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There is a lot of News that stores are running out of hand-sanitizing gels and chlorine wipes and you may be worried about how to protect your family at home as COVID-19 spreads. The good news is that EVERYDAY HAND SOAP can go a very long way in making the Virus inactive or dead.
It is still recommended by the CDC / WHO and other organizations to WASH, WASH, WASH your HANDS! So why is that exactly. The explanation is simple really. The Novel Coronavirus is what is called an "Enveloped Virus" which means it is protected or housed in an envelope of cells. According to the Environmental Protection Agency. “It has an envelope around it that allows it to merge with other cells to infect them,” explains a spokesperson. “If you disrupt that coating, the virus can’t do its job.”
So washing hands very vigorously for at least 20 seconds with soapy suds will break apart this envelope and leave the virus either dead or inactive to bind to cells and infect you! So just get down with it, rub like you have something sticky on your hands you need to get off, all that agitation is what is key to a good hand washing. Here is a good video to demonstrate.
There is a very detailed list from the EPA of products titled "EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against
Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19" But let's just look at the quick overview of helpful facts here.
Remember just the friction from a good scrubbing with soap & water can break the corona virus’s protective envelope. “Scrub like you’ve got sticky stuff on the surface and you really need to get it off,” says Richard Sachleben, an organic chemist and member of the American Chemical Society. Then discard the towel or leave it in a bowl of soapy water for some time to destroy any virus particles that may have survived.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a diluted bleach solution (⅓ cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per 1 quart of water) for virus disinfection. While using bleach, make sure to wear gloves , and never mix it with anything except water.
“Bleach works great against viruses,” Sachleben says. Remember not to keep the solution for longer than a few days as bleach does degrade certain plastic containers.
Bleach will also corrode metal over time, so Sachleben recommends not to get into the habit of cleaning your faucets and stainless steel products with it so often. You should rinse surfaces with just water after disinfecting them to prevent discoloration or damage to the surface because bleach is harsh for many countertops as well.
Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against coronavirus. You must not dilute the alcohol solution further. Alcohol is generally safe for all surfaces but can discolor some plastics, Sachleben says.
Household (3 percent) hydrogen peroxide can deactivate rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure, according to the CDC. Rhinovirus is tougher to destroy than coronaviruses, as a result hydrogen peroxide should be able to break down coronavirus in a little less time. Pour it undiluted into a spray bottle and spray it on the surface to be cleaned, make sure to let it sit on the surface for at least several minutes.
Hydrogen peroxide is not corrosive, so it can be used on metal surfaces. However similar to bleach, it discolors fabric if you accidentally get some on clothing. “It’s great for getting into hard-to-reach crevices,” Sachleben says. “You can pour it on the area and you don’t have to wipe it off because it essentially decomposes into oxygen and water.”
We can find widely circulated recipes on the web touting vodka to combat coronavirus. Two vodka makers, including Tito’s and Smirnoff, already have made statements telling customers that their 80-proof products do not contain enough ethyl alcohol to kill the coronavirus. Remember 70 percent is required and Vodka weighs in at only 40 percent.
Another popular online myth circulating are disinfection recommendations using vinegar. However there is no evidence to suggest it to be effective against coronavirus.
Sachleben gives the advice. “I’m a professional chemist, and I don’t mix my own disinfectant products at home,” he insists. “Companies spend a bunch of time and money to pay chemists specifically to formulate hand sanitizers that work and that are safe. If you make it yourself, how can you know if it’s stable or if it works?”
Don't believe all the hype and recipies floating around social media and the internet in general. Don't end up hurting yourself!
One of the main reasons I wanted to present this information to everyone is because maybe you, like me, get a bit fearful when you see bare shelves where hand washing solutions should be. I wanted to know what really works and what doesn't. I tried to find some basic easily available materials to prepare and stock up on myself. I didn't think that all the stuff people are making purchase runs on were our only solutions, and thankfully they are not. I hope its been helpful. I know you have heard it a lot this week, but wash those hands folks! Frequently and vigorously, break down that envelope and stop the Virus in its tracks.