The Guide • 3-25-20
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How to Clean When Faced With a Shortage of Supplies
In light of concerns about COVID-19, various health organizations have issued specic instructions on how to maintain
personal safety and cleanliness. These recommendations involve using common household products to sanitize homes,
oces and public spaces. As people take such precautions, many are stocking up on extra essentials — resulting in
Everything from hand sanitizers to paper towels may be hard to nd on grocery store shelves, leaving some to wonder
what they can do to remain safe without sanitizers?
The Environmental Protection Agency states that coronaviruses are some of the easiest types of viruses to kill because
they have an envelope around them that enables them to merge with other cells and infect them. If that protective
coating can be disrupted, the virus can’t do its job. For those having trouble nding well-known cleaning agents, these
alternatives may suce.
Hot water and soap
The reason hand-washing is at the top of the list of sanitizing methods is because it is so eective at washing away
viruses and bacteria. Friction from scrubbing with soap and water can help break the protective envelope, states the EPA.
Soap and water can clean all surfaces in a home, especially when applying a little extra elbow grease.
As people clear isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) o the shelves, do not discount hydrogen peroxide. The CDC says household
hydrogen peroxide at 3 percent concentration can deactivate rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within
six to eight minutes of contact. Coronavirus is easier to destroy than rhinovirus, so hydrogen peroxide may be eective
at combating that virus as well.
Natural items can be used for general cleaning, but have not been endorsed for use on COVID-19 disinfection. In lieu of
shortages, white vinegar, baking soda pastes and citrus oils and juices could ll the void of chemically-based cleansers
for other home tasks.