SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, can be very hard to kill.
The new novel coronavirus can stay alive on paper, glass and even stainless steel for as long as five days.
Scientists currently do not know for sure how long coronavirus can stay alive on human skin, but it can certainly last long enough to merit frequent, vigorous hand washing sessions.
Unfortunately, those very same hand washing sessions can lead to dry, cracked, irritated skin – the very kind that can let the coronavirus germs in more easily. And the harsh chemical cleansing agents aren’t doing your skin or your health any favours in the meantime.
Are there any natural cleaning products that can effectively kill coronavirus without exposing you and your family to harsh toxins? Yes!
But there are also two important “how to” cleaning and disinfection tips you need to know in order to make the natural cleaning products you use effective.
How Long Can Coronaviruses Live On Different Surfaces?
According to WebMD, the coronavirus can live for different lengths of time on different types of surfaces.
These are generalized estimates based on evaluating the whole family of coronaviruses that SARS-CoV-2 also belongs to.
- Paper: anywhere from minutes to up to five days
- Cardboard: 24 hours
- Plastic: two to three days
- Wood: four days
- Metal: five days
- Stainless steel: two to three days
- Glass: as long as five days
- Ceramics: as long as five days
- Aluminum: from two to eight hours
- Copper: four hours
- Fabric: not known
- Shoes: not known
- Food: not known
- Skin, hair, nails: not known (but likely a matter of hours)
To Kill Coronavirus, You Need to Clean AND Disinfect
The coronavirus is what the CDC calls an “enveloped virus.” What this means is that the RNA that causes COVID-19 is inside a protective fatty (lipid) membrane.
As the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) explains, it takes two steps to kill this type of virus: cleaning and disinfecting.
Cleaning will pick up and remove germs. It will also pick up and remove dirt, dust, pollen, pet dander and other debris.
But cleaning doesn’t kill the germs. It just moves them from the surface to the towel or sponge or your hands.
For this point, remember: Cleaning = Removing or Moving The Germs.
Disinfecting is the step that actually kills the germs. The disinfecting process will damage, neutralize, inactivate or destroy germs that could otherwise cause you harm.
For this point,, remember: Disinfecting = Killing The Germs.
NOTE: Disinfecting is not the same as sanitizing or sterilizing. Sanitizing can reduce the quantity of germs on a surface by killing or at least moving some of them. Sterilizing will kill all the germs. But sterilizing is a more complicated process and is typically only used in hospitals and laboratories.
The CDC-Recommended Method to Clean and Disinfect
This is the method the CDC recommends to first clean and then disinfect any surface.
1. Wear disposable gloves.
2. Clean the surface first using soap and water or an appropriate detergent.
3. Apply the disinfectant for the recommended time period (called a “dwell period”).
4. Allow the disinfectant to dry (you can wipe away any excess).
5. Dispose of your gloves (or reserve that pair only for cleaning and disinfecting).
Natural Cleaning Products That Also Disinfect Against Coronavirus
It is true that bleach (in proper concentration) is a robust choice for disinfecting against coronavirus. But it is also toxic to breathe and handle. What natural cleaning products can do the same job without the toxic side effects?
Consumer Reports has compiled a fabulous and detailed review of the best products to destroy (disinfect) coronavirus.
These are only natural products on the CDC’s list.
All soap is more than a match for coronavirus. It doesn’t matter what kind of soap you use.
There are two basic kinds of soap: ionic and non-ionic. The former is more effective against viral germs and the latter is easier on your skin.
But both kinds of soap can effectively damage the outer fatty layer of the coronavirus to destroy the RNA inside.
Undiluted hydrogen peroxide at a three percent concentration applied for a dwell period (contact period) of six to eight minutes can kill coronavirus.
Hydrogen peroxide is non-corrosive and you can use it on metals safel (be careful with fabrics, however, as some may discolor.)
You don’t have to wipe it away afterwards because it essentially breaks down into two safe elements: water and oxygen.
Undiluted isopropyl alcohol (70 percent concentration) applied for a minimum dwell period of 30 seconds can kill coronavirus.
Alcohol is safe to use on every surface, however it can cause discolouration on some specific plastics materials.
Ethyl alcohol at a 62-71 percent concentration applied for a minimum dwell period of 30 seconds is also an effective way to kill coronavirus.
Don’t make the mistake of confusing ethyl alcohol with drinking alcohol, which typically has only a 40 percent concentration at best. You can figure out how much ethyl alcohol (ethanol) is in alcohol by looking for the “proof” and multiplying that number by two.
NOTE: You may have also noticed that certain trusted natural cleaning products – most notably white and apple cider vinegar and baking soda, as well as essential oils like tea tree oil – did not make the list of disinfectants capable of killing coronavirus. You can certainly continue to use these products for phase one cleaning, but in order to save time, you may just want to skip straight to the products listed above.
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