The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Friday, 13 March 2020

Pantries and Preparedness. Hand washing and sanitiser.

This is the third in my series which is aimed at helping us with the current crisis and to get through shortages we might be experiencing.   We need to avoid panic and know that we are capable of managing and making many things ourselves.

Now I am not a doctor or medical expert.  So you check everything and do your research.  I am going to post the best information I know and the best ways I know around shortages.

The first post in this series can be found here.
The second post was on the subject of making our own kleenex and hankies...  which is here.   This was an easy one and may be a way you can help children, grandchildren and friends also.

The best way to wash your hands (or have your children wash their hands)  is with soap and water.  Do a good job of it and for 30 seconds.  Teach your children how to wash their hands really well and have them do it as soon as they come in the door!  Count to thirty or sing a song or something to make sure they are washing for long enough.   Singing Happy Birthday twice is apparently about right.  It does not matter if it is hard soap, liquid soap and it does not have to be antibacterial soap.  Do it often and TRY to not touch your face. This is ridiculously hard when you become aware of it.
So that is number one and it is simple and effective.
It occurred to me to have childrens hair tied back well so they are not tempted to touch their face so much.  This might apply to ourselves as well.

But what about when we are out and about and don't have access to soap and water?
If you are in your car then you can simply carry a bowl, a towel or paper towels,  soap and a larger container of water.  We have done this before as you do with camping.  Some water, soap up, rinse and dry... the water can go into the curb drain or in my case on to the grass.   You can do a good job this way!    It is not hard to set up a bit of a hand washing station in the back of your car.  If I still had kids at school I would do this.

To my horror some schools and many public toilets have no soap.  Carry a small container of liquid soap with you or soap leaves.  Send soap with your children.  No soap is not an option!

This is no help in the shops, public transport etc. when there is no soap or water at all.   At this stage I think avoiding the shops and public transport would be better than anything ... but real life may not allow you to do that.

If you do not have good hand sanitiser or wipes then you need alternatives.  Effective ones have  60% minimum alcohol.  At the end of the day the alcohol is what kills the germs.  Most contain Aloe Vera or a moisturiser but this is just so your hands feel ok but it doesn't actually kill germs.  

If we have no supplies (and generally these items have sold out everywhere) then don't despair.  
What I don't want to think of is people feeling upset, hopeless or desperate.  We can do things if we need to!

We will start with ideal.   We need 60% alcohol in our  homemade hand sanitiser.  Today I am concentrating on wipes and sprays.   Next post I will work on a moisturiser, rub in type formula.

In my home I had a high concentration alcohol.  I saved this in my medical cabinet for making alcohol wipes for wounds.  But it is good for this!
You could use Isopropyl alcohol.  Available in hardware stores it is 70% alcohol.  Or Rubbing alcohol which is the same.    You may be able to get in on Ebay, from cleaning suppliers...

I used my 98% alcohol and added boiled water.  Then I added several essential oils as well for good measure.   I included Eucalyptus oil and Rosemary which are both known anti virals.

Now, I prefer hand wipes.  So I hunted around and I had these lovely wash cloths which are double muslin fabric.


I found these on Ebay and they worked out to be 33c each and are gorgeous baby washers.  Anyhow, they are good for this purpose.   Other things could be might be chux wipes, regular face washers,  an old sheet torn up,  thick paper towels,   cotton fabric squares from your fabric stash... you want something that will absorb moisture.

In a jar I mixed up my alcohol, a drop of liquid soap, water and oils with a 60% of alcohol goal in mind.   Then I placed a muslin washer into a zip lock bag and about a tablespoon of my mix and sealed it.  I repeated this and made ten wipes.



I did a test run.  You want it to not be dripping all over the place yet be wet enough to really wet your hands and do a good job.
I also filled little spray bottles I have in my essential oil supplies.  I thought I could pray my hands or a surface and use a dry cloth to dry up.  I placed the rest into little travel bottles I have.  They are enough each to make quite a few more sanitisers.
You will need a labelled sealed bag or container to place used wipes.   I labelled a zip lock bags  CONTAMINATED!    The choice is yours... they could be disposed of and I personally would burn anything I thought was contaminated or place into a bucket with bleach in it nappy bucket (with a lid) style.

