I want to remind us that disinfectant cleaners have similar risks to antibacterial soaps, but there are safe options out there. There can be such a thing as being too clean, and a healthy immune system is our best defense; however, when a very contagious virus such as the “stomach flu” hits, every mom does what she can to prevent its spread. The usual culprit, a norovirus, is easy to pick up and hard to get rid of. Some of those viruses can survive on objects for months and can even withstand cleaning with bleach.
Some options to consider…..
Good old soap:
While advertisements play on a parent’s fear of germs, there have been many studies that show antibacterial soaps are no more effective at reducing illness then plain soap and water! The Center for Disease Control recommends washing hands for at least 20 seconds. Hand washing is especially necessary after going to the bathroom, before preparing a meal or eating, or if someone in your home is sick. To properly wash your hands you need to cover all parts of your hands, including under your nails — and then dry your hands well. Suds up for about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” through twice. Oh, and here is a positive word for homemade soap, since I make soaps……Not only can homemade soap be superfatted to make it less drying, it also naturally contains glycerin as a byproduct, which is moisturizing to the skin.
If you are out and about and do not have the convenience of soap and water, try making your own hand sanitizer from this site: http://livesimply.me/2014/09/17/diy-hand-sanitizer/. It uses tea tree and lavender essential oils for their antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects. Remember, though, that a hand sanitizer cannot remove dirt and grime like soap and water can.
FYI, the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers do not create superbugs as the overuse of disinfectects or antibiotics can as they work in a completely different way. The negative side effect is their drying effects with heavy use-you don’t want painful, cracked hands.
A 10 percent bleach solution kills most viruses, but it is very unhealthy and harsh to use.
Grapefruit seed extract:
Another suggestion is to make a hard surface spray of a pint of water and 20-30 drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE). GSE drops can also be added to a wash load of sick clothes as well as a few drops in your dishwasher or dish water. Here is reference to its activity against bacterial, viral, and fungal strains.
Just so you know, there is a huge controversy about whether GSE, developed in 1972 by a man named Dr. Jacob Harich, is a natural antimicrobial as the grapefruit bioflavonoids are taken through a manufacturing process. This website explains how Citricidal, a quality GSE product, is made: http://www.itmonline.org/jintu/grapefruit.htm. After researching it, I would favor its use, but you can dig on your own to satisfy any questions you have about it.
Boiling water will also kill or inactivate most bacteria and viruses.
They are plant essences distilled or pressed from stems, leaves, bark, roots, fruits, flowers and peel. Bacteria and viruses have not been known to develop resistance to essential oils in the thousands of years they have been known to man. Many of them have antibacterial, antiviral, and/or antifungal properties (for instance, clove, tea tree, lemongrass, cinnamon, oregano, and/or peppermint oils), and can be added to your own cleaning mix. Each one contains a wonderful synergy of chemicals and are designed by God to cleanse, protect, nourish, and heal!
When a child has an infectious bacterial skin disease such as impetigo, why not try topical treatment of the sores with essential oils such as tea tree and lavender? Both of these oils may be used full strength on the skin. Used properly, many of the essential oils are non-toxic and have no side effects.
If you want more information on the use of essential oils as antiseptics here are a few lines from this site: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21903378. “Bacterial resistance to multiple antibiotics is a health problem. Essential oils (EOs) possess antibacterial properties and have been screened as potential sources of novel antimicrobial compounds. Although clinical studies are scarce, the uses of EOs for topical administration and as penetration enhancers for antiseptics are promising.”
I couldn’t resist telling you about this article titled, “Essential Oils Might Be the New Antibiotics” in the January 2015 issue of The Atlantic. I found it intriguing-especially about the successful use of EO’s in chicken feed for health and weight gain!
*We praise God for the gift of essential oils, but like anything else He created, they can be misused. We know the wise men gave Baby Jesus frankincense and myrrh, which were EO’s, and also that two women anointed Jesus’ head and hair with costly spikenard oil in Mark 14 and John 12. In Exodus 30, God instructed Moses to make holy anointing oil as well as a precious perfume with essential oils to be used only for worshiping Him. When we use Vicks VapoRub we are making use of them. If you doubt essential oils can affect brain activity and the way our bodies function, check here and here. Does this make them evil? Of course not. However, we as Christians, must use spiritual discernment so that we are not pulled into using these oils for the vague sounding spiritual betterment promoted by the New Age movement. Rather than being able to create, Satan is the author of half truths, confusion, and counterfeits. This article from Samaritan Ministries may give you direction.
Another safe, chemical-free, and very effective cleaning option uses only water and a microfiber cloth. Microfibers clean mechanically, not chemically, with fibers as microscopic as 1/200th the size of a human hair-If you purchase the ones embedded with micro-silver (such as Norwex makes), the cloth grabs the dust and dirt as well as the microorganisms, removes them from the surface, and then the silver goes to work to stop them from multiplying! Make sure that’s micro-silver in the product you’re using and not nano-silver (a thousand times smaller in scale than micro-silver) as nano technology is potentially harmful.
This fascinating Bloomsberg Business News report questions the slow acceptance of microfiber in the marketplace: “The Strange Case of the Missing Microfiber” while this pilot trial using microfiber mops in a California hospital explained how they out-performed chemical cleaning and had economic benefits, as well.
I hope you have learned something by reading this as I certainly have by doing the research!
Let me know what ideas you have to add to the discussion……..