebola to a fanatical level, there are some relatively inexpensive supplies you can gather to protect yourself against Ebola or other viral outbreaks. These are good items to have around in the event of any type of health emergency.
Basic respirator masks can be found online or at most hardware stores. You can purchase a partial respirator mask (which does not cover the eye area) for around $40, or a full respirator mask (which covers the entire face) for around $100. According to virologists, there is a chance that mutations could occur, causing Ebola to become airborne. In the event you don’t end up using your respirator mask against viruses, it can be used when completing household tasks like sanding, varnishing or painting, to prevent lung contamination. Some companies like AGM sell full biohazard suit sets, complete with all necessary protective equipment for around $250 per kit.
Having disposable cover-alls or a biohazard suit on hand will help protect you, should you ever need to be a caretaker for someone who has Ebola. These protect your entire body when paired with gloves & the respirator mask. You can find them online for anywhere from $20 for disposable cover-alls, to $400 for complete biohazard suits. Before removal, be sure to wipe down the entire suit with a bleach solution, so you don’t inadvertently spread the virus to clean skin.
Disposable Plastic Gloves:
These are very inexpensive and easy to attain. Wear on clean hands if you expect to be in an area where Ebola or other dangerous viruses are present. Both bacteria and viruses can enter the blood stream through cuts or scrapes on the hands, and gloves will protect you. If you don’t end up needing them during the Ebola outbreak, they are also useful to wear when preparing any type of raw meat, to prevent contracting Ecoli bacteria.
Additional items that you may wish to have on hand during a viral outbreak: General First Aid Kit, Extra Drinking Water, Disinfectants, Canned Food, Frozen Food, Dry Food, Flashlight, Matches, Tarps, Extra Clothing, and Blankets.
Thoughts on Ebola Spread
While many blame the media for causing hysteria due to an overload of articles on Ebola, others believe relevant information is being withheld from the general public. As some nations fight to prevent Ebola stricken victims from entering their countries, most feel that America has had a dysfunctional, naïve response in regard to preventing transmittal of the virus. Australia has wisely been hesitant to send their troops and doctors into Ebola stricken regions. America (much to the disappointment of its people) is hesitant to restrict flights from South Africa. To sign the official petition to ban air travel from Ebola infected countries to the USA, click here.
In any case, and regardless of public or governmental opinion, it’s always better to be over prepared than under prepared. If anybody knows any other information to help curb the Ebola outbreak, please leave a comment. Feel free to re-post a link to this article on your personal blog. Trying to downplay the risk of Ebola spreading to other countries doesn't help prepare for the possibility – the more information the public has, the better chance we have at fighting this deadly virus.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2014 Ashley Bergin
Pinky de Garcia on October 22, 2014:
This is very informative and well-researched.Thanks for having this hub published for the benefit of all.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on October 21, 2014:
Very interesting hub indeed. Certainly the better health we are in the better chances we have of winning a battle with the disease. I wonder why we do not have those soaps here they have in the UK.
Ashley Bergin (author) from san francisco on October 21, 2014:
@ Bob - yes, you're absolutely right! Vitamin C is very important to take both in prepping the immune system to fight the virus, and after becoming infected. I was reading some studies where doctors were experimenting with Vitamin C injections as a method of healing from the Ebola. Oil of Oregano also makes the body very inhospitable to viruses. There is a whole range of natural products that could potentially be effective anti-virals. I hope more tests are done to discover their healing properties regarding Ebola.
David B Katague from Northern California and the Philippines on October 21, 2014:
Useful hub, voted up..Yes the killing power of bleach, indeed
HandyHelper on October 21, 2014:
This is very useful info. I have never heard about anti viral sanitizers before. Glad to know they exist!
askformore lm on October 21, 2014:
Thank you for a very informative hub about the Ebola problem.
Bob on October 18, 2014:
You left out the importance of Vit. C. It seems the virus wipes out Vit c levels in the body, so stock up on ester c. I would do wild oil of oregano every hour if infected as well.
Snakesmum on October 18, 2014:
Very interesting read. Hopefully, Ebola won't make it to Australia, but I wouldn't bet on it. Our government seems to be against sending our people to infected areas, and in this case I agree with them. There is no such thing as 100% safety.
Ebola is very scary!
Taiwo Kareem from Salford on October 18, 2014:
well said. it is very useful
Howard Schneider from Parsippany, New Jersey on October 17, 2014:
Great informational and timely Hub, Punkmarkgirl. We need to be armed with true facts when dealing with this disease.
Carol Houle from Montreal on October 16, 2014:
Days ago I heard on the radio that the alcohol necessary to eliminate the ebola virus was 100 times the strength of household isopropyl alcohol. Scary stuff.
Niquel Cozart from New Jersey suburb on October 15, 2014:
Great information here! Bleach also kills AIDS. It really is the best way to disinfect possibly contaminated areas. Thanks for all the info on vitamins as well. I've been really into keeping up my vitamin intake.
Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on October 15, 2014:
This is why I stand by bleach. Natural is all good when its light cleaning, but when we are talking deadly contagious diseases, I want something guaranteed to knock it dead.
Great hub with lots of useful information.