During this time of change, many desired items have suddenly become unavailable. My recent visits to stores have shown that most food and beverage have returned to the shelf. Plenty of water, eggs, bread, and milk are available again – with new purchasing limits to help keep it that way. However, cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer are still of low quantity or nonexistent. Now, with the CDC’s (Centers of Disease Control and Prevention) recommendation to wear face masks in public, we add an additional item to our hard to find list. Here is some advice and help for finding/making three of these important items.
1. Face Masks/Coverings
On or around April 3, 2020, the CDC officially recommended wearing cloth face coverings in public settings since other social distancing measures could be difficult to maintain. Due to the increase demand of face masks and coverings, many people are using a more accessible Do-It-Yourself (DIY) option. Check here for DIY instructions from the CDC.
According to a recent Business Insider article, CEO of Suay Sew Shop, Lindsay Medoff, says a cloth mask is not enough.
Medoff and two friends were appalled by the dozens of mask patterns calling for cotton, a highly breathable, permeable fabric, and became obsessed with finding a fabric better suited for the job.Business Insider
After testing many materials, Medoff concluded that the ideal material is the stretchy blue shop towels. If you are going to use a cotton mask, insert one or two blue shop towels for filtration. You could also make mask out of the blue shop towels. The video below is shows how to make a No-Sew shop towel mask.
I altered my mask to use 4 rubber bands and 2 additional paperclips to secure the mask around my head versus around my ears. I will also insert an additional towel within the mask.
2. Disinfecting Wipes
When is the last time you went to the store and saw disinfecting wipes for sell? It has likely been at least a month. Although I purchased a few containers before the panic began, my supply is running low. I, therefore, started looking for alternative solutions. Here is one useful recipe! It calls for “rags”, but you could also use high quality paper towels. *You may want to adjust the amount of mixture depending on the amount of “cloths” you have available.
1 cup water
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1 tsp. Dawn dish soap (only use Dawn)
2 Tbsp. ammonia (optional)
24 rags – cut into squares. (I cut them to about 4×6 inches but whatever size you have available or whichever size you need will work. I also use old washrags that have seen better days.)
Mix the ingredients and pour over the rags.* Then, when you need to clean your bathroom, use them as you would the disposable Clorox wipes.
Note: This mixture does not include bleach. For anyone using bleach to clean, remember that bleach does not mix well with others, and is dangerous if ingested. Please be extra careful when cleaning with bleach.
3. Hand Sanitizer
I recently received an article about a few Black-owned companies selling hand sanitizer. I was ecstatic to see a hometown favorite of mine, Hairizon. Hairizon is beauty bar based out of Durham, North Carolina. Check out this article to find other companies who may be able to help with your hand sanitizer needs.
I found a homemade recipe for hand sanitizer, but it came with an warning. See the article for further information.
A word of warning
Hand sanitizer recipes, including the one below, are intended for use by professionals with the necessary expertise and resources for safe creation and proper utilization.
Only use homemade hand sanitizers in extreme situations when handwashing isn’t available for the foreseeable future.
Don’t use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin as they may be more prone to use them improperly, leading to a greater risk of injury.How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer
Hand sanitizer recipe
What you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
- 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead
- Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
- Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
- Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”
Versus making your own hand sanitizers, try one of the companies above. If you are not an essential worker, stay home as much as possible and use good, “old-fashion” soap and water!
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