Category Archives: Sanitation

infection control, waste disposal, cleaning

FLU again

Flu again…..

The FLU is back in the news again. It is SO bad this year, the flu is the worst EVER… and for those who get it, it IS no fun at all and for those who die from it and their families the statistics are of no concern because stats NEVER are of interest to that group and rightly so. When young or very old die it does sound bad when 5 or 20 die and the news hypes it is on everyone’s mind. For the rest of us shall we look at some of the real statistics.

Depending on how you count in a NORMAL year the average number of deaths due to the flu runs about 30,000 people in these US of A.. Some want to split hairs and say it was pneumonia which often starts as the flu. [IF you have other stats go with those if you want] The important part is the mechanism that causes many of those deaths.

Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea is the basic causal agent. Then you get run down and other bugs attack you. If you don’t feel good you wont drink enough water and other fluids and you wont eat properly to keep up your strength. Some people swear by the flu vaccine…. others swear AT the flu vaccine and those who administer it. Some stats that I have seen are that the flu shot is only 10 – 25 % effective. [beats me if that is correct AND if it works for you or it does not the stats do not really matter – see above]

Obviously this article as with everything else you read here is to spark discussion between you and those who you have a professional relationship with.

Sanitation and proper hand washing is the major prevention issue.

Most Americans do not drink enough water and fluids in general. What we have found to work well for us follows.
Re-Hydration drink

This is about the best all-around recipe for Re-Hydration drink—- this replaces Pedilyte and Gatorade / sports drinks, a lot cheaper too.
Mix as follows and you can pre-mix into unit dose packets for use while you are on the move.
In a 1 L container mix the following
1/2 teaspoon salt substitute �KCl aka �NU-salt�
1 pinch Epson salt MaSo4
2 tablespoon sugar [omit to use in Jell-O or instant potatoes]
Kool-aid to taste    [omit to use in Jell-O or instant potatoes]
Chill and serve —
BTW, Kool-aid comes in a colorless version too for when the person is vomiting. .
It is always better to prevent de-hydration by drinking water. How much should you drink a day? It is NOT the oft repeated 8, 8 ounce glasses.  For the basic amount take your weight in pounds and divide by 2 = the number of ounces you should drink a day. This amount assumes that you are sitting at a desk. The best way to know that you are drinking enough is to check your urine. Normal healthy urine is clear to straw color with no odor. In babies we like to see 8-12 wet diapers a day. Most adults should do the same � ahhh EXCEPT hopefully without diapers.
Are there other recipes? Yup, just like IVs you can mix this to replace electrolytes that lab work shows are missing.

Baking Soda for medical uses

Baking Soda for medical uses

Using Baking Soda along with Arrowroot Powder and essential oils is a great combination to
protecting feet from microbial infections and bad odor. Research shows that this combination inhibits the yeast, fungal and bacterial growth on the feet.

Drinking a solution of Baking Soda and water (1-2 teaspoons in an 8 ounce glass of water) has antacid properties and will relieve heartburn and indigestion. Baking Soda reduces the acid content in blood and urine because of its alkaline properties.

If you do nasal washes combine Baking Soda, salt and lukewarm water to clean the mucus from the nose. Can be done safely 2 to 3 times a day.

For the teeth Baking Soda removes plaque from and in between teeth, removes bacteria from the mouth and can whiten teeth. For plaque, wet toothbrush and sprinkle Baking Soda onto the toothbrush and brush normally. For bacteria, mix 1 teaspoon Baking Soda, 1 teaspoon salt to 4 ounces of water and gargle with this every morning. For whitening teeth crush 1 ripe strawberry and mix in with ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Spread the mixture onto your teeth and leave on for five minutes. When brush your teeth and rinse. Do not use more than once a week, excessive use could damage tooth enamel.

Baking Soda can help decrease kidney stone formation and remove the material that causes the stones.

Baking Soda can help prevent bladder infections by making the bladder less acidic for the bacteria to grow in.

In the hospital they use an IV solution that contains sodium bicarbonate to treat metabolic acidosis, peptic ulcer and drug intoxications.

Side Effects:

You can overdose on Baking Soda and that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness and spasms. Care must be taken while consuming products that contain Baking Soda.

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Baking Soda to Clean

Use Baking Soda to Clean
Sprinkle onto barbecue grills then rinse off

Sprinkle it on your greasy garage floor, scrub the floor and rinse

Place 4 tablespoons down your drain each week, then flush it down with hot water

To clean drain when blocked place 1 teaspoon down the drain then add 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to the drain, let it bubble for 15 minutes then rinse with hot water. This is much safer than drain cleaner.

