hand sanitizer and masks can be made at home

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Grocery store shelves that once held cleaning supplies, toiletries and personal hygiene products now stand bare. We’ve all experienced the frustration of needing something that is now out of stock because of the COVID-19 crisis. People are stockpiling products that they fear might run out—and that has caused the very thing they are afraid of.

If you can’t find your favorite detergent, disinfectant or hand sanitizer, don’t worry. Here are five easy recipes for your favorite products that you can make yourself at home.

Face Mask

Many of us have been told to stay in our homes and if we leave, wear protective gear. Sadly, for many, masks and gloves are hard to come by. Fortunately you can protect yourself with a DIY face mask. Protecting your face is one of the most effective ways to reduce the spread of any upper respiratory disease, but especially Coronoavirus.

Materials:

  • Bandana, T-shirt or square cotton cloth, about 20″ x 20″
  • Coffee filter
  • Rubber bands or hair ties

Directions: First, cut the bottom off the coffee filter. Set the top part aside; you’ll need it later. Second, lay your cloth flat in a rectangle and fold it in half lengthwise. Next, place the cut filter in the center and fold the top of the cloth down over the filter. Fold the bottom up. Then, put rubber bands or hair ties around the cloth about 6 inches apart and fold the ends in around the rubber bands. Place them around your ears and you have an effective DIY face mask.

Laundry Detergent

Homemade laundry detergent is a simple DIY cleaning recipe that can be especially helpful for people who are sensitive to detergents. This recipe is a gentle, natural cleaning powder that will keep whites white and colors bright. For “essential workers” who are daily out in public and around people, washing your clothes immediately after coming home from work is an effective way to limit your household’s exposure to COVID-19.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bar laundry soap (FelsNaptha or Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap are two examples)
  • 1 cup borax
  • 1 cup washing soda
  • 1 cup oxygen bleach  

Directions: Grate 2 cups of the laundry soap and then mix all ingredients in an airtight container. Two tablespoons will clean small loads, but you’ll want to use four tablespoons for larger loads or heavy soils and stains.

Hand Sanitizer

Homemade hand sanitizers need to be made thoughtfully and with care. Test a portion out on your skin before using it on your entire hand. And be especially cautious with children, do a small patch skin test on them, too, to make sure no reactions occur. Washing your hands is the first—and best—line of defense against illness. In situations where washing your hands isn’t an option, using hand sanitizer is the next best thing. 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
  • 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel 
  • 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint or tea tree oil

Directions: Mix all ingredients into a bowl; it’s especially helpful to use one with a pouring spout like a large measuring cup or bowl. Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk until the mixture thickens into a gel. Pour the ingredients into an empty glass bottle and be sure to label it clearly.

Disinfectant Spray

Because germs can spread quickly—from doorknobs to kitchen counters to the bathroom sink—you’ll need a disinfectant spray that you can use on any surface. If you’re unable to get your hands on a natural antibacterial spray at the store, you can make your own. By combining alcohol and vinegar with antibacterial essential oils, your home will remain a clean, germ-free, and pleasant-smelling environment.

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup high-proof vodka
  • 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar
  • 3/4 cup distilled water
  • 30–40 drops each tea tree and lemongrass essential oils
  • 16-ounce clean spray bottle

Directions: Pour all the ingredients into the bottle, screw the cap back on tightly, and shake the solution well before each use. Make sure the areas you wish to disinfect are clean first.

Baby Wipes

In addition to cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, including toilet paper and baby wipes, have been flying off the shelves. This has left parents wondering how they’re going to keep their little ones healthy without having enough supplies on hand. Whether you have a baby or are worried about a fellow parent running low on baby products, the good news is you can make baby wipes with a few simple, gentle-on-skin ingredients.

Ingredients:

  • 1 roll of paper towels (or some reusable cloths)
  • 2 cups of boiled water (or warmed distilled water)
  • 2 tablespoons of gentle cleanser, such as baby shampoo or castile soap
  • 1 tablespoon of oil, such as coconut or olive
  • Storage container with a wide opening, such as a food storage container or large jar

Directions: Using a serrated blade, cut the paper towel roll in half. Next, place one half of the roll inside the container. If you don’t have distilled water, boil regular tap water and let it cool. Add the gentle cleanser and oil to the water and mix together. Then, pour the mixture over the paper towels, cover the container lid, and let it soak for a few minutes. Finally, remove the paper towel roll’s cardboard center. You can then pull out a wipe from the center of the roll as needed.

We have to be more diligent about our cleanliness in care if we want to overcome the Coronavirus pandemic. With stores running out of products, it might feel hopeless to those who just want to stay safe. Try these simple, but effective, homemade recipes to keep you and your family safe, secure, healthy and happy.

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