Many store shelves have been left empty due to the increasing coronavirus (COVID-19) fears. What you might not know is that many household cleaning products you already own can protect against the coronavirus if you use them properly. Dr. John Swartzberg, an expert on infectious diseases, says “There are many bad things about the coronavirus, but there is one good thing: It is not very hardy.”
Here are common household cleaning products you might already have and how to use them:
Soap and water
Although it may not be thought to be as powerful as other disinfectants, it will work. Soap removes viral particles that have attached to surfaces and suspends them in the water, so they can be washed away. Richard Sachleben, an organic chemist and a member of the American Chemical Society, said most of the cleaning products we call soap are detergents that not only remove the germs from surfaces, but also can destroy them.
“Bleach is very effective at killing the coronavirus, as well as virtually every other germ on the face of the planet,” said Dr. Paul Pottinger, a professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington Medical Center. Make sure you protect your skin while using bleach and mix it with water to create a solution. The CDC formula for making a diluted bleach solution is to use five tablespoons (1/3 cup) of bleach in one gallon of water.
Hydrogen Peroxide is not as strong as bleach so it should be used straight, not diluted, to clean surfaces.
Alcohol products containing at least 70% alcohol will kill the coronavirus. It does not need to be diluted and it is safe for all surfaces.
Cleaning products that are not effective:
Vodka and other drinking alcohols are only 40% alcohol and therefore not effective. There is also no evidence to support that using vinegar is effective against the virus.
The proper cleaning technique:
Dr. Pottinger said, “To decontaminate a surface, you can’t just swipe it, you’ve got to scrub it, really scrub it until the entire surface is wet, and then let it dry on its own. The elbow grease and force that you put into the cleaning process can really pay dividends. You’ve got to physically wipe away the grime. The antiseptic agent is the additional measure of security that any virus left behind will be killed.”
To correctly use Clorox wipes they recommend using enough wipes for the treated surface to remain visibly wet for 4 minutes and to let the surface dry.