rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and Band-Aids

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These are all items that every household should have on hand. They have many uses.

Rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol) has been around since the 1920’s. Exxon Oil Company created it when they were looking for something they could use from gas by-products. Isopropanol became the first commercial synthetic alcohol. [1]

It has been used for many years as a surface disinfectant as well as treating small skin wounds. This works on a cellular level killing microbes by damaging the fatty molecules in their cell membranes, making them leaky. In addition, alcohol also disrupts the cell activity of proteins. Microbes fall apart.

The concentration should be 70% or more. When using alcohol to clean surfaces, allow the surface to air dry, don’t use a towel. Rubbing alcohol has a two year shelf life once opened when stored in a secure, dry container in a cool, well-ventilated area. It is highly flammable and must be kept away from heat and flames.[3] Plastic storage bottles will degrade faster than glass and will eventually leak.

Linda Loosli at Food Storage Moms lists additional uses for alcohol beyond disinfection. One of my favorites was using a mixture of 1 part rubbing alcohol and 5 parts water to wipe the outside of car windows to minimize the need for scraping ice. Did you know that a rubbing alcohol rinse will remove garlic/onion odors from your hands? [4]  Don’t drink rubbing alcohol, it can be deadly.

Hydrogen Peroxide is a germicidal agent composed of water and oxygen. It kills disease organisms by oxidation. It is the world’s safest all natural sanitizer. When it reacts with organic material (living matter) it acts as a controlled burn and breaks down into non-toxic oxygen and water. Standard hydrogen peroxide, a 3.5% solution can be purchased at your local pharmacy. Shelf life is up to three years unopened and about 6 months of useful activity once opened.[5] This is not recommended for internal use because of the stabilizers included. 6% hydrogen peroxide is used in beauty salons for hair coloring. A 35% food grade product is used in the production of cheese, eggs and whey containing products. This is the only grade recommended for internal use. If you purchase this grade be sure to follow instructions to dilute it before using internally. Don’t use chlorinated water to dilute peroxide. Then store the concentrated remains tightly sealed in your freezer.[7] Hydrogen peroxide has many uses in the home in addition to disinfecting surfaces including vegetable and sprouting seed soaks to kill bacteria and neutralize chemicals like insecticides. It can be mixed with baking soda to make a toothpaste, used diluted as a mouthwash, and as a teeth whitener.

Band-Aid is a brand name for pharmaceutical and medical devices company, Johnson & Johnson’s line of adhesive bandages. These adhesive bandages were invented for the wife of a J&J employee, who frequently cut or burned herself while cooking. They allowed her to dress her wounds without assistance.[7] These sterilized pads attached to tape are now available around the world in many sizes, shapes and decorations. Marketed by many pharmaceutical companies, adhesive bandages consists of an adhesive sheet made of coated paper, plastic or latex and an absorbent pad made of cotton with a thin, porous-polymer coating over it to minimize sticking to the wound. It may be medicated with an antiseptic solution.[8]


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