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Worried about the virus coming home?

Last updated on: June 15, 2020 10:11 IST

Wonder how you sanitise your groceries and deliveries and keep yourself and your family safe from the coronavirus?

*IMAGE: The best way of washing fruits and vegetables is to soak them in tap water for about half an hour to an hour and then rinse them under running tap water. Photograph: Kind courtesy, Anna Shvets/

Advice from virologist Dr Shahid Jameel:

Grocery shopping
  • Try not do grocery shopping too frequently. Reduce the frequency of your grocery shopping.
  • Take some cloth bags with you, when you go to the store/market, which you can bring back home and wash with soap and water to decontaminate them.
  • When you go out, take all precautions, such as wearing a mask, wearing gloves, maintaining physical distancing of at least one meter between you and other people in the grocery shop.
  • When you return home, the first thing you should do is to leave the groceries outside. Go in first and wash your hands with soap and water.
  • How should you clean the kitchen top?
    Take fabric bleach, which has 4 per cent sodium hypochlorite.
    Dilute it: one part bleach to 100 parts of water. And you're ready with a very inexpensive and effective way of cleaning.
    You can spray this solution on table-tops or you could have a cloth soaked in the solution, which you use to clean the table top.
  • The first thing you take out from your groceries are bottles, cans, tetrapaks and anything that can be cleaned with this bleach solution.
    Again, you can either spray them and then clean it with a cloth or you could have a cloth soaked in the solution and clean.
  • Discard any cardboard boxes.
    Let's say you have a box of cereal, say cornflakes, the outer box can easily be discarded.
    The inner plastic is harmless (because it is already clean).
  • The best way of washing fruits and vegetables is to soak them in tap water for about half an hour to an hour and then rinse them under running tap water.
    Some people may like do more cleaning: You can either dilute vinegar, one part vinegar with three parts of water.
    Spray this on the surface of fruits and vegetables and simply rinse them in water after about five to 10 seconds.
    The second option is to take two litres of water and add 2 tablespoons of salt and add half a cup of vinegar to it.
    Leave your fruits and veggies soaked in this for about five minutes.
    Take it out and rinse it under running water.
  • Reduce the number of prepared food deliveries to your home.
    If you have to get food deliveries, again, discard the outer covering.
    As for the inner covering: You can transfer the food to a fresh container and discard the inner covering that came with it too.
    Keep the food in the fridge and when you are ready to eat it, heat it.
  • Eggs can be safely washed with water -- simple hand rubbing and washing under running water.
  • Plastic milk packets can be soaked in a soap solution, rubbed and rinsed for storage.
    It would, however, be best transfer the milk to another container and discard the packet.
  • Bread should be transferred from the packing to a box.
    Discard packing.
    Best to toast it, but even if you don't there is very little chance for bread to be infected.
    The bread we buy is made and packaged by machines.
    It's the outer covering that sees human hands.
  • Try to minimise your use of cash.
    Use credit cards or debit cards.
    Also, when you get your credit and debit card back from the vendor, don't put it directly back in your purse/wallet.
    Put it in a plastic bag and when you get home clean it with an alcohol swab.
  • If you have to deal in cash, when you're bringing cash from the bank or bringing it from a vendor, don't put it directly in your purse/wallet.
    Put it in a plastic bag and bring it home.
    Lay the cash between two sheets of paper and run a hot, dry iron on it.
    This will take the temperature high enough for all bacteria and viruses to be killed.
  • All these methods have been tested upon bacteria but they have not been tested on viruses.
    Nevertheless, if you want to use them, they are safe methods to employ.
    Of these, only soap and water would be 100 per cent effective.
    Rest will reduce the load of virus, but have not been experimentally tested.
  • Remember after you've done all of this, you must wash your hands with soap and water, rubbing them.
    That's the most effective way of destroying this virus.

As told to Vaihayasi Pande Daniel/


Production: Ashish Narsale/


*Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes.