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There are many critical hygiene and cleaning supplies that are flying off the shelves. We are all trying to protect our families and prepare for the worst while hoping for the best. Emergency preparation can hit a snag when items are sold out. Never fear, you can make many of the cleaning items if it is not possible to buy in the store. Below are important DIY survival projects that can be made at home following recommendations from organizations including the CDC and WHO.

The majority of these items also cost much less than buying retail, especially right now with the price run ups that we hear about in the news. More importantly, this article steers clear of fringe ideas. We will stay grounded in science.

Specifically, the DIY survival projects that we will cover include soap, hand sanitizer and household disinfectant cleaners.

We will also review the time requirements for disinfecting. For example, Clorox states when using Clorox wipes, the surface needs to stay wet for 4 minutes. Read on for more important tips.

Pink cleaning bottle with caption Easy DIY Virus Projects Soaps, Hand Sanitizer, and Cleaning Products that you can make with kitchen cupboard items #pandemic #DIYSurvivalProjects #handsanitizer
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Supporting Basic Handwashing DIY Projects

Washing your hands takes us back to kindergarten. The teachers making sure we washed for 20 seconds by requiring the singing the alphabet song twice (or four times for the speed washers) before saying your hands were clean. Good handwashing technique includes:

  • Wetting hands,
  • 20 seconds of scrubbing hands front, back, and under nails
  • Rinsing, and
  • Drying.

The soap helps create the friction while lathering and scrubbing to life the microbes off the hands. There is no benefit of using antibacterial soap versus normal soap, according to the CDC.

The CDC pushes for handwashing based on the following statistics on its website:

  • Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 23-40%
  • Decreases diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%
  • Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%
  • Reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57%

1. Bar Soap

It is less about the type of soap and more about creating a lather and scrubbing opportunity on the hands.

If there is a run on basic soap at the stores, bar soap is easy enough to make. There are kits you can buy on-line or just follow one of these 25 homemade bar soap recipes.

Bar soap is much cheaper than liquid or foaming soap, but the mess on the counter can be annoying. How to stop the mess and loss? Put a scouring pad – you get 5 for $1 at the Dollar Tree – under the bar soap. It will keep the bar soap in place and stop it from sliding all over the place.

2. Liquid Soap

Many people prefer liquid soap. Did you know that you can make a gallon of liquid soap from just one standard bar of soap.

Try making liquid soap from bar soap. I have not tried this yet. If the stores run out of liquid soap (which some have), this diy is something to consider.

3. Foamy Soap

Liquid soap can be slick and fall quickly off your hands. Foamy soap is easier to see, especially when watching children wash their hands.

It is also recommended to turn off the water while scrubbing your hands; so that, there is real focus on scrubbing (and it saves water).

Bottles of foaming hand soap do not last long, especially with all the additional handwashing that is being recommended. The answer is to reuse your foaming hand soap dispenser and use the traditional liquid hand soap.

This is an extremely easy DIY project.

I wish I could remember where I originally found this money saving idea, so I could give proper credit. Since my memory is fleeting, Living Locurto has a simple visual tutorial. If you are not interested in long winded articles, the quick directions are as follows:

Simple Foaming Hand Soap Directions:

1. When your favorite foaming hand soap dispenser is empty, just fill about 20% of the container full of traditional liquid hand soap. You can adjust the quantity to your preference. This is an art more than a science.

2. Then, fill the dispenser full of water to about 80% full. Leaving about 10-20% of the headspace empty for the next step as foam will develop. Again, art and not science.

3. Put the foaming top back on and swirl the dispenser side to side to mix the soap and water. Don’t go crazy on the swirling or you will end up with a foamy mess in the container.

4. There is not a step four. Just wanted to make you aware that the first couple of pumps may not be great as you re-prime your dispenser pump. There are many recipes for hand soap and you can go crazy with fancy scents and dispensers.

Picture of bath towels and soap with caption How to Make DIY Projects based in science #emergencypreparation #DIYsurvivalprojects #homequaratine
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Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is cheap, which is why it is easier to just buy it in the store. However, if supply is tight, it can be made. Hand sanitizer is frequently one of the DIY survival projects that all Girl Scouts make at some point.

The World Health Organization (WHO) came out with its formula for hand sanitizer. It is basically a combination of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerin, and water. This is the formula that makes the most sense to follow.

The WHO formula is a little complicated to follow with all its technical jargon thrown into the publication.

Popular Science broke the WHO formula down into American English units of measure, terminology, and family friendly volumes for easier following.

There are many hand sanitizer formulas that can be found with a Google or Pinterest search. Most are not going to be effective.

Don’t risk it. Follow what the experts are recommending in this area.

Additionally if you are like me, I am re-checking the alcohol content on the generic hand sanitizers that are laying around the house.

The CDC recommends hand sanitizers have at least a 60% alcohol content.

DIY Cleaning Supplies

Even if you are buying your cleaning supplies retail, the cleaning supplies might not be effective against the coronavirus. The Environmental Protection Agency has published a list of approved antimicrobial products that will kill the coronavirus.

Not surprisingly, Clorox and Lysol products are a majority of the products listed by the EPA.

The important takeaway is many of the natural or less aggressive products don’t make the EPA list.

This really is a time for cleaning with bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol.

Disinfectant Cleaner – DIY

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends the EPA-registered cleaning supplies mentioned above, diluted household bleach solutions, and 70%+ alcohol solutions as acceptable disinfectant cleaners.

The bleach solution that the CDC recommends is 1/3 cup of household bleach to 1 gallon of water (4 teaspoons to a quarter of water). As far as DIY survival projects go, this is pretty simple to make if you cannot find the standard cleaners in the store.

Just remember bleach is a chemical so wear gloves, use in a ventilated area, and don’t mix it with ammonia.

Clorox gives guidance regarding disinfecting with bleach and mentions actually using 1/2 cup to 1 gallon of water.

More importantly, surface contact time with the disinfectant matters.

Contact Time Recommended by Clorox :

This is a good time to follow the directions!


It is disappointing that some stores lack the basic emergency preparation items that everyone needs during these difficult times. Fortunately, there are some easy and inexpensive DIY survival projects that can help fill in the gaps.

Remember with any homemade project where you want to clean or disinfect follow recognized standards. This is not the time to try fringe science.

If you need a budget conscious starter list of home quarantine stock up items, we have you covered with the article below on preparing for a home quarantine.

Stay Healthy and Safe, WhipperSnapper Finance

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