I am pretty happy with this.  I cannot guarantee anything you make will be 100%.  But even store bought hospital grade items are 99.9 % effective.  They allow that title bit for failure.
If you have no commercial supplies or have run out and if you have no access to soap and water then it is your call if something is better than nothing.   And personally I think yes! Something, the best you can make,  is better than nothing!

If Isopropyl and rubbing alcohol are not available either then we have to get more creative.
Vinegar is an anti viral but the health authorities don't really endorse it.  Still it kills germs so it has uses.
Some essential oils are strong germ killers and anti virals.
Some alcohol made for drinking is a high percentage of alcohol.  Vodka is around 40% but some types go up to 90%.  I do imagine some of these are very expensive.
Everclear  is over 90% alcohol.   So there may be some pretty good germ killers in the bottle shop.  Again,  don't forget you really need 60% alcohol.   It is your call whether 40% is better than nothing... and your decision what to do in the absence of exactly what you need.

Here is a link to some wipes made with vodka and essential oils.  Joybilee Farm DIY antibacterial wipes.   I quite like this recipe.  It is up to you if you think you would use something like this in the event of not being able to obtain anything commercial and not being able to get your hands on Isopropyl alcohol.

It might be good to remember things from Nana's day. Terrible things were burned.  Germy things were boiled.  Nan had a bit pot and a wooden spoon and things were boiled on the stove.  I know she boiled kitchen towels too.   In sick times hand towels should not be shared and should be washed everyday.
And toothbrushes... they should be kept seperate and not on the sink where people wash who know what and splatter who knows what around.  Hydrogen Peroxide is ideal for disinfecting toothbrushes. Or have a new one if in doubt.   But we can be funny as we might be ever so careful in one area and completely miss something worse as we just don't think of it.  And on that note your mobile phone might be the most germy thing you own.  We might wash our hands just perfectly then pick that thing back up... and be no better off then were were five minutes ago unless we clean that too!

We can do this.  Nothing improved here today, we mainly had mass cancellations of public events and news of new infections.  Many businesses are going to go broke over this virus.  We need to do what we can to encourage others and support small businesses as best we can too.  

If you have helpful tips or information please share!   Please be wise and thoughtful in the coming weeks. xxx


32 comments:

  1. Dear Annabel and Blue Birds - love this - today I was on the hunt for items to make hand sanitizer, I had come across a couple of recipes but wanted one that meant that I had very little to pick up.

    Some items are starting to prove hard to get.

    The recipe I will be making on Sunday, after we get back from our jaunt to the country tomorrow is one from the Aroma Tools site dated 25 July 2016.

    Citrus Mint Sanitizer

    1 Tablespoon (15 ml) vodka (80 proof) OR witch hazel
    10 drops rosemary essential oil
    8 drops lemon essential oil
    6 drops peppermint essential oil
    3 tablespoons (45ml) aloe vera gel
    2 oz Plastic Bottle with Treatment Pump

    Add all ingredients in order to the bottle. Screw lid on and shake to combine.

    To use pump 1-2 times into the palm of the hand. Rub together until the liquid evaporates.

    If you don't want a gel consistency then use more vodka or witch hazel.

    As I said we are on the road tomorrow, a lot of country towns have toilets and no soap so I am going to go through the motel supplies that we have collected and find some soap and pack a hand towel.

    Lynette
    XXXX

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    1. Lynette, thank you for sharing. Great recipe!

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    2. Thanks so much Lynette that looks a good recipe to me. For anyone unable to get the Aloe vera Glycerine might be ok. As you say things are selling out. I am seeing people say to just not bother if you dont have the commercial stuff. I dont agree with this... was can do things! With love Annabel.xxx

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  2. Good advice. I keep mix alcohol and Aloe Vera together for hand sanitizer. Another to keep in mind if you have no alcohol or even potent drinking alcohol - maybe you have mouth wash. It is not as strong, but it is anti-bacterial. At least it is something.
    PLEASE remember too if you are sick to either boil or replace your toothbrushes! Keep them separate from other family members brushes.
    Stay safe and healthy!

