It never fails: At back-to-school time, your kids are suddenly surrounded by dozens of other kids, and the next thing you know, your home has been invaded by every sniffle, sore throat, and cough that’s going around.
We know that all it takes to pick up cold viruses is to touch a germ-laden surface or touch an infected person and then touch your nose or mouth. But how long do those disease-spreading organisms lie in wait for you? There’s no way of knowing for sure. Studies have shown that, depending upon the particular strain, cold viruses can survive on surfaces for anywhere form a few minutes to 24 hours. But these two factors also play a role in how long germs remain in attack mode:
The nature of the “dumping ground.” In general, germs stay active longer on hard materials such as plastic, metal, and ceramic tile than they do on clothing, upholstery, and other soft surfaces.
Environmental conditions. The higher the temperature and humidity are, the sooner the viruses’ firepower will fade away.
This highly portable DIY hand cleaner will demolish flu and cold viruses on contact — with none of the potentially dangerous chemicals found in most commercial brands.
¾ cup of rubbing alcohol (at least 91% strength)
⅜ cup of pure aloe vera gel
5 drops of cinnamon oil*
5 drops of sweet orange oil*
Pour all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor, and run it on high for a minute or two. (Don’t worry: A thorough washing will remove all traces of alcohol and aloe.) Transfer the mixture to small spray or pump-top bottles, and carry them with you to use as you would any other hand sanitizer. The blend will keep at room temperature for at least six month.
*Or substitute 5 drops of one or a combination of your favorite oils. Lavender, lemon, peppermint, rosemary, and tea tree are all excellent germ-fighting choices. All the oils are available in health-food stores, herbal-supply stores, and online.