Health Educator and Guest Blog Post author, Joyce Lisbin

Thanks to 350 Colorado volunteer Joyce Lisbin for today’s guest blog post on practicing home health safety during COVID-19, and protecting the environment as well. “The impact of policy and politics on the life of the individual has been made paramount to me as a public health educator.  The majority of my career and advocacy has focused on sexual health, women’s health and social justice.  The climate crisis now demands my attention and energy,” shares Joyce about why she has gotten more involved in climate and environmental issues. In her guest blog post, she shares tips on making your own cleaning products that are non-toxic and won’t harm you or our planet. 

Thanks to the pandemic, most of us are spending more time at home than ever before.  A home environment that promotes our health and well-being is now essential.  High standards of cleanliness can be achieved by avoiding toxic chemicals used in popular commercial products. That long list of ingredients on your home cleaning product often contains toxic chemicals connected with significant health concerns including allergies, rashes, cancer, and breathing difficulties.  Repeated exposure to these chemicals can even affect one’s ability to reproduce. 

Did you know soap and water are very effective against the coronavirus? There is a lot of talk about chlorine bleach and ammonia as a disinfectant.  Alert: chlorine bleach is hazardous in many ways and can produce toxic fumes or harm you skin.  Chlorine bleach should not be mixed with other commercial cleaning products.  The CDC recommends that you never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.  You can prepare your own safer bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.  You can then clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces in household common areas (e.g. tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, keyboards, handles, desks, toilets, sinks). Wear gloves when cleaning.  Wash hands frequently.

Here are some general housekeeping tips that are good for the health of your family, pets, the environment and your budget.  Ingredients most commonly used in recipes for home made natural products include: water, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar and salt.  Lemon juice dissolves soap scum and acts as natural bleach.  When baking soda is mixed with lemon juice or vinegar it becomes an effective cleaning paste.  Some basic recipes are provided below.


1C water

1C vinegar

Pour in spray bottle and use undiluted vinegar to clean difficult areas.

(*A stronger but not fully natural all purpose cleaner would include the addition of one Tablespoon of ammonia: the recommended recipe is 2C of water, 1T of non-sudsing ammonia, 1T of clear laundry detergent)


1C of water

1/8C of Vinegar 

Pour in spray bottle. Note: Old newspapers can be used instead of paper towels


1C of olive oil

½ C up lemon juice


For difficult areas make a paste by mixing baking soda and water into a paste.  Add salt increase abrasiveness.  Apply to the very stubborn areas for about 15-20 minutes, scrub and then remove.

Finally, we are still learning about the coronavirus.  The CDC is a reliable resource for updated information.  It is vital that we continue to follow these basic prevention practices: wash your hands often, avoid close contact, stay home as much as possible, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others, cover coughs and sneezes, clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. 

Joyce Lisbin, Ed.D is an educator, advocate, and artist who received her Ed.D at the University of New Mexico. She also received her MA at New York University and her BA at American University. Thank you Joyce for sharing these tips with the 350 Colorado community!