And is vinegar a disinfectant?
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Is it advisable for people to wear disposable gloves when food shopping, or is that over reacting? Thanks.
You're not overreacting. While there's no evidence that people have contracted the virus from food, or from food packaging, many experts suggest wearing disposable gloves for (any kind of) shopping.
This is out of an abundance of caution, since research has shown that infective virus particles may persist on hard surfaces for several days. Please remember: there's still so much we don't know about this new virus, how and who it infects, how long the pandemic will last, and just which kinds of precautions best work to keep us safe from infection.
When you return to your car after shopping, remove the gloves carefully and place them in a trash bag before driving home. When you get home, put on a fresh pair to remove items from your grocery bags. Wipe down items stored in hard plastic, glass, or metal (butter and yogurt tubs, glass jars, containers of nuts, etc) with a freshly made 10% household bleach solution, and let them dry before tucking them away in your fridge (or otherwise storing them). Then wash your hands and disinfect any surfaces where you set down your newly purchased food.
Some people separate non-perishable items like coffee, canned foods, and boxed foods in a cardboard box and leave them in the garage or on the porch for a few days before storing in their cupboards. If you have the space, that seems like a good idea.
For all my disinfection purposes, I've cut up a few absorbent cotton rags, placed them into a gallon zip-lock bag, and poured fresh bleach solution (after squeezing out the older liquid) into the bag to saturate the rags each time I need to disinfect surfaces or items. (Note: I've already produced a few tied-dyed shirts & pants using this method. But hey, it's cheap and it works!)
If you can't find a box of disposable gloves, look for chemical-resistant nitrile gloves, available from many agricultural and industrial suppliers. Don't get the ones with fabric backs; make sure the nitrile coating covers the entire hand and fingers. Many of these are sturdy enough to scrub and reuse. Lather thoroughly with soap while wearing them, and scrub under running water as you would your hands.
Thank you for this practical advice. I like how it's framed. After all, it *is* Spring cleaning time, when some deeper-than-usual cleaning would be warranted anyway; hand washing is always the best defense; and positive self-talk and staying in touch with loved ones is always good for the immune system. :)