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DIY Disinfectants: Are They Safe and Effective?

With coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) at the forefront of everyone’s mind, it is easy to want to use the strongest disinfectant effective against the virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend routinely cleaning all high touch surfaces such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc., and recommends the use of an Environmental Protective Agency(EPA)- registered household disinfectant. When using these disinfectants, it is important to follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product and ensure the surface stays wet for the recommended time period.

However, what if you do not have store bought EPA-household disinfectants, is it safe to make and use your own DIY disinfectant?

The answer is yes—and no. You can absolutely make your own disinfectant to save a trip to the store, but it needs to be done correctly following certain instructions and dilutions. Bryan Kuhn, PharmD, a clinical pharmacist and certified poison information specialist with Banner Poison & Drug Information Center, gives us a chemistry lesson on what to do—and what not to do when mixing household chemicals.

Coronavirus Guide to Household Disinfectants

Here are some additional tips for using diluted household bleach solutions:

  • Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. If expired, the product will not be effective against COVID-19 when diluted.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and ventilation.
  • Leave the bleach solution on the surface for at least one minute to effectively disinfect.

And as always, per CDC recommendations, one of the best lines of defense is washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, or hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available—especially after being in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

For the latest information on COVID-19 and how you and your family can stay well, visit BannerHealth.com.

COVID-19 Infectious Disease Safety Wellness
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