Hand sanitizer? Out. Antibacterial soap? Out. Wipes? Out. Unprecedented times have sent people scurrying to buy all the hand sanitizer, soap, and wipes available. As soon as the stores stock up, they’re gone again within hours as evidenced by photos posted on social media showing barren store shelves.
You’re actually out of this stuff. What can you do? You can make your own disinfectant. The best part? It doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients. Plus, it’s reusable. While wipes help reduce bacteria and viruses, they should not be a replacement for washing hands or using hand sanitizer.
Soap and Water Vs. Hand Sanitizer
If you have a choice between soap and water and hand sanitizer, which do you choose? Your best weapon against viruses is washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. World Health Organization says that regularly washing hands protects you more than wearing rubber gloves and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
However, children don’t wash their hands well enough. It turns out that their using hand sanitizer is a better option. They’re more likely to use it properly and kill more germs than with hand washing. A Pediatrics study finds that kids who use hand sanitizer only missed 3.25 percent days of school versus the hand-washing group that missed 3.9 percent days of school. Compared to hand sanitizer subjects, the soap and water group also had a 21 percent higher risk of getting a respiratory infection.
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer protects people against many bacteria and viruses, but not all of them. It’s a good backup option when you don’t have access to soap and running water. Hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60 percent alcohol. When your hands are visibly dirty, CDC recommends washing with soap and water.
DIY Disinfectant and Wipes
With these disinfectant cleaning wipes, you’ll save money without posing a health risk to your family including the furry ones. And it will keep countertops, knobs, and other touched items clean.
Dig up any rags, old towels, and torn t-shirts. Cut 15 to 20 of these into 10-inch by 10-inch squares. You’ll also need a wide-mouth quart-size mason jar with a lid. You could use a container that can hold at least four to six cups of liquid with a tight lid. Glass is best.
Here are the ingredients to make the disinfectant:
- 3/4 cup filtered water
- 3/4 cup white distilled vinegar
- 26 drops of essential oil blend (can be a mix of lemon, lavender, orange)
Combine all ingredients in the container. Insert pre-cut clothes in the jar to soak up the liquid. Put the lid on tight and tip jar upside down to completely moisten cloths.
To use the cloths, pull one out and wring out excess liquid. When you’re done using the cloth, rinse it out with clean water and wipe the surface again if needed. You can wash the wipes after using them and put them back in the container for reuse. Store the jar in a cool dark place to preserve its properties.