If you find that you’re in a situation where you can’t find name brand disinfectants at your local grocery store, here are some readily available options that can help disinfect your home, while keeping your family safe and healthy.
Soap and water
It seems obvious, but experts agree that your best defence against the COVID-19 virus is washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. This is especially crucial every time you and your family leave your home for essential services, such as trips to the grocery store or pharmacy.
In addition, make sure that children wash their hands vigorously, as some children tend not to show symptoms as quickly as adults do. This will also help them to develop healthier hand-washing habits for their future.
The disinfectant powers of common household bleach are no secret. Bleach is an effective means of sanitizing surfaces when used as recommended. The Centers for disease control suggest making a diluted bleach solution consisting of ¾ of a cup of bleach to 1 gallon (3.78 litres) of water for virus disinfection. You should, however, use caution when this solution, it should be used on hard surfaces only and not fabric, bleach can also corrode metal over time so it should not be used for extended periods of time to clean taps and other metal fixtures. It is also recommended that you wear gloves to protect your skin and that to achieve maximum efficacy surfaces should be cleaned with soap and water first, then be allowed to dry before applying the bleach solution and letting that sit for at least 10 minutes before wiping it off.
Although you may need to wash surfaces before applying Hydrogen Peroxide (i.e. grease and dirt interfere with its cleaning abilities), this gentler, more natural alternative to harsher chemical disinfectants will kill the majority of bacteria on surfaces. You also won’t need to wipe it away, as Hydrogen Peroxide decomposes into oxygen and water.
After applying, be sure to let the surface dry for approximately five minutes before touching the surface again. This way, the Hydrogen Peroxide has time to activate its disinfecting properties.
Products with at least 70% alcohol content are said to kill coronavirus and may cause less damage to surfaces than regular bleach. However, experts agree that the solution should not be diluted, and is generally safe to apply directly to all surfaces. Plastics are the only exception to this rule, as 70% rubbing alcohol can potentially discolour some plastic material.
Although all of these at-home products are safe to use in the home as an alternative to store-bought cleaning products, it’s important to note that a simple “wipe” won’t do the trick. Giving all surfaces a good scrub, and applying disinfectant several times per day is your best bet for killing harmful viruses and bacteria.
As uncertain as this time can be, it’s crucial to ensure that your family is safe, healthy, and as free from anxiety as possible. Although the current situation can feel highly overwhelming if you do your part to stay indoors, wash your hands, and keep all regularly used surfaces clean, these temporary changes to your lifestyle will begin to feel less daunting.
The government of Canada has compiled a list of hard-surface disinfectants and hand sanitizers that meet Health Canada’s requirements for killing viral pathogens including COVID-19. Please see the link below for more information.