Personal hygiene and safety have never been more crucial than they are at this time. The world is facing an unprecedented challenge as the novel coronavirus, COVID 19 continues to spread. The experts are gathering information and making recommendations as quickly as possible to assist us in staying healthy and slowing the spread. The most important thing we can do is increase our isolation from others to avoid exposure to the virus. The second most important thing is for us to keep our hands clean and disinfected to decrease our chance of becoming ill. Frequent hand washing should be done for twenty seconds or more with soap and water.
The Center for Disease Control has long recognized that highly concentrated, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective at killing coronavirus. Several commercially manufactured wipes are also effective to prevent transmission. It is expected, although not fully tested and confirmed, that the novel coronavirus, COVID 19 will be affected the same way.
Hand sanitizer and commercial wipes are not readily available in many areas due to the recent increase in sales. Another option which is equally effective, is to mix a solution of household bleach and water which can be used with a cloth to provide proper protection for the virus. The CDC has provided a recommendation that bleach and water be mixed in a concentration of 4 teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. They tell us that this solution is an effective preventative.
The ratio provided by the CDC amounts to 20mL of bleach in 946mL of water, or 1:47. For simplicity, a 1:40 ratio is slightly more concentrated and easier to work with when trying to make your solution. 25mL of bleach per litre (1000 mL) of water is the right concentration, when used properly. The solution can be poured into a container or resealable bag, along with a cloth, and then used to disinfect hands or hard surfaces. Canned goods, plastic bags, and any other items that might be contaminated can be wiped or dipped in this solution before being brought into a house or other safe location.
This bleach solution should be left to dry on surfaces for at least 4 minutes, according to the CDC. It should also be used within 24 hours and considered ineffective after that time. The solution should be stored in a closed container for safety and to maintain effectiveness. Concentrated bleach that is stored away from light and heat in a sealed bottle will last for one year.
Repeated exposure to bleach, hand sanitizer, or disinfectant wipes will cause skin sensitivity. A good skin cream should be used to reduce possible irritation.