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4 Household Products that Kill Coronavirus

Is your store out of cleaning products? Have no fear: you most likely already have everything you need at home.

The coronavirus may live on certain surfaces for days

There’s so much we still don’t know about the coronavirus, and what we don’t know can make us sick. What we do know is that in a preliminary study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the virus can remain viable for up to 24 hours on cardboard and for two to three days on plastic and stainless steel; though another study in the Journal of Hospital Infection comparing it to SARS and MERS found it may be able to live on glass, metal, and plastic for up to nine days. Bottom line: it’s best to disinfect with the following cleaning products and these EPA-registered ones.

bleach corona virus via amazon.com

Bleach

Head to your laundry room and grab that bottle of bleach, according to Consumer Reports. Bleach is a great defense against viruses, and it has been a long time cleaning staple in and outside the laundry room. Don’t use it straight from the bottle though as that would be way too strong. Instead, mix a solution of ½ cup of bleach to a gallon of water. Use this to disinfect everything in your kitchen from the sink to the floor. You can even soak your child’s toys in a bleach mixture of 2 teaspoons bleach to 1 gallon of water, soak for two minutes, then rinse. Make sure you wear gloves when you use the beach, as it can be irritating and drying for your hands. Lastly, don’t keep the bleach solution for more than a few days, because bleach degrades some plastic containers.

Hydrogen peroxide corona virus via amazon.com

Hydrogen peroxide

Head to the medicine cabinet, this time. Per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common hydrogen peroxide (it should say 3 percent on it) will deactivate the rhinovirus, which is what causes the common cold. Technically, it “produces destructive hydroxyl free radicals that can attack membrane lipids, DNA, and essential cell components.” Since the rhinovirus is thought to be more difficult to ax than the coronavirus, it’s believed that hydrogen peroxide will work for this as well. Simply pop it into a spray bottle and spray it onto a surface. Let it sit for a few minutes before wiping away.

Isopropyl alcohol corona virus via amazon.com

Isopropyl alcohol

Not to be confused with the alcohol you have in your bar closet, this is an alcohol solution with at least 70 percent alcohol. No need to dilute it, according to Consumer Reports. It’s safe for cleaning every surface but beware of plastics, as it may cause discoloration. Try this bottle, which has more than 99 percent pure isopropyl alcohol.

hand soapvia amazon.com

Soap and water

You’ve likely been hearing so much about this one already, hopefully, you still have some good ol’ fashioned soap remaining. Wash your hands thoroughly, with warm water and soap for 20 seconds. Soap works better than disinfectants if you’re attempting to destroy viruses, according to Marketwatch. It does this by dissolving the fat membrane so the virus becomes inactive. Yup, just your regular soap. Make sure you’re using a clean towel to dry them. Does washing clothes with soap and water protect against coronavirus? What you need to know.

man desinfecting his hands with hand sanitizernito100/Getty Images

Skip: Homemade hand sanitizer

Contrary to popular social media opinion, homemade hand sanitizer may not work as well as your friends may have you believe. That’s because the hand sanitizers you purchase in the store are correctly formulated with more science than simply mixing a little water, aloe, and essential oils, according to Consumer Reports. If you can’t get your hands on the real stuff, then simply wash your hands with soap and water. Plus, regular hand sanitizer doesn’t last as long as you think.

vodka class Zerbor/Getty Images

Skip: Vodka

Pass on the vodka (for cleaning purposes, at least). While alcohol in the percentage range of Isopropyl will do the job nicely, vodka is no match for the coronavirus. Tito’s Vodka even tweeted advice: “Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, washing hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations. If soap and water are not readily available, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40 percent alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.” Next, check out our coronavirus cleaning guide.

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Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Danielle Braff
Danielle Braff is a full-time freelance writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and others. She is a graduate of Oxford University in England, and she lives with her two daughters, two cats, dog and husband in Chicago.