Americans are doing more housecleaning and disinfecting amid the COVID-19 pandemic and many are turning to wild and dangerous tactics—like drinking and gargling bleach solutions.
The CDC noticed a spike in poison control calls a few months ago — this is all from before Trump suggested people inject bleach into their bodies to fight COVID-19 — and setup an online survey to test common household cleaning knowledge and practices.
The most common risky practice was washing fruits, vegetables, and other foods in bleach solutions. A total of 19 percent said they did this. From there, 18 percent said they used household cleaners—not hand soap—to wash their hands and/or other body parts. Ten percent said they misted themselves with household cleaners and disinfecting products.
Here’s where I started to gag a little while reading:
And 4 percent of people reported gargling or drinking household cleaners, soap solutions, and bleach solutions.
It’s difficult to say if this is out of general stupidity or desperation or fear or some mixture. I will admit to being an obsessive hand-washer (using hand soap!) back in April as the fear, uncertainty, and doubt was beginning to reach peak levels, but I never felt the need to bleach myself. I’m honestly not sure what people are thinking when they gargle or drink bleach.
Many of the survey takers also did not know you should never mix bleach with hot water, vinegar, or ammonia, yet “82 percent reported that they strongly agreed or somewhat agreed with the statement that they knew how to clean and disinfect their home safely.” It’s difficult to correct knowledge when a person already believes their incorrect knowledge is correct.