Safe to use Lysol wipes on pasta boxes?
March 22, 2020 3:38 PM   Subscribe

We just lysol wiped a huge grocery delivery. Most of it was in non porous plastic bags or tin cans. But some of it, like pasta for instance, was in cardboard boxes. You know, the thin kind? I tried to dry the excess Lysol off of the boxes as I wiped, but now I’m a little worried: since cardboard is paper, could the Lysol wipes affect the contents? Or does the finish on the printing kind of prevent that from happenings?

Feeling a little silly to even ask, but these are weird times. And please, we have our reasons to be extra careful, so no lectures on how this wasn’t worth my time. Thanks in advance.
posted by summerteeth to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty sure the boiling water you're going to cook it in will take care of anything that might get through to the dried pasta.
posted by Jacqueline at 3:43 PM on March 22, 2020 [8 favorites]

It's unlikely that a brief wipe will leave enough residual moisture to soak through the cardboard.

Why not just empty the pasta into your own bag or other container and just throw the box in the recycling?

Another approach would be just to let non-perishable food packets sit somewhere untouched for a couple of days.
posted by pipeski at 3:45 PM on March 22, 2020 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Just don't soak the pasta in it. It should be fine. You would only be getting mild fumes in the box from the evaporating Lysol. Dried pasta is fairly hardy stuff. You probably wouldn't want to leave it in a fume-filled environment for hours, but a quick wipe and letting it sit out would be quite sufficient.
posted by jgreco at 4:42 PM on March 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

In case you haven't seen it: Food Safety and Conoravirus, a pretty authoritative look at what (and what not) to worry about compiled by Kenji Lopez-Alt, who is both a scientist and a restaurant chef (and a writer too).
Kenji says: The data for how long the virus can remain viable on food is limited, but in general, viral loads remain more stable on non-porous surfaces like metal and plastic, and break down faster on organic surfaces like cardboard.

...According to multiple health and safety organizations worldwide, including the CDC, the USDA, and the European Food safety Authority, there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 has spread through food or food packaging. Previous coronavirus epidemics likewise showed no evidence of having been spread through food or packaging.

...Wash your hands after bringing it home, transfer to clean containers and/or sanitize packaging when possible, and wash your hands before, during, and after cooking. (And stop picking your nose.)
So if, like you, I were being extra careful I think I would just pour the pasta into a glass or Tupperware container at home and discard the packaging, then wash my hands well. As noted above, nothing will survive the eventual cooking of the pasta anyway.
posted by Miko at 5:02 PM on March 22, 2020 [5 favorites]

You should put it in an air-tight container anyway. Weevils.
posted by praemunire at 5:51 PM on March 22, 2020 [3 favorites]

I would not be concerned. In the future, if you two choices are to wipe the box or not, I would err on the side of wipe it. The outside of the box is not touching the pasta. It is being touched by human hands so disinfect is a prudent step. I would rather have a little disinfectant taste or smell than the virus. YMMV.
posted by AugustWest at 8:05 PM on March 22, 2020

John Campbell delivered a summary of this paper which looks at covid-19 survival times on various surfaces. They scientists found that, after 24 hours, no viable virus could be detected on cardboard. For other less porous surfaces, the virus could survive for up to 72 hours.

Given this information, the procedure I am going to try to adopt is:
1. Remove any outer packaging which may have been touched by hand. Dispose of it. Then wash hands with soap. Job done.
2. If there is any inner packaging that may have been touched but which cannot be removed - then consider just leaving it aside for a day or so before storing it or opening it.
3. Only bother trying to disinfect packaging if it still needs to be opened despite both of the above protocols.
posted by rongorongo at 11:48 PM on March 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

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