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Non Toxic Cleaning and Disinfection: Stay Safe During COVID-19

Apr 1, 2020


Non Toxic Cleaning and Disinfection: Stay Safe During COVID-19

EHT is thankful to share ways you can keep your family safe and healthy without toxic chemicals, especially during this time of COVID-19.  Resources shared on this page are from some incredible environmental health organizations we hope you  know about.

As shared by The Center for Environmental Health in their “Tips to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus and Toxic Chemicals“- The U.S. CDC recommends plain old alcohol as a disinfectant. This means you can use 70% rubbing alcohol found online or at your local drug and grocery store or you can even use liquor with a very high alcohol content (over 140 proof). Using rubbing alcohol is an effective way to disinfect and protect yourself from the coronavirus without putting your health at risk by using products that contain toxic chemicals.

Many popular disinfectants contain either quaternary ammonium chlorides (or quats) or chlorine bleach. While they can kill various bacteria and viruses, they also have health hazards you should know about.

As detailed by Women’s Voices for the Earth here, quats are potent skin irritants and can cause rashes and dermatitis, irritate your lungs leading to breathing problems and are linked to reproductive harm, potentially affecting fertility, and possibly leading to birth defects. Cleaning workers exposed regularly to quats have developed occupational asthma. Chlorine bleach is a significant lung and eye irritant and is one leading cause of chemical eye injuries in children in the U.S.. in the category of cleaning products.

So if you want to use less toxic products, look for disinfectants with active ingredients such as:

  • alcohol/ethanol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • lactic acid and
  • peroxyacetic acid

Women’s Voices for the Earth resources on quats and bleach. 

Must Watch Webinar by Women’s Voices for the Earth on Safer Disinfecting at home in the times of Coronavirus

The Center for Environmental Health has created a great new infographic with details  “Coronavirus- Protecting Yourself and Your Family.”

Wash your hands and disinfect.

  • Clean your hands often for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.Throw used tissues in the trash.
  • Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.

Yes, your smartphone and computer keyboard is toxic. It does need to be cleaned. 

Research has found keyboards and cell phones to be highly contaminated- ten times more than your toilet seat- according to a University of Arizona study.  A 2017 study found more than 17,000 bacterial gene copies on the phones of high school students.

This is why you should wash wash wash your hands after using your smartphone, keyboard or electronics.

You can clean and disinfect your smartphone, tablet or laptop: 

  1. First, turn it off, power it down and unplug from any charger.
  2. You can clean with microfiber cloths according to Time, because these clothes pick up microscopic particles, including bacteria and viruses. That doesn’t mean it kills them—just lifts them off surfaces without the use of water. Then, be sure to disinfect the cloth before using it again. You can wash it in the washing machine with warm water. And of course, wash your hands thoroughly after handling the germy cloth.
  3. Rubbing alcohol: According to Time, you can disinfect by creating a solution of about 60% water and 40% alcohol. Use a small corner of a cloth to gently clean the phone. Immediately use a dry portion of the cloth right afterward. Don’t spray the alcohol directly on the phone, and be sure to dilute it. Then wash your hands.
  4. Note Apple states: “Using a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, you may gently wipe the exterior surfaces of your iPhone. Don’t use bleach. Avoid getting moisture in any openings, and don’t submerge your iPhone in any cleaning agents.”

We think Apple should inform their customers about cell phone radiation, just like they are educating customers about cleaning their cell phones. Learn more about cell phone radiation here. Read research studies showing cell phone radiation is toxic here. Learn about 5G here. Learn how to reduce cell phone radiation exposure here.

As shared by the Center4Research you can clean your keyboard by:

  1. Shut down and unplug it.
  2. Turn the keyboard upside down and shake out debris.
  3. Dampen a cotton swab (such as a Q-tip) with water or isopropyl alcohol. Make sure it is damp, not wet. Use it to clean in-between the keys. Check with manufacture that you can use alcohol.
  4. Dampen a lint-free cloth.  Again, make sure it is damp, not wet. Wipe down the rest of the keyboard with the cloth.

Key Resources for You.

Tips to Protect Yourself from the Coronavirus and Toxic Chemicals: The Center for Environmental Health

The Center for Environmental Health  infographic with details  “Coronavirus- Protecting Yourself and Your Family.” Please download and share it.

Webinar on Safer Disinfecting at home in the times of Coronavirus: Women’s Voices for the Earth

10 Steps to Avoid Toxic Chemicals: Women’s Voices for the Earth