Many of us trying to live a low-waste lifestyle are struggling to maintain business as usual zero waste practices during the global COVID-19 crisis. Though safety is the top concern during this time, there are still many ways to clean in an effective and low-waste manner.
Here are some of the best ideas and resources for low-waste cleaning during the coronavirus pandemic:
Washing Your Hands
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (other than social distancing and limiting exposure), and it is what both the WHO and CDC recommends as a top way to reduce your own risk of getting the coronavirus.
How to wash your hands properly. Super helpful guide from the CDC, even if you feel like you know what you’re doing.
When washing your hands, the CDC recommends using a clean towel or letting your hands air dry. Perfect low-waste options.
Save water by turning off the tap as you’re lathering for your 20-30 seconds.
If you need more soap, consider supporting a zero waste shop. Low-waste soap ideas include soap bars, soap in glass jar containers, soap in bottles made from recycled material, and soap in refillable bottles. Or, look to buy more eco-friendly soap brands such as Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation, and Method.
Using Hand Sanitizer
“If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.” -CDC Website
When soap and water is not available to wash your hands, use a hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol. That means, if you have something that is 60% alcohol and you add a lotion agent to it, your concoction is no longer 60% alcohol and therefore not at the level needed to be effective.
Cleaning Surfaces in Your Home
The CDC Guide is a thorough resource of cleaning options.
Rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are great low-waste disinfectant products, used with (reusable) cleaning rags. Use to disinfect common surfaces as well as disinfect all surfaces around your home.
Some major surfaces to clean: light switches, door handles, tv remotes, game controllers, counters, kitchen surfaces, bathroom surfaces.
DIY Disinfectant Wipes
“A ratio of five tablespoons of pure bleach to a gallon of water (or four teaspoons to a quart) is considered sufficient. A paper towel dipped in the solution can take the place of the wipe.” -TIME Magazine
Reminder: you can use reusable rags for this DIY disinfectant wipe rather than a disposable paper towel. Disinfect surfaces with your reusable rag and then throw in the laundry.
Cleaning Your Phone/Tablet/Computer
“Use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol. Dry surface thoroughly.” -CDC Website
Use a little hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol and a reusable rag to wipe down electronics. Be careful not to let the rag get too wet because you don’t want to ruin electronics.
(Bonus Section) Face Masks
Some cities are urging citizens to wear face masks when they go out in public to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. They are not recommending disposable/medical grade masks needed in the medical field right now; they are recommending homemade masks, bandanas, neck warmers, and other similar cloth options that cover your face and nose. Use a reusable face mask option, don’t touch your face, and throw the cloth in the wash after you wear it.