If you’ve been to a supermarket or drugstore recently, you know how empty the shelves are. Hand sanitizers, chlorine wipes, and rubbing alcohol are almost impossible to find. Online, the situation is just as bad. Tiny containers of hand gel that used to cost less than a dollar now sell for fifty… if there’s any available at all.
The good news is that regular soap is still readily available and the best way to stay healthy is to wash your hands.
But what about surfaces?
As you’ve probably read by now, the virus can linger on surfaces for days. However, so far, the CDC says that, while it is possible that people can be infected by touching a contaminated surface, the virus is still probably most often spread through person-to-person contact.
This means that the best way to stay safe is to limit in-person social interactions, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands often.
But, with a virus as new as COVID-19, information seems to change daily. Until there is certainty about exactly how the virus is transferred, keeping your air and surfaces clean is wise, especially if someone in your household is sick.
What products work to destroy coronavirus?
For your hands…
Soap and water
If a sink and soap are available, soap and water is the best way to keep your hands clean. Coronaviruses are surrounded by a layer of fat. Vigorously washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds breaks down the fat and the virus falls apart.
Hand sanitizing gel
Hand gel was one of the first things to sell out in most stores. But, there are still some places you can find it online. Be aware that, in order to be effective, the gel has to contain at least 60% alcohol. To use the gel properly, make sure you apply it to every part of your hands and then let them air dry.
There have been multiple recipes for homemade sanitizers circulating online using rubbing alcohol or vodka. Unfortunately, there is still some question as to the safety and effectiveness of using do-it-yourself hand gels.
For other surfaces…
The CDC released a long list of EPA approved products that are effective in killing coronavirus. If your local stores still carry these products, you’re in luck! If not, there are a few basic ingredients that most of these products contain that will be just as useful in killing the coronavirus.
Isopropyl alcohol is used in both medical antiseptics and household cleaners. As long as it has a concentration of at least 70 percent alcohol, it should kill most germs, including coronavirus. Just make sure not to dilute it.
Rubbing alcohol, another useful product in fighting coronavirus, is made up of either isopropyl or ethyl alcohol and water, but may also be difficult to find in stores right now due to the homemade hand gel recipes that have become popular.
The CDC recommends using a diluted bleach solution (⅓ cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per 1 quart of water) for virus disinfection. Just remember that bleach is harsh stuff. Wear gloves when you use it and NEVER mix it with anything except water.
Hydrogen peroxide is really good at killing viruses. But, it may take a little longer than some of the other products. Pour undiluted peroxide into a spray bottle, spray it on surfaces and just let it sit for a few minutes. Just don’t forget that peroxide, like bleach, can discolor your clothes.
While all of these products can be useful in fighting coronavirus remember that your BEST defense is still to wash your hands and limit face-to-face social interactions as much as possible.