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It is even more important than usual to maintain a clean laboratory environment as the Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus-2 (SARSCoV-2) virus which has caused the global pandemic is known to survive on some surfaces for varying lengths of time. Severe Acute Respiratory Coronavirus-2 is an enveloped beta Coronavirus.   

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and others have suggested that the following chemicals can be used to clean surfaces where the virus may be present.   


  • Normally 70% Ethanol is used for cleaning laboratory surfaces. The WHO have specified Ethanol rather than Industrial Denatured Alcohol (Ethanol IDA) which is supplied by Site Services. 

  • Ethanol can be used in both the biological laboratories and also in laboratories where radioactive materials are being handled. 

  • Ethanol should not be handled near oxidising or corrosive chemicals due to risk of combustion. 

Bleaches / Chlorine releasing agents 

  • Surface disinfection of bench laminate can be accomplished with 1,000 ppm (0.1%) bleach or Sodium Hypochlorite.  

  • Before bleach or other chlorine releasing agent is used on metals, it is advisable to check with the manufacturer that the surface can withstand being wiped with the solution. The surface coatings of some centrifuge rotors can be attacked and rapidly corroded by bleach or other chlorine releasing agent. 

  • The use of bleach in the Radioactive suite is strongly discouraged due to the potential of chemical reactions that can cause the release of free Iodine. 

  • If Virkon is going to be used rather than diluted liquid bleach, it must be prepared on the day and made up to a 2% solution. 

  • Gloves must always be worn when handling bleaches / Virkon as they are corrosive. 

Hydrogen Peroxide 

  • 0.5% Hydrogen Peroxide has been suggested as a cleaning agent.  

  • This should be only used on bench laminate 

  • Hydrogen Peroxide should not be used on metals as it can react cause damage. 

  • The use of Hydrogen Peroxide in the Radioactive suite is strongly discouraged due to the potential of chemical reactions involving the release of free Iodine. 



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