Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Housekeeping in a Time of Viral Chaos

 

My pastor is encouraging us to try to live ordered lives in this age of Chinese flu: Set an alarm to get up at the same time every day; pray; enjoy your caffeinated, warm beverage of choice; pray some more; bathe and dress for the day; attend daily Mass via the web; did I mention “pray?” There is no remedy for anxiety quite like spending time with the Great Consoler and, yet, it’s commonly the first practice to fall away in times of distress. I know this from the last six years’ personal experience of family chaos and trauma brought on by our daughters’ serious medical crises, and I still struggle to maintain the habit. Be better than I am.

But, having a child go through meningitis and chemotherapy and being concerned about infection has given us some advantages in the current crisis. We have masks and gloves and alcohol wipes. Not a lot, but some leftovers and a few extra to donate to medical providers. We keep a supply of rubbing alcohol, Clorox wipes, bleach, and TSP. If you don’t have all these readily available, hold that thought. I have other ideas.

My morning routine consists of wiping down every kitchen surface, every handle, knob, telephone receiver, remote control, light switch, control panel, toilet handle, soap pump, every household article we touch regularly, with a Clorox wipe or two. Repeat as necessary as someone or something new is introduced from outside.

Don’t have Clorox wipes? Here are some other ideas for sanitizing surfaces:
Make a 10% bleach solution and use it to dampen a washcloth or dishrag in place of wipes (carry in a zip lock baggie for use outside the home, too)
Use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle (careful with this — it will damage wood finishes)
Use vinegar, lemon juice, and/or salt solution
Hand sanitizer: I keep a bottle in the car, which I use on my hands, steering wheel, gearshift, door handle, and key fob. I also sanitize my credit card, wallet, and purse every time I use them
UV sunlight, if possible and nothing else is available
Hot water and soap for everything else, preferably with TSP
Carry a wipe to the mailbox and sanitize the pull. Handle your mail as if it’s contaminated.

Nuke it:
Microwave heating is thought to kill coronavirus. I clean my microwave oven every morning by nuking a damp dishrag for a minute and, while the oven is still steamed and the rag is still hot, wiping down the interior and exterior controls. Anything else that needs sterilizing and can tolerate microwaves can get the same treatment.

Use a sterile technique for groceries and deliveries coming into the house:
Set up a contaminated-space and a clean-space on your counter. Nothing moves to the clean space unless it’s been decontaminated. Assume everything is contaminated. Use your Clorox or homemade wipes on hard surface items (glass and plastic). Remove items from cardboard and discard the box. Wash fruits and vegetables as you would your hands (20 seconds in warm soapy water). Carry-in food items should be dumped onto plates or in bowls from home and their containers discarded. Of course, hands are sanitized before, during, and after this long and cumbersome process, but you don’t want WuFlu, so learn to live with it. When you’re finished, decontaminate your contaminated-space.

And, finally, when you go out, wear a mask and gloves. Leave your pride in the car. If you don’t have a mask, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth. If you don’t have gloves, you can use a used plastic grocery bag to pick up the gas pump or items for purchase and then discard it when you’re through. You’re American. Innovate! It’s what we do.

And, finally, if you’re so stressed by the situation, it’s making you impatient and angry with God and you’re wondering if He really loves you, remember He let His own Holy Family be driven from their homeland into exile in Egypt so as to avoid Herod’s murder of the innocents. If He would let them suffer in this way, you can rest assured He loves you even though you’re living through a difficult time.

Keep the faith, and share other ideas in the comments.

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  1. La Tapada Member

    Thanks for the post, WCh. I’m not doing that much sanitization inside the home, but then we don’t go out much to the store. I am doing more praying than usual.

    We’re blessed in that both I and my husband work from home offices anyway. But what I’m finding is that, now that there are no external activities, we have unthinkingly gone back to getting up and going to bed on standard time rather than daylight saving time.