Sprinkle onto a small brush and rub canvas handbags clean

Sprinkle onto wet toothbrush and brush teeth

Place 1 teaspoon on a wet wash cloth and wash your face with it, will also dry your skin so
add lotion if your skin is already dry

Add 1 cup to the toilet, leave it for an hour, and then flush, will clean and absorb odors

Place 1 teaspoon onto wet sponge or rag then wash down sinks, showers, counter-tops and tubs

Place 1 tablespoon into greasy pot/pan or burnt on food along with small amount of water to
make a paste let stand for 1 hour then wash will help remove grease and burnt on food

Place a handful into your washer while adding detergent, will boost cleaning power

Make a paste with water to polish stainless steel and chrome

Make a paste to remove scratches and crayon marks from vinyl floors and walls

Make a paste with water to scrub out a refrigerator, ice chest, ash trays and garbage cans to
clean and get odors out

Make a paste with water and brush dentures and retainers to clean and remove odors

Place 1 cup in your bath tub full of warm water put shower curtain, combs and brushes
into the tub, let stand for 1 hour then with a rag or scrub brush finish cleaning off and rinse

Place 1 teaspoon in coffee maker and run through the cycle, run another cycle with water to

Make a paste with warm water and put on burnt on food in oven, leave on for 1 hour, then
wash with a rag and rinse

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Homemade Household Cleaners

Homemade Household Cleaners

Have you bought household cleaners lately? How did you like paying the prices? Did you look at how many and what types of chemicals are included in them?

How would you like to decrease the amount you are spending on cleaning supplies and use fewer chemicals around your home? After research and testing below are some recipes for different cleaners.

Purchase 4 new spray bottles, a container of bleach, vinegar, olive oil, lemon juice, ammonia, baking soda, a microfiber towel and a permanent marker if you don’t already have any of these. The spray bottles, bleach, vinegar, ammonia, baking soda and microfiber towel can be purchased at Dollar Tree for $1 each. (Keep bleach separate from ammonia-this can cause a chemical reaction that can cause toxic gas – often fatal.) (Keep bleach separate from vinegar-this can cause a reaction but not as bad as ammonia.)(Always use kitchen gloves when using bleach, ammonia or vinegar.)

1. In 1 of the spray bottles just pour in water and mark it “Water” with the permanent marker.
2. In the second bottle put 1 teaspoon of bleach and fill the rest of the bottle up with water. Mark it “Bleach Water” with the permanent marker.
3. In the third bottle pour in 1 cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water. Mark this one “Vinegar Water” with the permanent marker.
4. In the fourth bottle put ½ cup lemon juice and 1 cup of olive oil and shake up. Mark this bottle “Furniture Polish” with a permanent marker.

For your mirrors and glass use your microfiber towel and the “Water” spray bottle to clean the mirrors. Just spray the mirror and wipe with the microfiber towel. That is it, no chemicals and no trash!

Use “Bleach Water” or “Vinegar Water” on all other hard surfaces. Vinegar disinfects and bleach sanitizes. If the bathtub needs more work turn on shower until it gets hot and get walls and bottom of tub wet then turn off the water. Sprinkle baking soda on the sides and bottom of the tub, you can also do walls if they are really dirty. Let stand for 30 minutes. Go back and scrub (should not have to scrub long) then rinse. The bathtub will be clean and bright. When you mop the bathroom, get the mop wet and spray either “Bleach Water” or “Vinegar Water” onto the floor and mop as usual. Also for the kitchen and bathroom sink you can treat just like the bathtub if they are really dirty or have black marks from pans.

For hardwood floors, I like to use the “Vinegar Water” the best and just mop as usual. And the “Furniture Polish” works great and will cut any sticky residue on furniture and smells nice with the lemon juice.

I found a few different recipes for how to clean the oven and below are the best 2:
1. Spray water on the sides and bottom of the oven and sprinkle baking soda on it. Let sit overnight. The next day wet a sponge with warm water and drizzle dish soap on it. Wash out the oven and rinse.
2. Heat the oven to 200 degrees and turn off. Fill a baking pan with 2 cups of ammonia. Place onto central rack. Fill a second pan with 2 cups of boiling water and place on the rack below the first. Let this sit overnight. The next day remove the pans, use a warm wet sponge covered with baking soda and wash down.

