Updated April 3, 2020
There is insufficient research to say that witch hazel can kill bacteria or viruses, says Thomas A. Russo, MD, professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases. “With coronavirus, there’s absolutely no reason to use any sort of product on your skin other than regular soap and water, or if you have one of those hand alcohol based hand sanitizers,” Russo says. He encourages people to follow social distancing and recommends practicing good hand hygiene as well as disinfecting high-touch surfaces. “My recommendation would be 0.1 percent bleach or 0.5 percent hydrogen peroxide. Those are compounds that have been tested that we know inactivates this virus,” he says.