    • #1
    • March 29, 2020, at 10:07 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. MarciN Member

    I’m printing this out for guidance. Thank you. Lots of good workarounds. :-)

    • #2
    • March 29, 2020, at 10:09 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. Snirtler Inactive

    Western Chauvinist: If you don’t have a mask, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth.

    I’ve worn a bandanna, a handkerchief, and a snood during trips to the bank and grocery store. Main lesson learned: a bigger bandanna is more breathable than a smaller handkerchief that wraps tightly around one’s face. Also I amused myself taking out cash at the bank with a bandanna over my face like a bandido. (As a friend said, don’t let the coronavirus take away your sense of humor like your sense of smell.)

    • #3
    • March 29, 2020, at 2:33 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Snirtler (View Comment):

    Western Chauvinist: If you don’t have a mask, wear a scarf over your nose and mouth.

    I’ve worn a bandanna, a handkerchief, and a snood during trips to the bank and grocery store. Main lesson learned: a bigger bandanna is more breathable than a smaller handkerchief that wraps tightly around one’s face. Also I amused myself taking out cash at the bank with a bandanna over my face like a bandido. (As a friend said, don’t let the coronavirus take away your sense of humor like your sense of smell.)

    Heh, almost makes me want to make a run to the bank!

    • #4
    • March 29, 2020, at 2:57 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. MarciN Member

    This may sound crazy, but I’ve been reading Martha Stewart’s website and blog (http://www.marthastewart.com) every day for years. I never do anything that is talked about on the website, but it is cheery at the end of my day. She has been posting wonderful articles on how to get through this virus crisis. If you are looking for something else to think about that is fun, you might try browsing her website and blog with a cup of tea at your side. She has started this week with a “Homeschool with Martha” feature where is teaching some new something every day. 

    I really admire her positive attitude. It’s nice to see. 

    • #5
    • March 29, 2020, at 7:28 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. The Dowager Jojo Inactive

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This may sound crazy, but I’ve been reading Martha Stewart’s website and blog (http://www.marthastewart.com) every day for years. I never do anything that is talked about on the website, but it is cheery at the end of my day. She has been posting wonderful articles on how to get through this virus crisis. If you are looking for something else to think about that is fun, you might try browsing her website and blog with a cup of tea at your side. She has started this week with a “Homeschool with Martha” feature where is teaching some new something every day.

    I really admire her positive attitude. It’s nice to see.

    I admire both Martha Stewart’s and Western Chauvinist’s positive attitudes, and they have both been tested. And I feel fond of both of them too: Martha Stewart because she also enjoys (live) chickens, and Western Chauvinist for her smart-aleck streak. 

    I will up my game some on your advice, WC.

    • #6
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:54 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  7. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Dowager Jojo (View Comment):

    MarciN (View Comment):

    This may sound crazy, but I’ve been reading Martha Stewart’s website and blog (http://www.marthastewart.com) every day for years. I never do anything that is talked about on the website, but it is cheery at the end of my day. She has been posting wonderful articles on how to get through this virus crisis. If you are looking for something else to think about that is fun, you might try browsing her website and blog with a cup of tea at your side. She has started this week with a “Homeschool with Martha” feature where is teaching some new something every day.

    I really admire her positive attitude. It’s nice to see.

    I admire both Martha Stewart’s and Western Chauvinist’s positive attitudes, and they have both been tested. And I feel fond of both of them too: Martha Stewart because she also enjoys (live) chickens, and Western Chauvinist for her smart-aleck streak.

    Heh. Thanks, Jojo. My mother would approve.

    I will up my game some on your advice, WC.

    Take good care! We need as many cranky ol… mature ladies around as possible!

    • #7
    • March 30, 2020, at 5:41 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge

    I’ve been dipping in an out of my college microbiology textbook (Microbiology Jacqueline Black) these past few weeks. It’s actually a really enjoyable read. In the introduction to the chapter on disinfection she shares a recipe from Dr Norman Miner (head of MicroChem lab somewhere in Texas) for a cheap easy sterilant, 

    1 gallon water

    1 cup of bleach

    1 cup of vinegar 

    Needs to be used within 8 hours of mixing. The contact time is pretty long at 20 minutes before you rinse off but it’s strong enough to kill anthrax spores so it probably does a virus no good either. 