Using these things will help you save a bit of money and keep you from having to store all kinds of different household cleaners. Also it keeps you from having more and more chemicals in your home.

haircare homemade

Homemade shampoo, conditioner and deep conditioner

There are many things that you use at home that you can make yourself for a lot less. This time lets discuss making your own homemade shampoo, conditioner, two-in-one, deep conditioner and even color rinses.

The basics of homemade shampoo are:

Choose one of the below soda or soap and use 1 cup of-
liquid castile soap or other liquid soap
or baking soda (will not lather up but will get hair clean)
or shred bar soap into water

Choose one of the below 1 cup of-
green tea brewed for 30 minutes
or a herbal infusion of 1 handful of fresh herbs or 1 tablespoon of dried herbs in 1 cup of boiling water
for dark hair: sage leaves
for greasy hair: yarrow, lemongrass, strawberry leaf or white willow bark
for fair hair: marigold flowers
for dandruff: a mixture of nettle leaves and burdock roots
to promote growth: sage, basil or rosemary
for dry hair: orange blossoms or comfrey root

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil (if your hair is naturally oily decrease to ½ or omit)

If you use a lot of styling products you can remove the residue by rinsing with a 50-50 mix of water and white distilled vinegar before using the baking soda mixture.

Combine all ingredients into an old shampoo bottle that has been rinsed out well. Shake before each use.

To make homemade conditioner:

Combine 2 1/5 cups of hot water
½ cup apple cider vinegar
1 bag of your favorite herbal tea, for fragrance

Place the water into a container, like an old conditioner bottle that has been washed. Then put in the vinegar and the herbal tea and let sit for 30 minutes. Shake the bottle prior to using each time. Use about ½ to ¾ cup of rinse each time you condition.

If you like the shampoo and conditioner combination then use directions below:

Place 1 fresh peeled lemon and one peeled cucumber into your blender.
Massage all into your hair and rinse thoroughly.

The lemon is a cleansing agent and the cucumber is a conditioning agent.

For a deep conditioning treatment use directions below:

Mix 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil together and microwave until it melts (no more than 20 seconds)

Comb through your wet hair first. Then completely coat your hair with the solution and wrap it up in a very warm towel for 30 to 45 minutes. After the time is up then rinse out.

The following are natural rinses you can use to color or highlight your hair. These rinses create gradual changes in your hair when used over a period of time. After shampooing, try one of these.

Chamomile: This will lighten fair hair. To make a rinse, pour 2 cups boiling water over ¼ cup chamomile flowers. Cool; strain before using.
Rhubarb: This also will lighten hair. Use ¼ cup chopped, fresh rhubarb to 2 cups boiling water. Cool; strain before using.
Sage, lavender and cinnamon: These will darken hair. Use ¼ cup sage or lavender (or 3 cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces) to 2 cups boiling water. Cool; strain before using.
Hibiscus flowers: These will give red highlights to light or dark hair. Use dry flowers or herbal tea containing hibiscus flowers. Steep the flowers in boiling water to the shade you desire. Cool; strain before using.

Give your hair a break from all the chemicals. Give some of these a try. Work with the recipe
And your hair, you may need to make changes. When you find which you like add the ingredients to your storage.

soap follow up

This is a follow up on the Homemade Laundry Detergent Blog. I found some more information from our daughter, friends who have done this before and the internet.

How to make washing soda from Baking Soda-
Pour baking soda onto cookie sheet with no oil
Place into 400 degree preheated oven
Bake for 45 to 60 minutes
Washing soda will look dull and be a finer grade of granules
Baking Soda cost $2.24 for 4 lbs and Washing Soda is $3.24 so Baking Soda is cheaper (These prices are from Wal mart)
-if you cook the baking soda at the same time as you are cooking a cake, roast or potatoes you will save the cost of cooking it – in other words you will kill two birds with one stone.

For the bar soap to use, you can use any soap you want to but the suggestions were to keep away from the heavy scented soaps. Ivory soap, Castile or if you have soap allergies use the bar or liquid soap that works with your skin.

In my research there was one recipe that called to use 2 TBS of Glycerin in the 5 gallons of liquid detergent. Glycerin would cause the detergent to be a more smooth consistency instead of gloppy gel and would also act as a natural fabric softener.

Other recipes call for adding even more water to the solution, so experiment with using this with your water (if you have hard water or if you have a water softener) and the dirtiness of your laundry.

