It’s been quite a while since the world is caught in the pandemic which so far has taken away the lives of around a quarter million people all around the world – the Corona Virus disease, or COVID-19. Nowadays the stress is more on hygiene and we more often use sanitizers, soaps and disinfectants.
The virus can survive in the air for a few hours and on a surface for up to nine days. The infection can spread quickly from one person to another either by coughing or touching. Of course, cleaning our hands thoroughly after being in public can prevent getting affected by COVID-19. But how about eliminating the virus from home?
Recently studies were conducted on how long a virus can survive on different surfaces. The survival time varied from one surface to another. The virus survived up to nine days on the surface of plastic and stainless steel. While on paper and cardboard, it survived for just one day. So we must emphasize more on cleaning surfaces. Cleaning and maintaining materials already in our home can be used for that purpose.
Soap and Water
Soap removes Protein present in the outer coating. When we wash our hands with soap, the outer coating breaks, and the virus will be rinsed off completely by water. So never overlook the importance of washing hands with soap and water whenever you come back home. A vast majority of soaps are actually made of a detergent. It not only removes the virus but also kills it.
But more than 90% of people are washing hands incorrectly. Hands should be thoroughly washed with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Antibacterial soap won’t be effective in killing corona virus since it only kills bacteria and not viruses.
What makes bleach a powerful cleaning material is its active ingredient odium hypochlorite. While cleaning all you have to do is leave the bleach as it is for 15 minutes and wipe it off with a cloth. The bleach destroys both the protein and Ribonucleic Acid in the virus.
Not only does bleach kill the corona virus, but it kills other deadly viruses as well. But many a time, while handling bleach we find it difficult to use, since it has an unpleasant smell and tends to damage the surface which you tried to clean.
Never use bleach without wearing gloves, since it can damage your skin if in any way it gets in touch with your skin. Don’t mix bleach with anything except water. Don’t make a bleach solution in advance, since it will lose its effectiveness after a day. Therefore, you should make the solution prior to cleaning.
Since bleach is harsh, it will be better if you do a test before cleaning the whole surface. Care should be taken to avoid splatter to any other surface like metal or even paint.
Another prominent cleaning material is surgical spirit. The active ingredient in the surgical spirit is ethanol. It takes less than 30 seconds to destroy both the protein and RNA in a corona virus with ethanol. All you have to do is soak a cloth with some surgical spirit and rub thoroughly over the surface. No need to wipe off the solution, since it evaporates after a few seconds.
Even though Hydrogen Peroxide is not that strong when compared to bleach, the damage it tends to make will be less. But it can discolor clothes. Do not mix Hydrogen peroxide by diluting it. It can be used as it is, where it decomposes into both oxygen and water. Since hydrogen peroxide is non-toxic, it can be used in areas where you store food or dishes. Just spray the solution and let it sit for a few minutes and wipe it off. But care should be taken on not to mix hydrogen peroxide either with bleach or white vinegar since it can cause a reaction.
The main constituent of the surface wipe is Benzalkonium chloride, an antiseptic. The pressure we apply while cleaning removes the germs where all the germs will attach to the surface wipe. It leaves a layer of antiseptic while we clean the surface which kills the virus. Not only does it kill corona virus, but it also kills other harmful bacteria as well.
The active ingredient in hand sanitizers is ethanol, like that of surgical spirit. But the alcohol content in the hand sanitizer you use should be more than 70% otherwise, the virus won’t be killed. Hand sanitizers are available in different forms such as gels, liquids and foams. It can be rubbed into our skin without a need to rinse.
Hand sanitizers are beneficial against microbes and can be used when you are not able to clean with soap and water. Hand sanitizers are also beneficial in lessening the type and number of harmful microbes.
Other than Alcohol-based hand sanitizers, there are alcohol-free hand sanitizers which contain Quaternary ammonium compounds. Even though it can reduce microbes, it’s not as effective as alcohol-based hand sanitizers. Not only does an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is effective against corona virus, it is also effective against Hepatitis A virus, Influenza A virus and HIV.
Disinfecting Tips to Remember
- Always clean the surface prior to clean, so that the surface will be free of any dirt or grime.
- After you complete disinfecting a surface, you should leave the surface to dry.
- Always ensure that you disinfect things which you frequently use, for instance, your smartphone.
- Throw off surface wipes immediately after usage.
What Not to Use Against Corona virus
White Vinegar and Vodka (Never Never Do)
Now that you know the various cleaning materials which can be useful for cleaning your home, there are some cleaning materials which should be avoided while cleaning. One such product is vinegar. Many people use white vinegar since it’s not very harsh and inexpensive. But in no way, white vinegar can kill corona virus.
Neither vodka nor other types of distilled spirits can actually kill corona virus. The alcohol content in vodka isn’t enough to kill corona virus.
Vodka contains only 40% alcohol, which isn’t enough since viruses will only get killed if the solution contains 70% of alcohol.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer (Never Never Do)
Nowadays, there are more DIY videos on how to make hand sanitizers at home. Many people have a wrong impression that homemade sanitizers are equally effective as store-bought hand sanitizers. But without proper knowledge of the ingredient ratios, any handmade sanitizer won’t be effective.
Tea Tree Oil (Never Never Do)
Even though tea tree oil is effective in killing the herpes simplex virus, no evidence proves that it can be used against corona virus.
We are going through a tough time, but it’s reassuring to know that
we can prevent getting affected by the virus with household products.
While cleaning, give more emphasis to cleaning areas where you touch the most such as doorknobs, handles, countertops and railings. It will be better if you disinfect these surfaces very often.
While disinfecting any surface, don’t just wipe the surface, you should scrub the surface. You need to scrub until the surface is soaked with the cleaning material and let it dry. Let the cleaning solution stay for a long time, since wiping off immediately won’t disinfect a surface.