Since it has become difficult to buy disinfectant spray and disinfectant wipes in some countries many people are looking online for homemade disinfectant solutions. The problem is many websites and blogs are touting a whole range of homemade, natural, alternative and holistic disinfectant recipes that are simply ineffective. This is bad enough during normal times but during this coronavirus pandemic, it is dangerous.
To be clear – as far as coronavirus is concerned, I would not be relying upon any disinfectant recipes that rely on essential oils (including tea tree), vinegar, lemon juice, vodka, bicarbonate of soda or witch hazel as the main germ/virus killing agent. Stick with bleach, hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, at the correct mixing ratios recommended for killing germs and viruses.
- Bleach — a bleach solution with bleach to water ratio of 1:10 will kill all germs and virus within ten minutes. The CDC state that a ratio 1:48 is effective for coronavirus (4 teaspoons per quart) so using a 1:10 ratio is more than adequate.
- Hydrogen peroxide — 3% hydrogen peroxide – will kill germs and viruses within ten minutes. The CDC state that commercially available 3% hydrogen peroxide is a stable and effective disinfectant when used on inanimate surfaces.
- Alcohol — alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol – will kill germs and viruses within a minute. The CDC state that 70% alcohol is effective for disinfecting and sanitizing.
Simple Homemade Disposable Disinfectant Wipes
You will need
- Kitchen towel/paper towel (try not to use cheap/thin kitchen towel as it will tear easily). To make more durable wipes, try using Jay cloths or other similar semi-disposable cleaning cloths. These could also possibly be cleaned and reused.
- Kitchen gloves/rubber gloves
- Mixing jug
- Baking tray or similar flat-bottomed container
- A Ziploc or sealable bag
When bleach is diluted with water it starts to break down after 48 hours or so. With this in mind, I recommend making a small batch of disinfectant wipes every few days.
- Take the kitchen towel and carefully tear off 20-30 sheets. Stack them tidily one on top of the other in a stack. Place the stack of paper towel in the baking tray.
- Put on your kitchen gloves.
- Mix some bleach/water solution at 1:10 ratio in the mixing jug. Around 100ml of water and 10ml of bleach should be sufficient depending on the size/quantity of paper towel.
- Carefully pour some of the mixed bleach solution over the stack of paper towels (in the baking tray!). You just want enough solution to saturate the paper towel completely, nothing more.
- Leave to sit for a few minutes to be sure the paper towel is fully saturated.
- Now place your hand on top of the stack of paper towel and gently press down to squeeze out excess bleach solution into the baking tray. This bit is down to your own judgement. You don’t want the paper towel wipes to be dripping wet, but they obviously need to be wet enough to wipe down surfaces. You can fine-tune this over your first few batches until you find the consistency/moisture level that works best for you.
- Carefully place your new disinfectant wipes in a Ziploc or similar sealable bag. Keep sealed and use as necessary and dispose of in the bin.
Note — you could also adapt this to use 3% hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down when exposed to light so you will need to store your wipes in a dark-coloured or opaque airtight container.
It’s recommended that you wear kitchen gloves when using these wipes as they are bleach-based. At the very least make sure you rinse your hands after using them…