Background: The 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) infected over 8000 people and killed 774. Transmission of SARS occurred through direct and indirect contact and large droplet nuclei. The World Health Organization recommended the use of household disinfectants, which have not been previously tested against SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV), to disinfect potentially contaminated environmental surfaces. There is a need for a surrogate test system given the limited availability of the SARS-CoV for testing and biosafety requirements necessary to safely handle it. In this study, the antiviral activity of standard household products was assayed against murine hepatitis virus (MHV), as a potential surrogate for SARS-CoV. Methods: A surface test method, which involves drying an amount of virus on a surface and then applying the product for a specific contact time, was used to determine the virucidal activity. The virus titers and log reductions were determined by the Reed and Muench tissue culture infective dose (TCID)50 end point method. Results: When tested as directed, common household disinfectants or antiseptics, containing either 0.050% of triclosan, 0.12% of PCMX, 0.21% of sodium hypochlorite, 0.23% of pine oil, or 0.10% of a quaternary compound with 79% of ethanol, demonstrated a 3-log reduction or better against MHV without any virus recovered in a 30-second contact time. Conclusion: Common household disinfectants and antiseptics were effective at inactivating MHV, a possible surrogate for SARS-CoV, from surfaces when used as directed. In an outbreak caused by novel agents, it is important to know the effectiveness of disinfectants and antiseptics to prevent or reduce the possibility of human-to-human transmission via surfaces.