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Cleaning Product Substitutes During Covid-19 Shortage

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With household cleaning products in short supply during the Covid-19 pandemic, try these cleaning product substitutes to clean and sanitize your home.

You may be looking for cleaning product substitutes since the aisles with cleaning and paper products are pretty sparse at most grocery stores and online. Hand sanitizing wipes and gels are in short supply. Luckily, many home cleaning and disinfecting products have more available substitutes.

Substitute Products that Kill Coronavirus

One of the best ways to kill the virus is with something you probably have in your home that’s easy to find: soap. Vigorous scrubbing with soap and water breaks down coronavirus’s protective outer envelope. You don’t even need to buy antibacterial soap, which kills bacteria. Any soap will do.

Bleach diluted in water at a ratio of 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water is an excellent disinfectant. Make sure you wear rubber gloves while using, and never mix it with ammonia. Don’t make a large batch, because bleach will begin to lose potency after a day. Bleach can corrode metal and some types of countertops, so rinse surfaces with water after disinfecting. If you can’t find liquid bleach, bleach tablets (such as Evolve) are a suitable substitute with the same disinfectant properties.

Isopropyl alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol also kill the virus on hard surfaces, as does hydrogen peroxide.

One warning: Although people tout it, don’t use vinegar on stone countertops, hardwood floors, electronic screens or knives. These surfaces can be easily damaged.

Other Cleaning Substitutes

These products won’t kill the coronavirus but are good substitutes when your preferred cleaning product isn’t available. Even though they’re not disinfectants, many of them kill a variety of germs and may already be in your kitchen. For kitchen safety tips during the pandemic, click here.

  • Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda). Removes stains from tile, glass, oven doors, and china. It can also clean the inside of a refrigerator, removes baked-on foods from pans and absorbs odors.
  • Borax. Good water softener and sanitizer, an excellent freshener when added to laundry and is an all-around deodorizer.
  • Castile soap. Mild liquid or bar soap made from oil that can be used for general-purpose cleaning.
  • Cream of tartar (potassium bitartrate). Though commonly used for baking, this mild acid removes spots from aluminum cookware and stains from bathtubs and sinks.
  • Lemon juice. This acts like a very mild bleach to lighten stains and cut grease. It can also remove tarnish on brass, copper, bronze, and aluminum, but don’t use it on silver.
  • Washing soda (sodium carbonate or soda ash). Stronger than baking soda, washing soda can act as a water softener when combined with laundry detergent. Wear gloves when using washing sode because it irritates skin, and don’t use it with silks, woolens, or vinyl.
  • Distilled white vinegar. This common household product kills germs and deodorizes. It also removes scale from coffeemakers; cleans chrome, cookware and countertops; and can unclog drains. Vinegar even removes some carpet stains. Just be careful with acetate fabrics, including some tablecloths, because this acid can dissolve fibers.

Homemade Cleaning Product Recipes

  • Make a “soft scrub” to clean countertops from baking soda and liquid soap. Use it immediately because it will dry quickly.
  • Clean greasy ovens with one cup of baking soda and 1/4 cup of washing soda, mixed with enough water to make a paste. Let sit overnight before rinsing; wear gloves when using.
  • Clean tubs and tile with 1 2/3 cups baking soda, 1/2 cup liquid soap, 1/2 cup water and two tablespoons of vinegar. The mixture will react as soon as you add the vinegar, so use it immediately.
  • Make a sanitizer by mixing 2 teaspoons borax, 4 tablespoons vinegar, and 3-4 cups hot water in a spray bottle. Boost cleaning power by adding 1/4 teaspoon liquid soap to the mixture.
  • Clean windows with 3 tablespoons of vinegar and one quart of water in a spray bottle.

Before using any cleaning product on any surface, test it on a small, inconspicuous spot to ensure it won’t damage or discolor the material.

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