Reopening protocols have imposed strict rules including the use of disposable masks, gloves, aprons and plastic covers, to keep operators and clients safe.
Harsh chemical cleaners and sanitisers may also be harmful to the environment, exposing water, soil, and natural wildlife to toxic and corrosive ingredients that can poison food and water supplies as well as create unsafe living conditions for plants and animals.
Serious consideration to health can only be such if it includes the health of the entire human-society-animals-plants-environment system. Therefore, now more than ever we must be more conscious about how we are impacting our environment.
A perfect place to start would be our consumption habits. How do we get what we need in a way that best protects us from the risk of infection and at the same time safeguard the environment?
Let’s take personal protective gear (PPE), such as masks and gloves. A good and sustainable first approach could be choosing reusable or biodegradable items rather than buying disposable ones.
Options for cleaning include many general-use products offered in a variety of eco-friendly ways: refills, the use of green ingredients, shipping without plastic, or a mixture of those factors.
Better still, is the ability to save money without sacrificing health by tapping into nature’s bounty and what is already in our cupboards. Did you know that alcohol is a natural disinfectant, able to kill many of the harmful microorganisms in high-traffic, high-germ areas of your home (toilets, counters, sinks, etc.)? That half-empty bottle of 80% proof vodka when combined with herbs such as rosemary or the peel of lemon or lime actually creates a powerful infusion of an antimicrobial spray which inhibits bacteria growth.
With this in mind, we’d like to suggest you try this:
Rosemary and Citrus Disinfectant Spray
- Fill a jar with peels of 2-3 lemons/oranges/limes.
- Add three or four palms of rosemary (fresh or dried).
- Add 5 cups of vodka (120 proof or higher).
- Let it sit for at least 40 minutes to allow infusion. Ideally, 1-2 weeks to get the oil from the peels, turning the jar upside down every couple of days to mix.
- Pour mixture through a sieve into a 16 oz spray bottle.
- Shake well and put the spray nozzle on.
- To use, spray on surfaces and let sit for at least one minute (5 – 10 minutes recommended as ideal), before wiping with a paper towel.
Remember, a cleaner’s job is to remove dirt, a disinfectant’s job is to kill microorganisms. Therefore, the most effective way to clean and disinfect is to first clean using your multi-purpose cleaner, then disinfect with your disinfectant.
Rosemary, thyme, peppermint/mint, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes, cinnamon and clove are just a few of the most common ingredients widely available to all of us that can be repurposed for incredible benefit, in our sanitation and health defence.
Let us know how that spray works for you. In fact, why not try some combinations of your own and share those with us. Keep safe and healthy!
Disclaimer: The preceding is intended to offer practical approaches and assistance for daily living in an effort to help where possible, those of us who need and seek it. We speak to the individual, and hope the nuggets offered are found transferable to family, business, community and country. The information is not intended as a replacement for obtaining professional advice.