Going to the grocery, even when it’s just to your neighborhood minimart, during a pandemic understandably feels like going out on a supply run during a zombie apocalypse. You have to be properly outfitted, you need to be ready for any eventuality, you’ll feel like you’re going to get infected the minute you step out.
We’ve scoured mommy blogs, the deep underbelly of the deceptively cheerful Pinterest, home tips from domestic divas, to bring you proven hacks to help you extend (and double) the efficiency of common household items. Keep these notes in handy as we navigate the new normal.
1. Olive oil
Not just for your kitchen, but for your skincare kit. The many uses of pure olive oil include moisturizer, makeup remover, lip balm, and shaving cream. No time to hit a beauty store this time? Dr. Kaycee Reyes of Luminisce says, “Olive oil has minor compounds, like secoiridoids, which can act in cells. It is relevant to the aging process. Olive oil has antioxidant capabilities.”
2. Baking soda
Baking soda, aka sodium bicarbonate, is one of, if not, theheaviest pinch hitters in your pantry. Not just an all-around ingredient, it can be used to clean your drains, your ovens, your fruits, and dish soap.
• For cleaning drains, combine equal parts baking soda and vinegar, pour down drain, let sit for 10 minutes, then flush with hot water.
• For vegetable and fruit wash, soak veggies and fruits in baking soda wash made of one teaspoon baking soda and two cups water. Soak as many as 15 items.
• For dishwashing liquid, dissolve two to three tablespoons of baking soda in two cups of warm water, and use solution to handwash plates. Baking soda does a lot of wonder eliminating grease.
• Baking soda as a deodorant? Mix (don’t dissolve) 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda in a little bit of water, and rub on your pits.
• Need a mouthwash? Baking soda helps freshen your breath and provides antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Add half a teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of warm water, and then swish as usual.
• Suffering from heartburn? Sodium bicarbonate is a natural antacid. Just dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda into eight ounces of water and drink it, and it can neutralize stomach acid and temporarily alleviate heartburn caused by acid reflux.
• Add half a cup of baking soda to your regular amount of laundry detergent. It also helps soften the water, which means you may need less detergent than usual.
• In fact, scientists found that spreading baking soda at the bottom of waste bins can help neutralize garbage odor by 70 percent.
Working from home means you’re using your computer a lot. Here’s a tip: Always clean your workstation with vinegar. Vinegar gets a bad rep for its smell, but it’s one of the better disinfectants. Mix equal parts vinegar and water, and dampen a cotton swab in the solution and use it to disinfect your keyboards, computer, and mouse. Use a washcloth to wipe kitchen boards and other items. Smell may be unpleasant, but it usually disintegrates within an hour.
4. Loofah scrubs
Everyone’s extra paranoid these days about the produce from the “outside,” so we suggest using your loofah scrub to gently scrub the surface of your vegetables and fruits to rinse away bacteria and other contaminants. If you have an unused one, great, but if you’re using an old one, make sure they’ve been cleaned or disinfected before you start washing.
Yup, you read this right. Tampons are not just for periods—they’re good for wounds that are bigger than a normal Band-Aid would cover. They are sterile, waterproof packaged, and super absorbent, which means they would be perfect for puncture wounds to help stop bleeding, or taped over big wounds to help keep dirt out.
Vodka is not just a disinfectant, it’s an anaesthetic. So if it’s too dangerous or ill timed for you to go to drugstores but you have vodka in the house, it’s perfect to treat open blisters and other wounds. If you don’t have medical gloves, you can even wash your hands with vodka before you perform anything on somebody who’s bleeding.
7. Duct tape
You probably won’t include duct tape in your arsenal of first aid items, but in a world without a proper antiseptic, gauze, or bandage, and you are super pressed for time, duct tape can do the job. Aside from using it to tape a tampon over a wound, for example, it can also be used in cases of broken limbs. First, avoid moving the limb. Create a splint to immobilize the bone or joint. You can do this by getting two straight sticks either side of the arm or leg. Then wrap around the limb with the duct tape to create a secure splint.
8. Dental floss
In a really bad situation, dental floss can be used instead of sutures—but only if you know what you’re doing. Dental floss is strong and sterile so it’s good as an alternative to normal sutures. Some have been able to create tourniquets to stem blood flow. The floss may cut the skin, but in times of last-ditch emergency, dental floss has been known to work.
9. Household appliances
A sudden power outage may cause all the food you have oh-so-carefully stored to go bad. A solution: Turn you washing machine into a freezer. Put ice in the freeze andtransfer all the items that need cooling. A washing machine can keep your food cold, and it will also drain water as it melts. A dishwasher, if you have one, can also be used as a vault. It is waterproof, safe, and secure—so you can transfer necessary items there in case of natural disasters during a pandemic.
You forgot to buy a candle and now it’s there’s a blackout? Get your kids’ crayons, light the pointy part, let it melt into a disposable surface like a paper plate. Once the fire reaches the paper on the crayon, stick the crayon in its wax on the paper plate. One crayon should remain lit for a couple of hours.