The coronavirus may live on certain surfaces for days
There’s so much we still don’t know about the coronavirus, and what we don’t know can make us sick. What we do know is that in a preliminary study, the virus can remain viable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel; though another study comparing it to SARS and MERS found it may be able to live on glass, metal, and plastic for up to nine days. Bottom line: it’s best to disinfect. Here’s how.
Head to your laundry room and grab that bottle of bleach, according to Consumer Reports. Bleach is a great defence against viruses, and it has been a long-time cleaning staple in and outside the laundry room. Don’t use it straight from the bottle though as that would be way too strong. Instead, mix a solution of ½ cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Use this to disinfect everything in your kitchen from the sink to the floor. You can even soak your child’s toys in a bleach mixture of 2 teaspoons bleach to 1 gallon of water, soak for two minutes, then rinse. Make sure you wear gloves when you use the beach, as it can be irritating and drying for your hands. Lastly, don’t keep the bleach solution for more than a few days, because bleach degrades some plastic containers.
Head to the medicine cabinet, this time. Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common hydrogen peroxide (it should say 3 per cent on it) will deactivate the rhinovirus, which is what causes the common cold. Technically, it “produces destructive hydroxyl free radicals that can attack membrane lipids, DNA and essential cell components.” Since the rhinovirus is thought to be more difficult to axe than the coronavirus, it’s believed that hydrogen peroxide will work for this as well. Simply pop it into a spray bottle and spray it onto a surface. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping away.
Not to be confused with the alcohol you have in your bar cupboard, this is an alcohol solution with at least 70 per cent alcohol. No need to dilute it, according to Consumer Reports. It’s safe for cleaning every surface but beware of plastics, as it may cause discolouration.
Soap and water
You’ve likely been hearing so much about this one already, hopefully, you still have some good old-fashioned soap remaining. Wash your hands thoroughly, with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Soap works better than disinfectants if you’re attempting to destroy viruses, according to Marketwatch. It does this by dissolving the fat membrane so the virus becomes inactive. Yup, just your regular soap. Make sure you’re using a clean towel to dry them. Wash your hands immediately after touching these things.
Skip: Homemade hand sanitiser
Contrary to popular social media opinion, homemade hand sanitizer may not work as well as your friends may have you believe. That’s because the hand sanitisers you purchase in the store are correctly formulated with more science than simply mixing a little water, aloe, and essential oils, according to Consumer Reports. If you can’t get your hands on the real stuff, then simply wash your hands with soap and water.
You should also pay attention to the 10 ways you could be washing your hands wrong.
Pass on the vodka (for cleaning purposes, at least). While alcohol in the percentage range of Isopropyl will do the job nicely, vodka is no match for the coronavirus. Tito’s Vodka even tweeted advice: “Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40 per cent alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.”
Sign up here to get Reader’s Digest’s favourite stories straight to your inbox!