Health

How to Clean Without Using Commercial Disinfectants

Image: Picpedia.com (RM Media Ltd under a Creative Commons license )

Since the early days of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, health agencies including the World Health Organization has recommended using specific cleaners in order to lower the risk of contamination and the spread of the infection in indoor spaces including offices, grocery stores, banks, malls, homes, apartments other similar places. However, the increase in the use of and demand for cleaners has led to a commercial disinfectant shortage in the market.

In many areas of the US, there has been a shortage of personal protective equipment including gloves and masks as well of sanitizers and cleaners which has made it difficult not only for the general public but also for health care workers to find products which are essential for the prevention of the coronavirus infection.

For some shortages, many experts have named a number of alternatives that can work just as well and protect from the infection. Prior to the start of summer, many states in the US had a shortage of hand sanitizers that met the requirements of the WHO.

During the shortage, many health agencies including the WHO itself recommended that people switch to just using soap and water. Contrary to the common assumption, any soap can work just as well in killing germs from the hands. The only thing to keep in mind is to wash hands for at least twenty seconds vigorously.

However, the case for the commercial disinfectant shortage is not the same. The U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has released a guide on disinfectants that can be used effectively for protection from the coronavirus.

In case of a shortage, many people may go for unsafe and extreme measures that can be harmful and even life-threatening. For instance, there were several cases of poisoning reported due to using certain disinfectants the wrong way at homes.

Out of paranoia, many people used extra strong disinfectants and ended up in the emergency rooms due to poisoning. In one case, a woman had to be hospitalized due to mixing two strong disinfectants which created chlorine gas in her kitchen.

Health experts strongly warn against the use of harmful cleaners in houses as well as other public spaces because they can significantly harm the health and even cause death in places with poor ventilation. So, what can be done if the recommended commercial disinfectants for coronavirus are not available in the market?

Read also: The US May Have Another Deadly Enterovirus Epidemic Soon

Nearly all of the manufacturers are increasing production in order to keep up with the demand and following the same method used to overcome hand sanitizer shortage which was partnering with non-traditional suppliers but it is not known when the shortage will end.

According to the associate research professor of microbiology and immunology at Georgetown University, Julie Fischer, people can effectively clean their homes using diluted household bleach and diluted alcohol.

However, make sure to only use household bleach and add only 1/4 cup or four teaspoons in a gallon of water. Using highly concentrated bleach is harmful. Also, discard the bleach solution within a few hours of making. Diluted alcohol solutions should be made with at least sixty or seventy percent alcohol to meet the standards of WHO.

Only dilute the alcohol or bleach with water. When using either of the solutions, use gloves, and make sure the room is well-ventilated. Keep the solutions away from children and pets. Following these steps can ensure protection from the coronavirus even during a commercial disinfectant shortage.

 

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Abeera I. Kazmi

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