    I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve been using a veterinary virucidal disinfectant that we use against parvovirus. I reckon anything that can destroy a parvovirus (and possibly feline/canine coronaviruses as well) might put up a good fight against Covid 19.

    • #8
    • March 30, 2020, at 9:39 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. JoelB Member

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    I’ve been dipping in an out of my college microbiology textbook (Microbiology Jacqueline Black) these past few weeks. It’s actually a really enjoyable read. In the introduction to the chapter on disinfection she shares a recipe from Dr Norman Miner (head of MicroChem lab somewhere in Texas) for a cheap easy sterilant,

    1 gallon water

    1 cup of bleach

    1 cup of vinegar

    Needs to be used within 8 hours of mixing. The contact time is pretty long at 20 minutes before you rinse off but it’s strong enough to kill anthrax spores so it probably does a virus no good either.

    I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve been using a veterinary virucidal disinfectant that we use against parvovirus. I reckon anything that can destroy a parvovirus (and possibly feline/canine coronaviruses as well) might put up a good fight against Covid 19.

    I have never understood the bleach + vinegar cleaning solutions so commonly used. Bleach is a strong base. Vinegar is an acid. Aside from perhaps a little fizz produced, don’t they just cancel each other out? Any chemists out there who can enlighten me?

    • #9
    • March 30, 2020, at 9:59 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    JoelB (View Comment):
    I have never understood the bleach + vinegar cleaning solutions so commonly used. Bleach is a strong base. Vinegar is an acid. Aside from perhaps a little fizz produced, don’t they just cancel each other out? Any chemists out there who can enlighten me?

    This is my thought, too.

    • #10
    • March 30, 2020, at 10:04 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. Marjorie Reynolds Coolidge

    JoelB (View Comment):

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    I’ve been dipping in an out of my college microbiology textbook (Microbiology Jacqueline Black) these past few weeks. It’s actually a really enjoyable read. In the introduction to the chapter on disinfection she shares a recipe from Dr Norman Miner (head of MicroChem lab somewhere in Texas) for a cheap easy sterilant,

    1 gallon water

    1 cup of bleach

    1 cup of vinegar

    Needs to be used within 8 hours of mixing. The contact time is pretty long at 20 minutes before you rinse off but it’s strong enough to kill anthrax spores so it probably does a virus no good either.

    I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve been using a veterinary virucidal disinfectant that we use against parvovirus. I reckon anything that can destroy a parvovirus (and possibly feline/canine coronaviruses as well) might put up a good fight against Covid 19.

    I have never understood the bleach + vinegar cleaning solutions so commonly used. Bleach is a strong base. Vinegar is an acid. Aside from perhaps a little fizz produced, don’t they just cancel each other out? Any chemists out there who can enlighten me?

    Well we can’t ask Dr Miner

    https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/dfw/obituary.aspx?pid=194290775

    • #11
    • March 30, 2020, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • Like
  12. J Climacus Member

    Your advice to maintain a disciplined life of prayer is excellent, and may be the most important thing. It’s strange how difficult it becomes in times like these, when you’d think it would be easier.

    • #12
    • March 30, 2020, at 2:31 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Manny Member

    Thanks WC. You’ve lived this so your guidance helps. I’m teleworking and my son is “teleschooling”. I have more time to pray but I forget about watching morning Mass. I do find I’m less disciplined about showering so I’ve set up a routine for myself. 

    • #13
    • March 30, 2020, at 3:35 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  14. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    I’ve been dipping in an out of my college microbiology textbook (Microbiology Jacqueline Black) these past few weeks. It’s actually a really enjoyable read. In the introduction to the chapter on disinfection she shares a recipe from Dr Norman Miner (head of MicroChem lab somewhere in Texas) for a cheap easy sterilant,

    1 gallon water

    1 cup of bleach

    1 cup of vinegar

    Needs to be used within 8 hours of mixing. The contact time is pretty long at 20 minutes before you rinse off but it’s strong enough to kill anthrax spores so it probably does a virus no good either.

