These common household items may help fight COVID-19

It might be a good time to stock up on some mouthwash and baby shampoo.

Slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus may be capable with a few items sitting in your bathroom. Nasal and oral rinses like mouthwash can deactivate SARS-CoV-2, the viruses that causes COVID-19, due to its ability to reduce the viral load, according to new research.

A study conducted by the Penn State College of Medicine tested various household items including a 1% solution of baby shampoo, a yeti pot, peroxide sore-mouth cleansers, and mouthwashes, to see whether these medicine cabinet staples can inactivate human coronaviruses.

The study, published in the Journal of Medical Virology, found that many of these products could help with the fight against the spread of COVID-19, specifically by reducing the amount of virus spreads from someone who has tested positive for the bug.

Penn St. professor Craig Meyers said that this is a positive first step in combatting the disease, as a potential second wave seems to be knocking on the door of the US.

“While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed,” Meyers, a researcher at Penn State Cancer Institute, said in a press release. “The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines.”

Meyers and his team were able to find that these products can effectively shutter virus particles in less than two minutes. They used solutions containing the human coronavirus and used various products to see how they interacted with the virus in three different timetables — 30 seconds, one minute, and two minutes. The solutions were diluted shortly after and then placed in contact with human cells of the mouth and nose, which was when mouthwash or oral rinse were tested to see how they combat the virus.

It’s important to note that the mouth and nose is where the coronavirus often penetrates. Droplets of the virus also come from the area, which is why health officials advise mask-wearing and for people to keep a six-foot distance between each other.

The study found that when 1% baby shampoo solution was applied, it inactivated “greater than 99.9% of human coronavirus after a two-minute contact time,” according to the press release. For mouthwashes, it was even sooner — it inactivated greater than 99.9% of virus after 30 seconds of contact time.

“People who test positive for COVID-19 and return home to quarantine may possibly transmit the virus to those they live with,” said Meyers. “Certain professions including dentists and other health care workers are at a constant risk of exposure. Clinical trials are needed to determine if these products can reduce the amount of virus COVID-positive patients or those with high-risk occupations may spread while talking, coughing or sneezing. Even if the use of these solutions could reduce transmission by 50%, it would have a major impact.”