As the COVID-19 pandemic rages across Connecticut and the region, wipes, hand sanitizers and other products are in very short supply.
The shortages are leading many consumers to make their own sanitizing concoctions.
First – what is safe and effective if used with care?
According to the World Economic Forum, products containing bleach, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are the best at killing off germs. Vinegar is not universally useful.
So, what about combining some of these chemicals to make super germ-killing compounds?
Not so fast! Here is a warning about household chemicals that must never be mixed together:
- Bleach and Vinegar: bleach, when mixed with vinegar, produces chlorine gas – highly toxic. It can cause coughing, burning in the eyes, and difficult breathing.
- Bleach and Ammonia: combining these two chemicals produces a gas called chloramine. That gas can cause chest pain and difficult breathing.
- Hydrogen Peroxide and Vinegar: this combination creates a very caustic, corrosive acid.
- Bleach and Rubbing Alcohol: combining these two chemicals created chloroform – a highly toxic chemical. It causes progressive central nervous system depression. Symptoms include agitation, nausea and vomiting followed by unsteady gait, dizziness, drowsiness, convulsions and finally coma
What about personal hygiene during this crisis? Which is better – a hand sanitizer or hand washing.
According to the American Society of Microbiology, washing with soap and water is your best option if you want to remove viruses from your skin. According to their 2019 study, using running water and soap to wash your hands is more effective than gel.
While soap does not kill viruses, it does remove dirt and it’s the rinsing thoroughly after washing that is the key to removing the viruses from skin surfaces.
Another tip… the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends daily disinfecting of surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops.
Finally, if you contract COVID-19, educate yourself thoroughly about your treatment options so that you and your physicians can choose the right course of action for you.