    I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve been using a veterinary virucidal disinfectant that we use against parvovirus. I reckon anything that can destroy a parvovirus (and possibly feline/canine coronaviruses as well) might put up a good fight against Covid 19.

    There is no need for vinegar. Bleach will kill any infectious agent outside of Mad Cow disease. There is no resistance, and we are pretty sure resistance is not going to develop. It’s used in high containment labs for killing the nastiest agents, like B. anthracis or Ebola virus.

    10% bleach solution is what we recommend for cleaning up biohazard spills. To make 1 gallon (128 oz) of 10% bleach, use at least 12oz bleach. I’d error on the side of caution and simplicity, and use two cups, or 1 pint (16oz bleach) Older bleach loses some its strength over time as it breaks down, so I always go a bit higher at home.

    Anything that will kill parvovirus is all but certain to kill Wuhan coronavirus. Parvo is a non-enveloped virus, much tougher to kill than coronavirus. According to the EPA, anything rated against adenovirus, parvovirus, or norovirus will kill Wuhan coronavirus.

    • #14
    • March 30, 2020, at 3:40 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  15. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    J Climacus (View Comment):

    Your advice to maintain a disciplined life of prayer is excellent, and may be the most important thing. It’s strange how difficult it becomes in times like these, when you’d think it would be easier.

    It is strange, and yet, I think, very common. It certainly is in my experience. 

    One thing I’m doing that helps my discipline is saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3:00 pm daily. The devotion takes under ten minutes I meditate on the Sorrowful Mysteries as I’m saying it. Very doable. An alarm on my phone is the cue. 

    Sticking to the aforementioned pattern though, I’ve fallen off saying my morning Rosary since this panicdemic started. I’m such a pathetic, weak little lamb. Lord have mercy. 

    • #15
    • March 30, 2020, at 4:04 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. MeandurΦ Member
    MeandurΦ Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    I’ve been dipping in an out of my college microbiology textbook (Microbiology Jacqueline Black) these past few weeks. It’s actually a really enjoyable read. In the introduction to the chapter on disinfection she shares a recipe from Dr Norman Miner (head of MicroChem lab somewhere in Texas) for a cheap easy sterilant,

    1 gallon water

    1 cup of bleach

    1 cup of vinegar

    Needs to be used within 8 hours of mixing. The contact time is pretty long at 20 minutes before you rinse off but it’s strong enough to kill anthrax spores so it probably does a virus no good either.

    I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve been using a veterinary virucidal disinfectant that we use against parvovirus. I reckon anything that can destroy a parvovirus (and possibly feline/canine coronaviruses as well) might put up a good fight against Covid 19.

    There is no need for vinegar. Bleach will kill any infectious agent outside of Mad Cow disease. There is no resistance, and we are pretty sure resistance is not going to develop. It’s used in high containment labs for killing the nastiest agents, like B. anthracis or Ebola virus.

    10% bleach solution is what we recommend for cleaning up biohazard spills. To make 1 gallon (128 oz) of 10% bleach, use at least 12oz bleach. I’d error on the side of caution and simplicity, and use two cups, or 1 pint (16oz bleach) Older bleach loses some its strength over time as it breaks down, so I always go a bit higher at home.

    Anything that will kill parvovirus is all but certain to kill Wuhan coronavirus. Parvo is a non-enveloped virus, much tougher to kill than coronavirus. According to the EPA, anything rated against adenovirus, parvovirus, or norovirus will kill Wuhan coronavirus.

    Also, from my brewing days, bleach is denatured by heat, so use it cold for maximum effectiveness.

