Cleanliness has always been a basic tool in protecting people from germs and viruses. But amidst any pandemic, cleanliness becomes a must. The WHO, DOH, and health agencies across the globe continuously remind us to practice proper hygiene and cleanliness. As parents, it is our responsibility to heed their guide to protect our family from the virus and help prevent its spread. However, given the effect of the pandemic to the manufacturing sector and environment, we should also be prudent in utilizing resources for cleanliness.
Water is obviously essential for cleaning and disinfecting activities. This is why households have experienced an increase in water consumption while on quarantine. In our case the increase was due to more frequent washing as we disinfect and wash anything brought from outside the house. I am thankful that we already have regular water supply and no longer have water interruptions like we have experienced in the past. Thus, I am teaching my kids to use water responsibly even if there is no shortage.
Here are some of our practices on cleaning while saving water:
On proper hand washing. According to health agencies like CDC, proper hand washing takes at least 40 seconds. 20 seconds of which are spent on scrubbing hands, back of the hands, and in between the fingers. I always remind the kids to turn off the tap while scrubbing with soap so we won’t waste any water.
On washing fresh produce. Health experts recommend the washing of fresh produce bought from groceries or supermarket under running water before storing it in the ref. I make sure that all our fruits and veggies are washed in running water. If you want to save on water, you can put a small basin to catch the running water from washing fresh produce. You can use the water you “saved” for watering the plants or washing outdoor surfaces.
On washing clothes worn outside the house. Before the pandemic, I do the laundry on a schedule to maximize load on the washing machine and decrease frequency of laundry. For me it’s the most efficient use of my time and resources. However, with Covid 19, we now have to immediately wash or disinfect clothes worn outside. It’s a good thing that my kids and I can just stay at home so we don’t have to disinfect clothes often.
Alcohol, hand sanitizers and disinfectants are also resources in demand in this pandemic. Although there is no longer a problem on the supply end, consumers should still be prudent in using these items. Health officials advise the use of alcohol and hand sanitizers when going to public places. It should be applied on hands before and after touching anything because the virus may also be present in surfaces. Just like in hand washing, you need to rub alcohol and sanitizer all over the hands and in between fingers for 20 seconds. To minimize use of alcohol avoid touching surfaces unless necessary.
Some people opt to use disinfecting wipes for items that are bought from outside particularly grocery items. But there are also options that wouldn’t necessitate disinfecting wipes for grocery items. One suggestion is to leave groceries outside the house for 72 hours to let the virus die. Another is to discard packaging of boxes as it is the only possible surface that can be contaminated. In my case, I minimize the use of wipes because I know that they will also end up as environmental waste. Your best protection is still proper hand washing before and after touching items.
In protecting our homes against the viruses, we should also remember that the health of the environment is also at risk in a pandemic. Aside from increased use of water, there is also the increased use of disposables like face masks and PPEs to be concerned about. Thus, it is important that we include the economic and responsible use of resources in teaching kids about cleanliness and hygiene. Let’s clean and save together in a responsible manner.