by Louisa Graves & Lisa Matsuda

HBS Skin News Look YoungerIf you’re a neat freak like I am, this Covid-19 pandemic probably has your house in top sanitized condition. With all the uncertainty around this virus, why risk it? Ask any of my family members and they will all tell you that I travel with a few “safe” sanitation supplies. I can’t help it: I need to know that my utensils are clean at restaurants and that the door handles are germ free!

The grimiest places are not always where we think they will be. Workplaces, hands, cellphones, keyboards, kitchens, and money round out the top 6 dirtiest items and places that we come into contact with on a daily basis. We might as well add our hands to that list as they touch everything!Stress Buster #3: Staying Safe and Germ Free at Home and While You're Out 3

I am also a big believer in NOT touching your face unless your hands are washed clean. It’s not hard to do, even when our noses get itchy or we get something in our eyes. Just use a tissue. I even wash my hands before my nightly skincare routine. Sounds excessive, yes, but washing my face with dirty hands feels counterproductive to me!  We do so many things subconsciously that we don’t realize we might be getting ourselves sick! Such as applying lip balm with an unwashed finger, or rolling up your yoga mat! Yikes. Don’t roll it! Just fold it so the inside stays clean. You’re laying on a mat that was on a dirty, sweaty floor.

The following tips have helped me and many other feel less stressed about staying safe and germ free, whether you’re out in public or at home. They are super simple and super effective!

Stress free Public Places

Hand sanitizer is a big seller right now and is sold out everywhere. I don’t care for it, actually, since it’s loaded with other not so healthy chemicals. So I make my own at home using distilled white vinegar which can be found everywhere and the last time I checked, was still in stock everywhere!  White vinegar is a wonderful cleaner as it is highly acidic, making it an inhospitable environment for germs and because most  public washrooms are closed right now. My healthy hand sanitizer is an absolute must to take with you wherever you go. Use it on your hands, menus, cutlery, your cell phone and other germy places and items!

Here’s what I do:

Place 8-10 paraben and phthalate-free baby wipes or plain paper towels/napkins into a zip lock sandwich bag. Add 2 tsp. white distilled vinegar and keep the sealed bag in your purse.

Cleaning At Home

How many times a week do you do a deep clean now that you are probably at home more often than not? I am always disinfecting and cleaning the surfaces in my home. As I mentioned before, I was a germaphobe before this happened and I will continue to be once this is over! Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who is just as clean as I am and helps me out a lot!

I do not like using products with preservatives or unnecessary chemicals. Harsh cleaners do work but they come with so much environmental and chemical baggage that they are almost not worth using.

I have two simple alternatives to all of those harsh chemicals. They are so safe, you can even let your kids or grandkids clean with them! They are distilled white vinegar and baking soda. This cleaning tag team are two of the safest and most effective household cleaners and anyone can use them, as often as you need.

I spray vinegar on my countertops and cutting boards to kill food borne germs, and it really works! I also use it for:

  • Cleaning fruits and vegetables
  • Removing odor from plastic food storage containers
  • Cleaning my shower
  • Disinfect, brighten, and deodorize laundry
  • Cleaning windows and mirrors

Vinegar has 1000 uses, and costs pennies per use.

Tip: Always use gloves when cleaning to protect your hands and nails. Keeping hands out of water can also prevent arthritis in your hands!

Use vinegar and baking soda to:

  • Whiten and brighten whites without bleach
  • Clean your toilet! Add a few drops of dish soap and scrub away the stains and that nasty urine smell
  • Clean pots and pans
  • Clean tiles and sinks
  • Clear a drain: Use ½ cup of baking soda mixed with 1 cup white vinegar. Leave for 30 minutes then flush with HOT water

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