Nothing beats good old-fashioned handwashing when it comes to preventing the transmission of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
If water and soap aren’t accessible, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol.
Unless you have a stash of shop-bought hand sanitizer on hand, you’ll probably have trouble obtaining any at a store or online right now. Because of the rapid spread of the new coronavirus, most merchants are struggling to meet the demand for hand sanitizer.
What’s the good news? To produce your own hand sanitizer at home, you only need three items. Continue reading to find out how.
A Word of Warning
Hand sanitizer recipes, such as the one below, are meant for use by professionals who have the appropriate expertise and resources to create and apply them safely.
Only use homemade hand sanitizers in emergency situations if handwashing is not possible in the near future.
Do not use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin since they are more likely to use them incorrectly, putting them in danger of damage.
What Ingredients Do You Need?
Making your own hand sanitizer is simple and involves only a few ingredients:
- Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl alcohol (99 percent alcohol volume).
- Aloe vera gel
- You can use essential oil, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, or lemon juice instead.
The key to creating an effective, germ-fighting hand sanitizer is to use a 2:1 alcohol-to-aloe vera ratio. This preserves the alcohol content at roughly 60%. According to the CDC, this is the bare minimum required to destroy most pathogens.
How do you Make Your own Hand Sanitizer?
This hand sanitizing recipe was contributed by Jagdish Khubchandani, PhD, associate professor of health science at Ball State University.
His hand sanitizer formula includes the following ingredients:
- 2 parts isopropyl alcohol (91–99 percent alcohol)
- 1 part aloe vera gel 1 part essential oil (clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, or other)
Khubchandani recommends following these guidelines for producing hand sanitizer at home:
- Make the hand sanitizer in a clean environment. Before you begin, wipe out the countertops with a weak bleach solution.
- Before creating the hand sanitizer, properly wash your hands.
- Use a clean spoon and a whisk to combine the ingredients. Before utilizing these things, carefully wash them.
- Make certain that the alcohol used for hand sanitizer is not diluted.
- All of the ingredients should be fully combined.
- Touch the mixture with your hands only when it is ready to use.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has a formula for a larger batch of hand sanitizer that uses:
- ethanol or isopropyl alcohol
- peroxide of hydrogen
- chilly distilled or boiling water that is sterile
Is it Safe?
DIY hand sanitizer recipes abound online these days, but are they safe?
These recipes, including the ones listed above, are meant for use by experts who have the knowledge and resources to create homemade hand sanitizers safely.
Homemade hand sanitizer is only advised in extreme cases where you won’t be able to wash your hands for the foreseeable future.
Inadequate ingredients or quantities can result in:
- Ineffectiveness means that the sanitizer may not adequately eliminate the danger of exposure to some or all microorganisms.
- Irritation, damage, or burns to the skin
- Inhaling harmful chemicals exposes you to them.
It is also not safe to use homemade hand sanitizer on youngsters. Children may be more prone to using hand sanitizer incorrectly, putting them at greater risk of injury.
How to Use Hand Sanitizer
When using hand sanitizer, keep the following in mind:
- You must rub it into your skin until your hands are completely dry.
- If your hands are greasy or dirty, wash them with soap and water first.
With that in mind, here are some pointers on how to use hand sanitizer properly.
- Spray or apply the sanitizer to one hand’s palm.
- Rub your hands together vigorously. Cover the full surface of your hands and all of your fingers.
- Rub for 30 to 60 seconds, or until your hands are dry. Most germs can be killed by hand sanitizer after at least 60 seconds, and occasionally longer.
What Types of Germs Will Hand Sanitizer Kill?
An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that meets the alcohol volume criterion, according to the CDC, can quickly reduce the number of bacteria on your hands.
It can also aid in the destruction of a wide variety of disease-causing agents or viruses on your hands, including the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Even the best alcohol-based hand sanitizers, however, have limitations and cannot eradicate all sorts of bacteria.
Hand sanitizers, according to the CDC, will not remove potentially hazardous substances. It is also ineffective against the following germs:
- Cryptosporidium, is the causative agent of cryptosporidiosis.
- Clostridium difficult, abbreviated C. diff.
Also, if your hands are noticeably dirty or greasy, a hand sanitizer may not be effective. This could occur after dealing with food, doing yard labor, gardening, or participating in a sport.
If your hands appear unclean or slimy, wash them instead of using a hand sanitizer.
Handwashing vs. Hand Sanitizer
Knowing when to wash your hands and when to use hand sanitizers is essential for avoiding the new coronavirus as well as other infections such as the common cold and seasonal flu.
While both have a purpose, the CDC recommends that washing your hands with soap and water be your first priority. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer instead.
It is also critical to always wash your hands after going to the restroom after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing before eating after contacting potentially contaminated surfaces
The CDC provides explicit recommendations on how to wash your hands effectively. They advise the following steps:
- Use only clean, flowing water. (It might be either warm or cold.)
- Wet your hands first, then turn off the water and lather them with soap.
- Rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds with the soap. Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and underneath your nails.
- Turn on the water and wash your hands. Dry with a clean cloth or let it air dry.
When soap and water aren’t accessible, hand sanitizer is a convenient on-the-go way to help prevent the transmission of germs. Hand sanitizers containing alcohol can help keep you safe and minimize the spread of the new coronavirus.
If you can’t locate hand sanitizer in your local stores and handwashing isn’t an option, you can take steps to produce your own. Only a few materials are required, including rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and essential oil or lemon juice.
Although hand sanitizers can be efficient at killing germs, health experts still recommend washing your hands whenever possible to keep disease-causing viruses and other bacteria at bay.