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    1. Dear Cheryl, Thank you this is a good tip! Mouth wash itself may be good to soak toothbrushes in. I got hydrogen peroxide for this purpose. I also do keep a fair few spare toothbrushes. You stay safe and healthy too. Being Saturday here now the news is reporting some crazy stuff. I am glad to be home not in the stores! With love Annabel.xxx

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  4. Hi Over here in the UK there has been some research done on antibacterial soaps, they found that it tended to kill of the better bacteria giving the really nasty bacteria space to multiply, the recommendation was not to use it stick to regular soap. They are antibacterial so will not help with viruses anyway.

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    1. Dear Chris, Fortunately alcohol kills the virus and this is the advice of the WHO. It can be also used on surfaces like door knobs and your phone etc. This is pretty important. We need that 60% plus. This is a nasty virus but luckily they have been able to test what does and what does not kill it. Thank you, Annabel.

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  5. Thank you! What a great post and so common-sense! I like soap and water best, and I would have not thought about packing my own...such a great, fresh idea. I am going to read your other two posts now! Andrea

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    1. Dear Andrea, Thank you! We keep pretty big amounts of water in the car all the time because of living in the country. So an added soap and towel is pretty easy. I am glad you found this helpful! With love Annabel.xxx

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  6. Another great post, Annabel, thank you!! What amazes me are the people who are shaming people for trying to be prepared, buying what they think their family will need for the next month or so and saying that the media is totally blowing this out of proportion and making people panic. I'm trying to be prepared, self-isolating as much as possible (I care for my 98 year old father and I know it would kill him), helping friends and neighbors, where I can without jeopardizing my dad's health (he's been on hospice since August). Your posts are making a difference all around the world...thank you so much!

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    1. Dear Farm Quilter, I am seeing these same things as you. it is very worrying for your Dad. Self isolation really is the best thing. An abundance of caution is needed. Thank you for your kind words! I think we have some clarity as we know our mission. And we get on with it! I hope things go well for you and Dad, with love Annabel.xxx

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  7. Dear Annabel, thank you for bringing some hope, joy and support at these times. What a great idea to carry soap and washers, water in the car or to make sanitiser. You are right, we just have to think outside the square or as our grandparents and great grandparents did. Lots of love, Bridge

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    1. Dear Bridge,
      Thank you! I know our Grandparents washed up in a bowl of water and at an old shearing shed I found a wash bowl with a rail where you hung a towel. There was a place for soap. No running water. We can find ways around things for sure! With love Annabel.xxx

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  8. Thank you Annabel! Very timely information!!

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  9. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for this wonderful post. My Grandmother from the farm used to carry hand washing suppliers in her trunk. I had forgotten about this.I am so happy that you are good with supplies there. It is a blessing for me to be able to read these calm and encouraging posts. You your family and Australia have been in my prayers as I have not been able to go online to check on you. They have started clearing the shelves here.:( A wise women builds her house. I believe Cookie did a post on making almond milk. That would be helpful right now.:) I have been praying Psalm 91.
    Much love,
    Patti from San Diego

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    1. Dear Patti,
      Here is the recipe I am currently using to make almond milk. It's so easy and makes 1 quart, which can be frozen up to a month if you wish or in the fridge for 4 to 5 days. I got it from the Detoxinista.com web site. Cover 1/2 cup almonds with warm water and soak for 4 to 6 hours. Drain and transfer to a high speed blender or regular blender, add 4 cups of cold water and process until smooth. Pour into either a few layers of cheesecloth or a nut bag and strain well. You can either toss the leftover ground nuts or dry them in a warm place and use in other recipes. You can add a little sweetener if you like or just use as is in smoothies, cereal, etc. If you want a richer , creamier almond milk use 1 cup of almonds following the same procedure. You can also make coconut milk by putting 1 cup of unsweetened coconut into a blender with 3 cups of boiling water and blend until creamy. I hope this helps.

