Clearly, we are all concerned about how to protect our families, friends, and homes during this historically difficult period of time we're living through. Concerns over cleaning product shortages have become fairly universal, but more than likely, you already have items in your home that will do the trick.

Consumer Reports has been a great source of information for me during this situation and they have a review of products that are useful and those you should avoid when cleaning your home environment.

  • Soap and water - The old standby is one of the best cleaning products. It has been discovered that the friction from simply rubbing your hands together while scrubbing with soap and water can break the outer envelope of the virus rendering it harmless. So the suggestion is to scrub your hands like you have something sticky on them that you're trying to get off. Dry your hands thoroughly and switch out your towels daily.
  • Bleach - CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention) recommends 1/3 cup bleach to a gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons for bleach to 1 quart of water, and never mix with ammonia. Clean surfaces with soap and water first, and then (wearing rubber gloves) the bleach solution. Bleach can corrode your metal fixtures and is harsh on countertops also, so rinse surfaces with water after disinfecting.
  • Isopropyl alcohol - At least 70% solutions are effective. Again wash the surface with soap & water first, apply alcohol and let it sit for 30 seconds before removing.
  • Hydrogen peroxide - It is very effective against rhinoviruses (which cause the common cold and are actually harder to destroy than coronaviruses, believe it or not), so it is even more effective against coronavirus. It won't corrode metal surfaces, but like bleach and alcohol can discolor fabrics.

Avoid these products:

  • Homemade hand sanitizer - Most people don't know the correct ratios of products to use, the internet doesn't have the correct answers (despite what people may think) and the product you whip up in your kitchen may be harmful and unstable.
  • Distilled white vinegar - Not effective against coronavirus
  • Vodka - Even 80 proof vodka does not contain enough ethyl alcohol to kill coronavirus.

For more information see Consumer Reports.

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