Coronavirus can remain active on surfaces for up to nine days, according to a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection.
The study indicates that using a solution containing 62-72 per cent ethanol, 0.5 per cent hydrogen peroxide, or 0.1 per cent sodium hypochlorite will kill the virus within one minute of contact time.
In contrast, solutions of 0.04 per cent benzalkonium chloride, 0.06 per cent sodium hypochlorite and 0.55 per cent ortho-phthalaldehyde were less effective.
To determine the correct cleaning chemical formula, investigators at University Medicine Greifswald and Ruhr University Bochum in Germany looked at 22 studies that dealt with disinfection techniques for human coronavirus such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronavirus, or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV).
The researchers examined studies that provided original data on coronaviruses, including their staying power on surfaces and materials, and how biocidal disinfecting agents could render them inactive.
Investigators said using the proper solution is only one part of the equation; cleaning and disinfection procedures must be consistently and correctly followed to be effective.
The World Health Organization has named the coronavirus, COVID-19 as it was "easy to pronounce and did not inspire stigma, as it did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, or a group of people".
The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association (ISSA) has issued a guidance note to trained professionals on how to handle COVID-19 (see box below).
Paul Thrupp, chair of the British Cleaning Council, said: "There's a lot of alarm and concern among the British public at the moment about the coronavirus, and confirmation of the first cases in the UK could naturally intensify that.
"The best way of controlling it is the same as how you would deal with the flu, and patients should follow the catch it, bin it and kill it advice - use tissues if you sneeze, dispose of them properly and make sure you wash your hands regularly."
Seven steps to cleanliness
ISSA recommends seven steps when preparing to clean, sanitise and disinfect any space.
1. Incident site risk assessment: assess what equipment is needed and what cleaning and disinfection solutions to use.
2. Pre-bio test: Perform this test to determine the initial state of cleanliness.
3. Pre-disinfect: Where there may be contamination, use pre-disinfection as it "knocks down the viral or bacterial contamination prior to entering the site".
4. Load reduction: Items may need to be removed altogether because of bio contamination.
5. Forensic cleaning: Typically done with a dry towel and repeated with a detergent cleaning solution.
6. Post-site assessment /Post-bio test: Cleaners should determine ahead of time how they will carry out the cleaning, sanitisation and disinfection process.
7. Final disinfection: Sprayers could be used to complete this final stage.