      Our prayers join with yours praying Psalm 91. It is so comforting. We are on the east coast in a small semi rural town where the stores have started limiting what an individual can buy at any one time. I'm so grateful that we have a deep pantry and the creativity to use what we have in different ways . Many blessings to you Patti. Love Cookie

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  10. Dear Annabel,
    I am not sure if you or your family can get Kmart.com au 2 to 5 give day Metro delivery where you live? They had some items in stock for delivery. Like nappies,baby wipes,plastic pants ect.Hope this helps
    They are now closing stores for the day here because all stock is gone.
    Much love,
    Patti from San Diego

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    1. Dear Patti, Yes! We can get Kmart for many items. They will ship some things and not others so I will check on this. And even though we are in the country they will ship to our region. I really like Kmart!
      Oh my goodness thank you for the update. I saw on the news people going just crazy in stores... to the extent I thought it was frightening. This will be one interesting week. With much love Annabel.xxx

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  11. Dear Annabel, a beautiful post. Your creativity astounds me. I think no soap in schools is bad. Liquid soap is best, but a bar would do if you cant get any. Like you say basic hygiene practices are best. And washing hands long enough. I bought the last large bottle of disinfectant hospital grade, and wiping and spraying surfaces often. I also like eucalyptus it's nature's answer !! People are mad but I'm prepared. This virus all started because of lack of hygiene in a "wet" market so we just have to be sensible. I notice here in the city people aren't going out now, and festivals have shut down which is a real shame for country folk who need the money and support. I used to love the Easter Show ! Sending you prayers. Love sonia

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    1. Dear Sonia, I think there are going to be many interruptions to normal life. And this is going to go on for a long while. Hydrogen Peroxide is an alternative to bleach... if this helps at all. Lets hope next year we will how our beautiful outdoor events again! With much love Annabel.xxx

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  12. Hello dear Annabel, I can't source ANY rubbing alcohol, or ANY eucalyptus oil or T tree oils. Can I use disinfectant instead ?

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  14. Hi Annabel. Thought you might like an article from yesterdays Guardian titled "Think the end of the world is coming? Grab a shovel not a shopping trolly" by Adam Liaw. Keep up the great work you are doing Annabel. Thank you from all of us you are helping. God Bless. Kate

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    1. Dear Kate, I like Adam Liaw. I think it is true. We may be back to Victory Gardens and that would be a good thing. Thank you so much! Love Annabel.xxx

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  15. I love your insight, Annabel! Thank you for posting this. I'm making soap paper sheets for the mister today, so he can wash hands while out of the house. Basically, you paint paper with liquid soap, and cut the resulting page into small squares/rectangles once dry. Each little sheet washes hands once, and they are easy to carry around! Thank you again for your blog posts!

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    1. Thank you! I really love the soap paper sheets you are making. I am going to look into doing this! Thank you!

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  16. Just a note: if you can't get at least 60% alcohol, increase the amount of alcohol in the recipe accordingly. It will be thinner but effective.

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  17. Dear Annabel,

    Thank you very much for all the thoughts and solutions you offer here. All of a sudden things became very strange here...from a slight warning on Friday to almost complete lockdown on Monday!!! Our provincial government has taken things very seriously, responding in hindsight, I think, to all that has happened elsewhere, before it gets to a really critical stage, here. So far I think they're doing a great job, and acting prudently BEFORE things get bad, so hopefully this will make a real difference in the number of cases here. A person has had to really pay attention to the increasing restrictions from day to day and act quickly if they needed anything, as closures have been happening so fast! My hubby was told to work from home starting this last Monday until at least April 3rd...so thankful that he has a job where this is possible. It is wreaking havoc on finishing university terms, but I'm sure it will all work out. Got a trip in yesterday morning to pick up any last remaining items (chicken feed, etc.) so that we don't need to go anywhere for at least 2 weeks. Yes, I have seen some shortages on toilet paper (this still boggles my mind) and flour, but otherwise things seem to be in stock and everyone seems in good humor! One weird trend I have been noticing is that some stores aren't accepting cash, as it's "too dirty"...which, yes, it is, but so are those machines! And many of our seniors around here do not use debit/credit cards. Anyway, cash is certainly still legal tender!!

    Other than that, life goes on pretty much the same, here. Have made some sock and mitten repairs, been sewing on an Easter dress for myself (though it remains to be seen if services will occur this year for Easter), am starting some seeds today, and we placed our chick order for new layers. We have been very blessed, and our thoughts are with all those who are either sick or are worried or are going through financial hardship from the virus.

    Lots of love to you and your family & to all the Bluebirders!

    Jen in NS

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  18. Annabel,
    Would you be able to share the pattern for the masks or a link. Hope your week is going well.:)
    Much love
    Patti from San Diego

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I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for understanding.xxx

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.