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
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.