Disinfecting and Sanitizing Tips from AFN Community Health Nurse

Disinfecting and Sanitizing


Currently there is a shortage on ready-made disinfectants, household cleaners, and hand sanitizer in stores, and you may find you’re starting to run out of products at home. Below is some information on continuing to keep safe with limited amounts of ready-made products

Hand Sanitizer

When thinking hand hygiene, best practice is to wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds whenever possible. This means save your 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizers (approved by Health Canada; a full list can be found using the link below) for when hand washing isn’t available, such as in your car after grocery shopping or getting gas. The more you are able to stay home, the less hand sanitizer you will need. Supervise young children when preforming hand hygiene, to make sure they are using proper technique, as well as not using too much product or ingesting products.

Health Canada has issued a notice not to use any homemade hand sanitizers; including those made with alcohol, witch hazel, or essential oils. Even from trustworthy sites, such as the recipe on the WHO website, which is meant for licensed producers manufacturing in a controlled environment.

Household Cleaning

While many products such as Lysol, Clorox, or other disinfecting products may be harder to come by, bleach is a fairly inexpensive, and a readily available product and can easily be mixed to use for daily disinfecting. Wear gloves to protect skin when handling cleaning products, and open doors and windows, to allow fresh air in. Always follow the label of ready-made products you are using, or mix a new batch of bleach solution every day. Wash surfaces with hot soapy water, and follow with disinfecting product or bleach solution on high traffic areas such as:

  • door knobs
  • toilets
  • light switches
  • railings
  • tabletops
  • sinks and faucet

 When cleaning hand held electronics such as phones, tablets, and gaming devices, consider using a protective cover that is easily wiped. Follow manufacturers instruction for cleaning and disinfecting. If no instructions are available, use 70% alcohol or wipes, and dry surface well.

These products are ONLY meant to be used to clean household surfaces, never use on skin or internally, as it can cause serious harm.

Taken from Health Canada Website:
Use bleach in a well-ventilated area and never mix with other chemical products.
To prepare diluted bleach for a solution to disinfect high-touch hard surfaces, do so according to instructions on the label or in a ratio* of:

  • 250 mL (1 cup) of water per 5 mL (1 teaspoon) unscented household bleach, or
  • 1 litre of water (4 cups) per 20 mL (4 teaspoons) unscented household bleach

* assuming bleach is 5 % sodium hypochlorite, to give a 0.1 % sodium hypochlorite solution


Nova Scotia government:
Health Canada:
Recall Homemade Hand Sanitizer:
Approved Hand Sanitizer List: