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Would this work?

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    Would this work?

    The knowledge base is so far reaching here that I hope I can get at least some well thought out opinions on this. We still do some business that requires that we get letters from USPS. If I were to put a letter in my 1200 watt microwave for say a minute would it be sterilized. In my career I worked with radioactive materials and had read some reports on irradiated foods, but I have no idea what effect microwaves have on a virus. I know that if the letter were damp the resulting steam would do the trick, but most of the ones we receive are dry thank goodness. What do you think?

    #2
    No. The wavelength in a common microwave is around 3-4-5 inches long. I only know this because I helped a grandson with a science project where we measured the wavelength in house microwaves using common household items. Even with a rotating base you are going to miss a lot of these little critters. Better to hold the letters over boiling water for 5 minutes or just wipe them down with a disinfectant wipe and let them sit for a few minutes. The disinfectant wipes are what my wife’s office is doing.
    Last edited by Donw; March 29, 2020, 12:32 PM.

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      #3
      I’m not really sure. All I know is that it works on hot dogs.

      Spices I think are irradiated but for bacteria and not viruses?? Not sure there either.

      UV works on viruses but remains to be seen on this one. That’s all I got.

      Comment


        #4
        There's this bit in Kenji's article on coronavirus and food safety about killing the virus with heat:

        Temperatures and times for coronavirus are not yet fully researched, but scientists suggest a temperature of 149°F (65°C) for at least 3 minutes is sufficient. Experts assume that the virus will respond like other pathogens and that hotter temperatures will require shorter times, but we currently do not have experimental data to prove it.
        So I'd look for a way to get the materials that warm without overshooting to the point papers might try to ignite.

        Here in Florida, just leaving it in the car for a day in the sun would be way more than enough...

        Comment


          #5
          At this point for disinfecting items coming into our home, I keep it simple with at least a 2% Clorox bleach solution (degrades to useless after 5 days, so fresh batches are necessary) or a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution--I'm using 75% Everclear since there's no alcohol to be had in our area. The CDC recommends a 2% bleach solution for disinfecting. I choose to use a 10% Clorox solution like I was trained to use when doing medical research in grad school.

          Interestingly enough (and counterintuitively) the 95% Everclear is not as effective against coronavirus and should be diluted to 70%, from what I read. Also, I only trust Clorox bleach that has not expired; the cheaper bleaches, even when unexpired, are apparently not as effective, or at least that's what we were taught in the lab decontamination scenario.

          For our house, I use a 10% bleach solution in a spray bottle for disinfecting the mail and packages or I leave them in quarantine for several days.

          I unload and disinfect both groceries and mail on a table that I have set up in the garage. I wipe the table down with disinfectant after each use.

          For groceries, I remove each item from the grocery bags and disinfect the non-produce groceries that come in packages or bags with alcohol spray or wipes, let them sit for a while, and then carry them into the house. I leave the plastic grocery bags in the garage, no longer using reusable bags (sadly), and bag them up after several days for recycling.

          I use soap and water for fruits and veggies that can be rinsed off easily like tomatoes and apples, and Everclear spray for other veggies like blueberries and grapes. I wash the fruits and veggies in the sink in the laundry room, which is a few footsteps from the garage. When clean, I transfer them to colanders and carry them into the kitchen to be put away. I then disinfect the sink and surrounding counter area.

          My friends think this is overkill, but we have learned over the past three weeks that the definition of overkill when it comes to this virus is a moving target. Better safe than sorry, I tell myself.

          Kathryn

          Comment


          • Thunder77
            Thunder77 commented
            Editing a comment
            You can spray mail with bleach solution and not damage it?

          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, Thunder77 , 10% bleach solution is pretty mild. The CDC recommends 2% bleach solution which is even milder. It doesn't bleach off the writing or anything.

            I use a spray bottle with a fine mist and mist lightly but with good coverage. I wear gloves which of course are covered in bleach with this process. If the mail needs to be looked at immediately, I open the spritzed envelope in the garage, extract the documents, ditch the envelope, and put the document in a small basket....

          • fzxdoc
            fzxdoc commented
            Editing a comment
            ...and carry the basket into the house after all the mail has been gone through.

            For magazines and things that don't have to be opened immediately, I either quarantine them for several days (some magazines come in plastic) or spritz, stand up on edge and let dry before taking into the house. It's easier to just quarantine them for a few days in the garage.

            I haven't ruined anything yet. And that included our tax returns envelope from the accountant. Whew!

            Kathryn
            Last edited by fzxdoc; April 1, 2020, 06:36 AM.

          #6
          We pop our mail and newspaper into the oven at ~200 for 15 or so minutes. Doesn't effect the paper at all but the little clear plastic windows in the letters crinkle up and fall out...

          Comment


            #7
            I just burn our mail. We don't get anything important anyway...

            Comment


            • JCGrill
              JCGrill commented
              Editing a comment
              Me either, mostly people asking me for money or telling me I already owe them money.

            #8
            The USPS has issued a statement to that effect. “There is no evidence that coronavirus is spread through the mail.
            https://about.usps.com/newsroom/stat...oronavirus.htm

            Comment


            • Oak Smoke
              Oak Smoke commented
              Editing a comment
              I can't tell you how secure that makes me feel. Hahaha!

            • treesmacker
              treesmacker commented
              Editing a comment
              I'll continue to handle mine very carefully - I just don't think we can be too careful with this monster!

            • Thunder77
              Thunder77 commented
              Editing a comment
              The CDC also has issued a similar statement. Caution is always prudent.

            #9
            The microscopic corona virus isn't alive until it joins with host material, and the microwave waves are too long to have an affect. fzxdoc nailed things in the above post = cleaning, not radio waves, does the job.

            Comment


              #10
              Originally posted by Jim White View Post
              So I'd look for a way to get the materials that warm without overshooting to the point papers might try to ignite.

              This sounds like the perfect job for a sous vide.

              (that said the the news keeps asking the experts about the mail and the experts keep saying not to worry about the mail).
              Last edited by Limos; March 30, 2020, 10:59 PM.

              Comment


                #11
                I'll continue to decontaminate the mail because common sense tells me that if the person delivering it happens to cough or sneeze as s/he is putting it into my mailbox and if, as experts say, the virus can live on cardboard 24 hours and porous surfaces somewhat less than that ( as short as 2-3 hours), I'm going to err on the side of caution. I'm not as concerned the processing of the mail phase as much as what happens during the actual delivery into our mailbox. But then I tend to err on the side of caution, so to each her/his own.

                Kathryn

                Comment


                • JGo37
                  JGo37 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  USPS workers were the first in my community infected, and continue to work if not requiring hospital care.

                • fzxdoc
                  fzxdoc commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That's sobering to hear, JGo37 .

                  Kathryn

                #12
                As a health care worker I'm a little skeptical about what the CDC says as of late.

                Comment


                  #13
                  Interesting article here: https://www.hunker.com/12003699/will...rowave-ruin-it

                  Comment

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