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Can just hot water kill the COVID-19 virus on surfaces? If yes, for how long?

No, hot water alone cannot kill the virus that causes COVID-19 on surfaces. The virus (SARS-CoV-2) has a fat-based envelope that makes it very susceptible to detergents and alcohol.

While it is likely that very high temperatures will also inactivate the virus, this is not an advised household practice due to the risk of burns and lack of testing on what temperature is needed and for how long. Soapy water or an alcohol-based disinfectant are better and easier ways to clean surfaces. Specifically, the CDC recommends alcohol (70%), diluted household bleach solutions, and EPA-registered household disinfectants. Be sure to check the labels of each product before use for proper guidance.

References

https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/myth-busters

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/cleaning-disinfection.html

Drafted 20 March 2020