There is a lot that we don’t know about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. We don’t know exactly where it came from, how it spreads, how to treat it or what all it can contaminate.
So what do we know about the coronavirus?
We do know that COVID-19 can be spread through droplets expelled during a cough or sneeze. We also know that it is possible for the virus to linger on surfaces like cardboard. That means that many items sold in grocery stores have the potential to be contaminated with the virus. Experts also believe that the virus does not spread through food, though practicing good food safety and hygiene is recommended.
The best way to reduce this risk? Experts say cleaning and proper sanitation.
With so much inconsistent information and rumors, many Americans are feeling lost and confused about exactly how to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) post daily updates and information about the coronavirus. Unfortunately, much of this information is spun and republished on media outlets or social media.
Experts suggest getting your updates directly from the CDC or WHO, or at least fact-checking before you make a move. Experts also continue telling us to clean, sanitize and wash our hands. But many Americans are wondering what products will kill the coronavirus? What products are safe to use at home? We have compiled some tips from experts to hopefully help answer these questions.
Coronavirus Cleaning and Sanitation Tips
As the urge to clean and sanitize continues to swell, the availability of many household cleaning products has dropped dramatically. This has led to Americans considering alternatives to traditional cleaning methods. But is that safe? Read on to find out what experts have to say about it.
Can I Cross-Use Cleaning Products?
With shortages of antibacterial products, many people are using dish soap to wash their hands. Others are using cleaning spray to disinfect household objects because Lysol is unavailable. Experts warn that cross-using products or mixing them can be ineffective and extremely dangerous. Cleaning expert, Jolie Kerr, warns that,
“Improper use of cleaning products – especially ones that contain bleach, alcohol, or ammonia – really does kill people.”
Kerr encourages consumers to look at the manufacturer label and usage instructions before using any cleaning product. Also, look at the ingredient list. Take note of chemicals that could be dangerous. You can also access the product safety data sheet (SDS) online by searching for the product name + SDS.
Some general advice for consumers who may consider mixing cleaners:
- If the cleaner contains bleach (sodium hypochlorite), do not mix it with any cleaner or chemical. Only mix it with water to dilute it.
- If the cleaner contains isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), keep it away from heat or flame. Isopropyl alcohol is very flammable. Also, while it is safe for use on skin, overuse can cause skin dryness and irritation.
- If the cleaner contains hydrogen peroxide, do not mix it with vinegar. This combination creates a corrosive acid that is irritating and damaging to the skin, eyes and respiratory system.
- Err on the side of caution when using more than one cleaning product in the same general area.
- If you are not sure about how to use the product, or the ingredients, look it up online before using it.
How Can I Disinfect Without Clorox or Lysol Products?
One of the biggest frustrations for consumers right now is that retailers are sold out of cleaning products like Clorox and Lysol sprays, liquids and wipes. So, how can you disinfect your home and items commonly touched safely without these products? According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), you can use the following to disinfect against the coronavirus:
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Quaternary Ammonium (an ingredient in Zep cleaners)
- Citric Acid
- L-Lactic Acid
Of these options, most people will have ready or immediate access to bleach. It is incredibly important to use bleach properly, however. The CDC says,
“Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.”
How Can I Disinfect Leather Goods?
Many people carry a wallet, purse or phone case. These items are often made of leather or contain leather. So how can you effectively clean these items without destroying them? Experts say that you can absolutely use Clorox wipes or rubbing alcohol to clean these surfaces. In order to preserve the item, you may want to follow that up with a leather conditioner.
Someone Asked Me to Lysol Them When They Entered My Home. Is This Safe?
No! Lysol is not designed to be used as a skin disinfectant. You should never spray Lysol directly onto someone’s skin or clothing. It can be extremely dangerous if it is inhaled or comes into contact with the skin or eyes. Of course, you can use Lysol to disinfect surfaces and items like shoes, boxes or bags. But it is not safe to spray Lysol on another person.
Do I Need to Disinfect Packages, Boxes or Cardboard?
Experts have a hard time answering this question because we still don’t really know how likely the coronavirus is to stick to these surfaces. If it does stick, we don’t know for how long. Therefore, the best answer that experts have is this – It won’t hurt anything to disinfect the packaging, but they don’t believe it is necessary. Instead, experts advise to open the outer package outside and dispose of it there, only bringing the interior portion of the package into your home.
Where to Get More Information About Disinfecting, Sanitation and the Coronavirus
There are a lot of myths and rumors circulating about the coronavirus. The best way to protect your family is to follow the guidelines set forth in your community. Some of the best guidelines that you can follow to keep your home and family safe include:
- Stay home as much as possible
- Avoid public gatherings
- Avoid traveling
- If you feel sick, stay at home
- Keep your distance from friends or family who are sick
- Regularly disinfect your home, especially areas that are frequently touched
- Practice good food safety practices in your kitchen
Don’t forget that you can also learn more about what is happening by following updates provided by the CDC and WHO. Here at Bad Food Recall, we will also do our part to keep you updated on topics related to coronavirus, food safety and your health.