Clean. Disinfect. Sanitize. Due to the pandemic caused by Coronavirus, we’ve been cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing our houses a lot more than usual. But did you know that some of the chemically-made disinfectants can cause more harm than good to both our health and the environment?
For this week’s blog, Project Greenify will show you how your common household products can be used as an alternative in cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting your home.
The challenge now is how we can effectively disinfect our homes using these sustainable, zero-waste cleaning products.
But before we go into that, why don’t we first talk about the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
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What is the difference between sanitizing, disinfecting, and cleaning?
Cleaning means removing germs, dirt and dust, and other impurities from surfaces or objects with the use of water and soap. When you clean the surface or object, it does not mean that you are killing the germs; you are just simply removing them.
Killing germs is through, disinfecting. With the use of chemicals, you can kill germs by disinfecting them from surfaces or objects. This process is usually done after cleaning because disinfecting does not automatically remove the germs. So, if you are going to disinfect something, make sure to clean it first to remove any germs or dirt.
Sanitizing, on the other hand, helps in lowering the number of germs found on surfaces or objects. Sanitizing can be done by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or areas.
Now that you know the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing, many of you might be wondering if natural cleaners can be used in disinfecting your houses.
Do natural cleaners disinfect?
Believe it or not, among your common household products, some have disinfecting properties. You can use them as an alternative to chemical products. These natural disinfectant cleaners are proven to be equally effective as chemicals when used properly.
Not only are they effective and safe to use, but natural cleaners won’t harm our environment. Using eco-friendly products will have zero impact on our environment and are even less expensive than chemical ones.
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What natural disinfectants kill germs?
Alcohols like ethyl alcohol and isopropyl alcohol are some of the most common and effective alternatives to chemical disinfectants. However, not all alcohol can disinfect, only those who have high concentration—about 60% or more—are proven to kill germs. Meaning, drinking alcohol, like gin, cannot disinfect since their alcohol content is not high enough to kill germs.
You can make disinfectant alcohol by simply combining two parts of isopropyl alcohol with one part of water. Wait for at least 30 seconds before using it in wiping surfaces or objects.
- Hydrogen peroxide
Though hydrogen peroxide is not as effective as bleach, it can still be used in killing viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Hydrogen peroxide is also often used in removing stains from fabric. But be careful when using it since it can also dilute the color of the fabric.
A 3% hydrogen peroxide is good enough to disinfect your house. After applying it on the surface, leave it for at least one minute before wiping it off to effectively kill the viruses.
Make sure to store it in a dark container and away from the sun for a much higher effective rate as a disinfectant.
Because of its high acidity, vinegar makes a fine natural disinfectant. Though it is not as effective as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, it can still help break down dirt, reduce bacteria, and sanitize most surfaces. Vinegar is also effective in killing different foodborne pathogens.
To make an effective disinfectant out of vinegar, combine white distilled vinegar with equal parts of water. Let it sit on surfaces for at least 30 minutes to kill the germs. You can use this solution in wiping your floors and cabinets.
- Hot water
Water with a temperature reaching at least 140 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit, can effectively use in killing bacteria. Aside from water itself, the steam coming out from it can also kill for as much as 99% of dust mites.
Boiling water can also be used in disinfecting objects and fabrics that can survive moisture and heat. Make sure not to use water with this temperature on yourself or you might get burned or suffer from skin irritation.
- Essential oils
Essential oils are a great aid when making natural cleaning products. Not only do they have a pleasing smell, but they also have antibacterial properties which makes them an effective disinfectant.
You can also combine essential oils with other homemade cleaning products like vinegar to boost its effectiveness as a disinfectant.
As you can see, using natural cleaners can give you a sustainable and safe alternative to disinfecting your houses. So why use those ‘toxic chemicals’ which are harmful to your health and environment, when you can use natural ones.