A large majority of the United States currently have some sort of stay at home advisory. Due to the continued outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 federal, state and local governments are enforcing social distancing by closure of nonessential businesses.
The restrictions have led many to limit movement and travel. Grocery stores are still stocked relatively speaking (paper towels, toilet paper and sanitizing wipes may seem hard to find). Pharmacies are open as well. Using proper cleaning and sanitary techniques can be very effective in avoiding the spread. You may be concerned about the lack of sanitizing wipes available on the shelf or you may not feel comfortable leaving the house during parts of the day.
What if I told you that there are common household supplies that can be very effective disinfectants?
You may have some supplies in your house currently that have been shown to be very effective against pathogens such as bacteria and viruses (including the influenza viruses).
Let’s review why social distancing and cleaning practices are helpful as well as some of those common household items that can come in handy.
Why Social Distancing, Self-Quarantine and Proper Cleaning Practices Are Helpful
The goal of the quarantine is to help control the outbreak and spread of the virus. I mentioned in my initial observations and predictions of COVID-19 post that I believed that the amount of people with the virus will increase. This will be due in fact to improved and available testing. However, the big danger would be from people that will carry the virus and spread to others (it’s highly contagious).
Those who spread it may be doing so unknowingly since many that carry it may be asymptomatic. However, it can spread so easily that the threat is to those who are at risk and have underlying conditions. That is the importance of social distancing and quarantine.
Proper cleaning practices are also essential. Something as simple as washing your hands can make a big difference. Remember that this is not just for the current COVID-19 spread but for general practice. You should always be mindful and wash your hands even after the coronavirus passes.
Clean, wipe down & disinfect surfaces in your house. This can include things such as door knobs, tables, sinks, toilets, phones and electronics etc. If you touch it you should clean it
Some Common Household Items Can Be Effective Disinfectants
Are you one of those that does not have any sanitizing wipes in your house? Are you unable to get your hands on them at the store? Well chances are that you have some things in your home that can do a pretty good job.
One important thing to note is that I have not seen public advisories (yet, as it relates to COVID-19 specifically) to wipe down everything that comes into your home. For example should you wipe down all the packages and groceries before you bring them in your house? I have seen it come up anecdotally but not yet seen anything official (at least as of the initial writing of this post).
But I absolutely do. So for me and my household until things begin to calm down I will spend a few mins to do so. I will err on the side of caution and it is not that big of a disruption for me.
Fortunately there is a nice peer reviewed study that was posted back in 2010. It was appropriately titled as “Effectiveness of Common Household Cleaning Agents in Reducing the Viability of Human Influenza A/H1N1”. The study was seeking to review common household agents that are viable and inexpensive with their effectiveness with H1N1. The H1N1 flu was the last pandemic 10 years ago. Below are some of the items mentioned in the research.
Household Bleach Shown To Be Effective Against The Virus
Most may already know this. In fact creating a bleach disinfecting solution is even posted on the CDC site referencing cleaning and disinfection. It’s common and very effective. Depending on how sensitive your skin is you may have to wear gloves.
Alcohol Is Very Effective
Alcohol is also referenced on the CDC site for disinfection. There is a reason why it is also included in those first aid kits. The alcohol based gels, wipes and sprays (containing at least 70%) have been shown to be very effective. If you have a bottle in your medicine cabinet you can make use of this.
You May Not Know That Vinegar Is Effective As Well
This is the one that may draw some true curiosity. It’s an item most often used for food purposes but vinegar has so many more uses beyond our kitchen table. Vinegar has been used medicinally and even for cleaning. However, the study referenced how vinegar was also able to provide a means to disinfect surfaces from the influenza A virus. It also stated that malt vinegar (4-8% acetic acid) was effective down to a solution to 10%.
Another tidbit of information about vinegar (active ingredient – acetic acid) is that its antibacterial qualities have been proven to be effective against tuberculosis. Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a common disinfectant. The study proved that it was effective against mycobacteria, the most disinfectant-resistant bacteria.
REMINDER: When using any of these items in your house check to see if it ok to use on that particular surface. Some porous surfaces may be stained if cleaned with certain types of solutions. Perform your proper due diligence.
Some Highly Effective Disinfectants Are Both Inexpensive And Readily Available
Sometimes circumstances may be where marketed disinfectants may not be readily available. In this current COVID-19 outbreak this can be from lack of supply or inability or concern of going to local markets. If that is the case we can look at some common items in our household that may be very effective. Something is always better than nothing so take the time to clean and wipe things down.
Even after the pandemic of COVID-19 passes don’t look past common sanitary practices. You can help eliminate many common illnesses with some common sense and items that are both inexpensive and sitting in your cabinets as we speak.
The information in this post is not written to state that these items remove the corona virus specifically. Remember the research to piece this together (details on COVID-19 specifically) is still ongoing and those answers will be revealed in the near future. However, this is shared to help give you helpful information on how these common items have been effective on similar pathogens.
You should still be concerned with other viruses and harmful bacteria that could be present long after COVID-19. The research study cited will provide you with additional resourcefulness.
Stay empowered and informed.