Skip to content

SARS-CoV-2 Frequently Asked Questions

Note: Please be aware we are referring to the initial test results on the virus SARS-CoV-2 and not the disease COVID-19.

Questions on testing

An accredited laboratory in the USA has tested 3 leading Unilever products including a Domestos Thick Bleach for efficacy on SARS-CoV-2 virus.

We can confirm that these products are over 99.99% effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. Testing was conducted by an accredited laboratory in the USA in line with international test standards.

The ‘99.99% effective against Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2)’ reference means that the products tested on the SARS-CoV-2 virus are effective in inactivating at least 9,999 out of 10,000 virus particles that cause the COVID-19 disease in any given test. This level of inactivation is recognised by regulations around the world.

The ‘>99.99% effective against COVID-19 Coronavirus’ reference means [Domestos, Cif & Living Hygiene] products tested on the SARS-CoV-2 virus and are effective in inactivating at least 9,999 out of 10,000 virus particles in any given test. This level of inactivation is recognised by regulations around the world as providing an exceptionally high level of protection against transmission from contaminated surfaces. Protection from the virus is, of course, dependent on multiple factors, as advised by public health authorities, this includes good hand and surface hygiene, social distancing and avoiding people who might be ill.

For confidentiality reasons, we are unable to comment on how much the test cost.

The products have been tested against the specific SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, which causes COVID19.

Unilever did not get access to the virus. We have worked with an accredited laboratory in the USA, which got access to the virus.

We are unable to share details of where the virus was sourced.

Unilever did not get access to the virus. We have been working with an accredited laboratory in the USA, which got access to the virus.

To ensure results are accurate, the testing process takes several weeks to complete. All tests are done in line with international standards.

The test has been done in line with global protocols and standards in a high-level bio-containment laboratory.

Questions on the products tested

Three leading global Unilever products including Domestos thick bleach.

The 3 products tested are our most popular with consumers. We prioritised these products to provide reassurance on a range of disinfecting options to a maximum number of consumers.

We can only confirm the efficacy of our BKC (benzalkonium chloride) disinfectant and sodium hypochlorite-based disinfectants, which have a formulation profile comparable to the products tested.

We are sharing the results of these three products. For confidentiality reasons, we are unable to share further details of additional products that may be tested.

Our products are routinely tested for broad spectrum bacterial and viral efficacy.

Human coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2 belong to the family of enveloped viruses. The “envelope” is like a jacket made up of lipids and proteins, which protect the virus from the environment and helps it to enter human cells such as lung cells. Sodium hypochlorite and BKC (benzalkonium chloride) can effectively disrupt the protective layer and inactivate the virus.

Based on the data from the initial test results for the three products tested, and the consistent structure of coronaviruses, we anticipate these products to be effective against other pandemic strains, including MERS-CoV and SARS-CoV.

Our position has not changed. We continue to support and promote the advice from public health authorities to use bleach, any bleach, to help fight the spread of the virus. We conducted the testing to provide the scientific evidence that our specific Domestos bleach is effective against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and also to understand how fast bleach inactivates the virus.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, we received consumer questions asking which Unilever hygiene products are efficacious against the SARS-CoV-2 strain.

We responded with an unbranded public awareness campaign relaying advice from the WHO to use adequately diluted bleach from any brand to disinfect frequently touched surfaces. In parallel, we have been working with an accredited laboratory In USA to answer with full confidence consumer questions specific to our products.

These test results are reassuring news for consumers, as the data show consumers have several hygiene product options to protect themselves against COVID-19, while providing important information on how to use these products effectively.

Questions on broader Unilever Home Care portfolio

All our surface cleaning brands contribute to good hygiene at home and therefore to public health. However, we can only confirm the efficacy on SARS-CoV-2 of our BKC (benzalkonium chloride) and sodium hypochlorite-based disinfectants, which have a formulation profile comparable to the products tested.

For confidentiality reasons, we do not wish to share further information at this time.

Yes. The laboratory is accredited in line with internationally recognised standards. If needed: International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 General requirements for the competence of testing and calibration laboratories. In addition, it has U.S. EPA FIFRA Good Laboratory Practice Standard (GLP), the U.S. FDA GLP Standard (21 CFR part 58), and Good Manufacturing Practice Standard (GMP), accreditation is granted to this laboratory to perform the viricidal testing.

We have been working with this laboratory for the last five years.

The testing was carried out by an accredited Laboratory in USA.