This is good detergent to use for babies because it is not full of chemicals next to their delicate skin.
It also does not cause high suds.

To make homemade powdered soap-
Finely grate your bar soap
1 cup of washing soda
1 cup of borax

After mixing all ingredients only use 2 tablespoons in a full load HE front load washer. Again experiment with your water and dirty clothes to fine tune the amount to use. So, after you make sure that this works for your skin and clothes, then you can make up more and store away to use at a later date or at least store the ingredients to add to your storage. This will make a big difference in the amount of money you will have to use to put away a years’ worth.

For fabric softener, most of the information I found was that you just use ¼ cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle of the HE front loader washing machine with essential oil. If you do not like the smell of vinegar then add your drops of essential oil to the rinse cycle instead of the wash cycle. Basically you can add the essential oil at any stage of the wash or drying. I like it better and it seems to work better to add the essential oil to the dryer.

To make dryer sheets you can use 5” squares of 100% cotton material, that can be from used clothing or you could crochet 5” squares of cotton yarn. Place essential oil onto the material and throw into the dryer. You can use this same square and placing the essential oil onto it each time used for at least 5 loads of clothes, then wash the square. The square can then be used for another 5 loads until you rewash it again. Both the material and the essential oils can be stored away for a later date to use. The key to maintaining oils is to store it air tight.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Homemade Liquid Laundry Detergent

Well, while our daughter was gone on vacation this summer I made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent. I have been meaning to make it for years but never got around to doing it. Our daughter has been making her laundry detergent for the last couple of years. It was much easier to do than I thought it would be and is so much cheaper. She said it only cost about $2 to make a 5 gallon bucket full and only using ½ cup for each load, will last quite a while. To get all of the ingredients it is almost $7 but compared to ready made laundry detergent is much cheaper. She gets all of the ingredients at Wal-Mart. She said if a load is really dirty she will add oxi-clean which she gets at the Dollar Tree for a dollar and will last for a while depending on how dirty your children get their clothes. The ingredients for the laundry detergent are below:

1 five gallon bucket, these you can get at paint stores or Wal-Mart or Home Depot
1 bar of soap-you can use Fels Naphtha or Zote which are only 97 cents
1 cup of Washing Soda, use washing soda not Baking Soda they are different about $3
1 cup of Borax, which usually goes by “20 Mule Borax” about $3

Other items needed are a cheese grater, a long handled stirring spoon, a pot that will hold at least 4 cups of water and a measuring cup. If you would like to add a different scent to the soap you can use essential oils, however, I prefer the scent of the ZOTE bar soap to Fels Naphtha. Whatever the color of the soap is will be the color of the detergent.

Use the cheese grater to grate the bar of soap and put it in 4 cups of water and put on medium high heat so that the soap dissolves in the water, do not boil. Pour this into the bucket and add 1 cup of Washing Soda and 1 cup of Borax to the mixture and stir until all is dissolved. If you want to add a different scent, now is the time to add that. Fill the bucket half way and stir. Place the half full bucket at the point where you will be using it and stir. Then add water until filled up to about an inch below the top of the bucket. You will still need to stir the detergent so don’t overfill. Place the top on the bucket and let stand for 24 hours. The detergent will look like a gloppy gel, and that is how it is supposed to look. You can leave it in the bucket or put in smaller containers whichever is more convenient for you. If you don’t like the gloppy gel you can pour some out and use a blender to make it more even looking that will be just your preference. It does not affect the way it works one way or the other.

For a front loader HE washing machine use ½ cup for a large load – you will get about 160 loads out of the 5 gallons-, if you use a top loading washer you can use up to 1 cup – about 80 loads out of the 5 gallons- for each large load. And adjust as needed. Most commercial laundry products tell you to use too much soap per load so that you use more and have to buy more.

If you have any questions or concerns or have a different way that you make your laundry detergent, please share your comments. we would love to hear your comments.



Water is the single most important item to plan for in your 72- hour Kit. Allow a minimum of 3 Liters (preferably one full gallon), per person per day. This is absolutely essential. The body can live without food for extended periods of time, up to 2.5 months [BOBBY SANDS of the IRA early 1970s]; but can live only about three or four days without water. This is at rest, not considering people in active, stressful or emergency situations.

Be sure that all family members know how/where to find safe water and how to purify it.

Carry your water inside your backpack (or other container) or strapped to the outside. Use canteens; empty one or two liter Coke bottles work great too.