    • #16
    • March 31, 2020, at 10:14 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  17. OmegaPaladin Moderator

    MeandurΦ (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    I’ve been dipping in an out of my college microbiology textbook (Microbiology Jacqueline Black) these past few weeks. It’s actually a really enjoyable read. In the introduction to the chapter on disinfection she shares a recipe from Dr Norman Miner (head of MicroChem lab somewhere in Texas) for a cheap easy sterilant,

    1 gallon water

    1 cup of bleach

    1 cup of vinegar

    Needs to be used within 8 hours of mixing. The contact time is pretty long at 20 minutes before you rinse off but it’s strong enough to kill anthrax spores so it probably does a virus no good either.

    I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve been using a veterinary virucidal disinfectant that we use against parvovirus. I reckon anything that can destroy a parvovirus (and possibly feline/canine coronaviruses as well) might put up a good fight against Covid 19.

    There is no need for vinegar. Bleach will kill any infectious agent outside of Mad Cow disease. There is no resistance, and we are pretty sure resistance is not going to develop. It’s used in high containment labs for killing the nastiest agents, like B. anthracis or Ebola virus.

    10% bleach solution is what we recommend for cleaning up biohazard spills. To make 1 gallon (128 oz) of 10% bleach, use at least 12oz bleach. I’d error on the side of caution and simplicity, and use two cups, or 1 pint (16oz bleach) Older bleach loses some its strength over time as it breaks down, so I always go a bit higher at home.

    Anything that will kill parvovirus is all but certain to kill Wuhan coronavirus. Parvo is a non-enveloped virus, much tougher to kill than coronavirus. According to the EPA, anything rated against adenovirus, parvovirus, or norovirus will kill Wuhan coronavirus.

    Also, from my brewing days, bleach is denatured by heat, so use it cold for maximum effectiveness.

    Make sure to store it in a cool dry place – no need to refrigerate.

    Last bleach tip – clean up the surface with soap and water if it is visibly dirty or greasy. Bleach reacts with dirt and grime, keeping it from reacting with viruses.

    • #17
    • March 31, 2020, at 2:19 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  18. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    MeandurΦ (View Comment):

    OmegaPaladin (View Comment):

    Marjorie Reynolds (View Comment):

    I’ve been dipping in an out of my college microbiology textbook (Microbiology Jacqueline Black) these past few weeks. It’s actually a really enjoyable read. In the introduction to the chapter on disinfection she shares a recipe from Dr Norman Miner (head of MicroChem lab somewhere in Texas) for a cheap easy sterilant,

    1 gallon water

    1 cup of bleach

    1 cup of vinegar

    Needs to be used within 8 hours of mixing. The contact time is pretty long at 20 minutes before you rinse off but it’s strong enough to kill anthrax spores so it probably does a virus no good either.

    I haven’t tried it myself but I’ve been using a veterinary virucidal disinfectant that we use against parvovirus. I reckon anything that can destroy a parvovirus (and possibly feline/canine coronaviruses as well) might put up a good fight against Covid 19.

    There is no need for vinegar. Bleach will kill any infectious agent outside of Mad Cow disease. There is no resistance, and we are pretty sure resistance is not going to develop. It’s used in high containment labs for killing the nastiest agents, like B. anthracis or Ebola virus.

    10% bleach solution is what we recommend for cleaning up biohazard spills. To make 1 gallon (128 oz) of 10% bleach, use at least 12oz bleach. I’d error on the side of caution and simplicity, and use two cups, or 1 pint (16oz bleach) Older bleach loses some its strength over time as it breaks down, so I always go a bit higher at home.

    Anything that will kill parvovirus is all but certain to kill Wuhan coronavirus. Parvo is a non-enveloped virus, much tougher to kill than coronavirus. According to the EPA, anything rated against adenovirus, parvovirus, or norovirus will kill Wuhan coronavirus.

    Also, from my brewing days, bleach is denatured by heat, so use it cold for maximum effectiveness.

    Make sure to store it in a cool dry place – no need to refrigerate.

    Last bleach tip – clean up the surface with soap and water if it is visibly dirty or greasy. Bleach reacts with dirt and grime, keeping it from reacting with viruses.

    Thanks for the additional insight, fellas.

    • #18
    • March 31, 2020, at 4:19 PM PDT
    • 1 like