When the coronavirus pandemic reached the United States just a few short weeks ago, cleaning and disinfection products such as sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, and all-purpose, germ-killing cleaners were some of the first things to disappear off the shelves—followed of course, by paper products such as toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues. Unfortunately, people stockpiling these essential supplies has created an availability issue, which means that you may be running out of tools to keep surfaces clean and keep your family safe. Thankfully, there are effective homemade options that will kill viruses on surfaces and keep your home clear of any lingering germs.
Homemade disinfecting wipes
While vinegar and castile soap are excellent for cleaning grime and dirt when mixed into a solution, you’ll need something a little stronger to help fight COVID-19 and keep the surface transmission of germs at bay. In fact, the CDC says that you need a solution that is at least 70% alcohol to kills germs effectively.
These disinfecting wipes are excellent to have around to wipe down high traffic surfaces throughout the day and are a great, natural solution to the cleaning and disinfecting product shortage in stores. Remember, these wipes will work as antimicrobial agents on nonporous surfaces. Meaning, they will inactivate or destroy microorganisms on surfaces such as counters, doorknobs, light switches, steering wheels, and plastic or glass food containers from the grocery store.
Note, these wipes have not been lab-tested, so be sure to use proper judgment when disinfecting with them and practice all guidelines as laid out by the CDC. Disinfection does not necessarily kill all microorganisms, so it is important to exercise appropriate precautions.
What you need:
Be sure to purchase alcohol that is at least 70% or higher. Isopropyl alcohol, found in the pharmacy section of drug stores or ethanol products, meaning 40 proof or higher drinkable grain alcohols are both viable options.
Studies suggest that solutions containing at least .5% hydrogen peroxide will help inactivate viruses and keep surfaces free of infectious germs.
Not only will essential oil add a nice fragrance to your wipes, but certain oils also possess antimicrobial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties that will add to the disinfecting power of your reusable wipes. Our favorite oils for disinfecting include:
- tea tree
Make sure that it has an airtight lid so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate.
Cut up old rags or towels into whatever size you want. Keep in mind; you will be able to wash and reuse these wipes, so you don’t need a ton.
Though dish soap doesn’t necessarily possess any virus-killing qualities, it can help turn your disinfecting wipes into multipurpose cleaning wipes by giving them a little extra boost. Plus, it will at least lift virus germs off of surfaces, even if it doesn’t eradicate them. Remember, you should still use other products for filthy surfaces, but these wipes will work well for a daily wipedown.
- 2 cups rubbing alcohol, 70% or higher
- 1 tsp Dawn dish soap
- 20 drops of your favorite essential oils
- ¾ tsp hydrogen peroxide
- Add all of your ingredients to a large glass jar, attach the lid and shake well to combine.
- Continue adding rag pieces until there is no room in the jar and all rags are fully saturated.
- Twist on the lid, shake well, and turn upside down for a few seconds to ensure the liquid reaches the rags at the top of the jar.
- Just like that, your homemade disinfecting wipes are ready to use!
- Wash the rag pieces by themselves (not with other laundry) and make more disinfecting solution as needed.
- Use your rags on clean, hard surfaces and let dry for ten minutes.
- If the surface is visibly dirty or dusty, clean with a vinegar, soap, and water solution before using disinfecting wipes.
Note: If you don’t want to go through the hassle of washing your wipes, you can make disposable wipes by using paper towels folded in half and stuffed into the container.
Remember, the best way to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19 is by staying indoors and socially distancing. This will help reduce the strain on medical facilities and ensure that people get the care they need. Only go out when absolutely necessary for groceries, critical healthcare, and other necessities and wash your hands thoroughly before touching your face, phone, or surfaces in your home or car. Use hand sanitizer when you are unable to wash your hands and take every precaution to remain at least 6 feet away from other people in public whenever you can.