NEVER use milk jugs because they are designed to self-destruct. Be sure that all water containers are clean and free of defects. Check them from time to time, at least every six months, to insure that they have not developed any leaks and to verify that the water is still usable. You should consider having six two liter Coke bottles per person. That will give you three days supply. If you don’t have adequate water, DON’T eat as this will de-hydrate you even faster. Remember that the BEST way to store and carry water is inside of you. NEVER ration drinking water!

In addition to the water you actually carry with you, be sure to carry supplies to purify more water. Liquid chlorine bleach, iodine tablets and iodine crystals are good disinfecting agents. Learn how to use them and rotate them properly to insure maximum shelf life (See chapter on Water Storage and purification for further details). Nevertheless, be sure to include in your kit any one of the above-mentioned items to disinfect water because in times of emergency you may not be able to build a fire or have access to other heat sources to boil water.

Ebola 2

Ebola 2

Years ago, back in the 1980s and early 90s I worked with ‘high risk’ HIV patients. How the general public is responding to Ebola reminds me a lot of the attitudes back then, except this time around there is not the stigma of it being a homosexual [only] disease as was believed back then. Some of my friends worked in public health at the time. One of them who I will call Rob was a minister by training and was working as a paper pusher compiling statistics and writing reports except on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. On Monday, Wednesday and Fridays the nurses in the clinic drew all the blood and collected other samples for syphilis and gonorrhea screenings and they were not concerned for their own safety beyond ‘universal’ precautions. However the blood draws for HIV screening were done Tuesday and Thursday mornings NONE of the nursing staff would do those blood draws due to fear of catching the HIV bug. Rob had to do all the HIV blood draws because of this. Rob and I discussed all this often and we would both laugh – AT those nurses – because it was the same patient group who had been in the day before for the syphilis blood draw. It would have been easier on the patients [and the nursing staff] if all the blood was collected at the same time.

The short of the story is that there is a lot of fear over some things that as long as you take reasonable precautions and pay attention to details you will remain very safe even when dealing with deadly diseases such as HIV and Ebola. That is as long as whatever ‘bugs’ of the day have not been tampered with and weaponized. If they have been, well all bets are off.

Basically if you treat everyone as if they have everything –germ wise- and take those Universal Precautions AND use your head, you should be reasonably safe. or



Its very name strikes FEAR into the hearts of men!

And it SHOULD….. 90% fatal if untreated and only 60% fatal with treatment. This last week Ebola has been in the news with a death count of over 800 so far, I bet that it is actually higher. Then over the weekend one of two healthcare workers contracted it and one of them has already been flown here to the US. According to the news people our public opinion was strongly against allowing the importation of the 2 healthcare workers to one of our best CDC hospitals. Rightly so…. Perhaps. Consider this on the other hand, thi8s may well be the first time someone with the disease has come here BUT it is not the first time that the infective agent has been brought into our country. Both the CDC and our military bio warfare facilities have active samples that they have been experimenting with and in some cases turning into a weapon. How do you think that CDC has serum to use to treat the 2 healthcare workers?

As a practical matter our government is going to do whatever they jolly well want to do and we the people can not really stop them. At least so far the Ebola bug is not truly all that contagious. YET.

So what do we the general public do in case the bug starts spreading here in the US? Same thing as we can do for most anything. Stay away from sick people unless you are their care giver. Beware of others body fluids. Wash your hands with plain soap and water and a lot of it. That alcohol gel stuff is not all that it is cracked up to be and the antibacterial soap isn’t all that good either. If the sick person is coughing or sneezing have them wear a mask to protect everyone else – you can wear one too if it makes you feel better. Ideally a glass walled sick room [or a green house] so that a lot of direct sun light can get to most sides of the treatment area and patient so that the UV light can help disinfect the area and the air. The more filtered air flow that you can provide the better. – is possible the air should be filtered entering and leaving the sick bay area. Limit the exposure to sick folks.

Keep the patient clean, dry, well hydrated and nourished. Keep your local environment clean and well ventilated.

You may consider making quarantine signs a head of time to warn others that you have sick folks in your house.

Some things to consider stocking include;
Chlorine bleach to disinfect things
Medical gloves of whatever fits most of your people
N 95 masks – these really should be fitted to you but most folks wont do that
A large supply of linens, towels and wash clothes
Safety goggles or face shields
Soap [bar, dish and laundry]
Wash basins
Outdoor drying lines so that the sunlight can get to the laundry

What else can you think of along with this?