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At the time of writing, COVID-19 has infected over 4.7 million people worldwide, with the death toll now at more than 300,000. So it’s not surprising that people are remaining vigilant by doing regular home cleaning using disinfectants in a bid to protect themselves and their families.
However, for others who are living the green life, it’s been challenging to find solutions that would balance the need to protect the environment and their household. One prime example of this is bleach.
Bleach has been identified as an effective means to kill the novel coronavirus. And while bleach is relatively innocuous when properly used as a household cleaning item, its entire industry still poses a lot of threats to the environment. This is one of the many reasons Greenpeace, a global environmental activist organization, has called for the stop of bleach manufacturing.
So the question is: are there any natural products that can protect people’s homes from the outbreak? Fortunately, there is.
Soap and Water
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Using soap and water is one of the safest and most straightforward ways to shield your home from the virus. It both removes the virus surfaces and kills it outright.
Soaps can destroy the virus because the virus has quite a fragile structure despite having the ability to spread quickly through the population. The virus has a protective layer of coating or shell that houses the RNA, the very material that causes the disease. Soap can dissolve this coating effortlessly, resulting in the virus’s death.
Prioritizing What to Sanitize
It’s been observed that Sars-cov-2 can live off surfaces for hours and even days depending on the material. It can stay on copper surfaces for four hours, a full day on cupboards, and up to three days on plastic.
Touching any of these surfaces and inadvertently rubbing your face after can lead to an infection. As such, it’s best to prioritize cleaning the surfaces where the virus can thrive longer.
First, make a list of the things that are frequently touched or handled inside the house. These surfaces or objects include:
- Light switches
- High-backed chairs
- Phones and keys
- Tablets and touch screens
- Mouse and keyboards
- Remote control
For certain areas around the house, you need to clean them out first before wiping the surface with soap and water. An example of these surfaces would be rugs. Proper rug cleaning and removing dirt and debris where it is installed should first be conducted to maximize the effectiveness of the sanitation process.
Proper Clothing Washing Methods
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Even though governments across the globe have placed varying degrees of quarantine measures, people still need to go outside to resupply. As such, there’s still the possibility of coming in contact with an infected person, especially those who are asymptomatic.
Always wear a mask when you’re outside, and practice strict social distancing (staying two meters or six feet apart from others) to protect yourself. As for your clothes, it’s best to change immediately into cleaner ones when you get home. Furthermore, it’s highly recommended that you change outside your house, preferably at the shed or garage.
You also need to remember several important tips when cleaning your clothes as well. For people at home you should do the following:Launder the items with soap and warm water.
WHO recommends that the water temperature be between 60 and 90 degrees C (140 to 174 F) as this can help kill the virus.
However, some clothing may be susceptible to damage in warmer water, so you should read their care labels before soaking them.
Do not shake dirty laundry as this may disperse the virus around the room. Remember, the virus can remain airborne for up to three hours.
After washing the laundry, make sure to sanitize your hands with soap to limit its spread further.
Sanitize your hampers and laundry bags as well after washing.
For people who are washing their clothing at a laundromat, here’s a quick guide:Prepare your laundry before heading out to limit your time outside
1. Store your laundry bag in a disposable plastic cover
2. Always wear a facial mask and observe proper social distancing
3. Try to schedule your laundromat trip when there are fewer people
4. Wear gloves and clean the metal surfaces that you’re using
5. Avoid touching your face
6. Fold your laundry at home
The brushes and towels that you use for brushing your shoes, cleaning your rugs, and washing your car are also items that need to be properly sanitized. Just make sure to follow proper cleaning procedures when washing them.
Natural Products to Avoid
Regarding other natural products like vinegar and baking soda, there’s no evidence that these can go toe to toe against the virus. Both of these products can only change acidity or alkalinity, which means they’re not enough to eliminate the virus.
Vodkas should not be used either since their alcohol content doesn’t meet the required alcohol concentration of the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), which is at 60 percent. If you want to stay green and protect your home, your best bet is still using soap and water.