As you know, the fear of coming in contact with the new strain of virus, has necessitated the use of stepped-up type of daily hygiene—frequent handwashing and the use of disinfectants or antimicrobial solutions and disinfecting hand wipes in everyday life.
There’s never been a time where proper hand hygiene has been as critical as it is right now. Here’s the reason: The greatest number of infections are caused by hands.
You touch a surface that has the virus then, inadvertently touch your face by rubbing your nose, eye, or put your finger in your mouth. Just that easily you may have infected yourself.
To prevent the transmission of the virus, pandemic experts are saying that we must ensure that our hands are free from germs by simple handwashing with soap and water.
And not only hand washing. We should be making sure that all touchpoints in our homes, offices, and vehicles—things like credit cards, phones, remote controls, doorknobs—are being kept virus-free.
Apart from handwashing with soap and water, are there other effective options for good hand and surface hygiene when soap and water are not available? Yes! Antiseptic wipes for hands, disinfecting wipes for surfaces. (Disinfecting wipes, while not harmful, can be harsh on sensitive skin and or when used frequently.) But good luck trying to find them in any drugstore, market or even online. Sold out everywhere!
Here’s the solution: Make your own. It’s easy, making sure that you’re using a disinfectant sanitizer that is effective against all kinds of viruses.
This is the easiest option, provided you have paper towels available. Cut or tear them into a useful size. An ideal size is about 7 x 11-inches (11 inches being the height of a typical roll of paper towels). Fold them individually, which will make disposable wipes handy to pull out one at a time.
Having trouble finding paper towels?
A typical washcloth will make a nice big disinfecting wipe, which is good in some situations, but will turn out to be quite wasteful. However, cutting a washcloth into half or fourths, making smaller reusable wipes, is ideal. The downside is having a way to dispose of the wipe once used, in a way that it can be laundered and reused. This is not my ideal option but certainly, a good fallback when paper towels are not available.
100% cotton fabric
You can tear or cut old dish towels, t-shirts, or other 100% cotton items into a good size for a wipe. Cotton is ideal as it launders well in hot water and is highly absorbent.
This is far and away my favorite disinfectant for several reasons. First, it is odor-free, fume-free, and alcohol-free. And I have found it to be non-reactive to even the most sensitive skin. SNiPER Hospital Disinfectant Cleaner and Odor Eliminator are EPA registered and certified to kill so many viruses and bacteria—including the most recently isolated. As a result of years of my own personal use, interaction with SNiPER’s sister product Nok-Out, and experience on this matter, SNiPER is the only disinfectant and sanitizer I use and recommend. It is available online only. Order now here or here to get in line.
Drawbacks. SNiPER is more expensive than rubbing alcohol, but a little goes a long way. I’ve had my original gallon for a very long time, as it can in some situations* be diluted 50:50 with water.
SNiPER 50:50 dilution
One of the most commonly used disinfectants, alcohol, is known to have antimicrobial properties. Solutions containing alcohol are used as surgical spirits for disinfecting skin surfaces. But alcohol must be “denatured” to coagulate proteins to be effective against a wide range of bacteria and viruses. The pure form of alcohol (100%) shows less efficacy as an antimicrobial because, in the absence of water, proteins do not denature properly.
This is why an ideal alcohol solution, commonly known as rubbing or isopropyl alcohol, contains 60% to 95% alcohol. All that to say, isopropyl (rubbing or denatured) alcohol of at least 60% by volume works here. The most common strength you’ll find in your drugstores and online is 70% by volume.
Drawback. Rubbing alcohol will sting like crazy if you have any cuts or your hands. It has a pungent odor. Rubbing alcohol air-dries quickly, faster than the 10 minutes any sanitizer requires to be fully effective.
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This is tricky. Some hand sanitizers are not certified or even purported to kill viruses and bacteria. If yours does, that is a good option for making your own wipes. Our homemade hand sanitizer is effective, as it contains alcohol of greater than 60% by volume.
Drawback: It takes quite a bit of hand sanitizer to saturate the wipe, either paper or fabric.
You need a reliable container that will keep your wipes fully wet and saturated. It needs to be readily available wherever you go. A large size Tupperware-type container is not likely to do the trick here.
I use small sandwich-size zip-top bags. I can get about 12 folded paper towels in one bag. Fits great in a pocket, purse, or car console. This is ideal because of portability, and the ability to squeeze out air to keep wipes fresh and wet.
A recycled baby wipes container, or similar is a good possibility if you have this available. If you opt for a rigid container, make sure it has a tightly fitting lid. Otherwise, make small batches of wipes as they will dry out more quickly because it’s difficult to make that recycled container reasonably airtight.
This is the easy part! Fold and place wipes in your container. Pour in just enough of your disinfectant of choice to fully saturate the wipes. Squeeze out as much air as possible; seal or close.
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