Take your hand sanitizer supply needs into your own hands - literally.
The recent and currently ongoing coronavirus outbreak has left many on the hunt for a reliable (and reasonably priced) source for hand sanitizer.
Many of the usual go-to retailers are having trouble maintaining a steady supply of this on-the-go hygiene staple, and online sources have high ticket prices that seem to climb by the day.
Read on for three easy to follow hand sanitizer recipes that have the recommended strength of alcohol and can be put together with as little as 2 easy to find ingredients.
These three hand sanitizer recipes were put together based on the three most commonly found strengths of Isopropyl Alcohol.
To choose which of the 3 recipes you should follow, look at the bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol that you have (or are about to buy) and identify if it is 70%, 91%, or 99%. This will be printed on the container somewhere.
The recipes have been put together in parts, so that you can make as much or as little hand sanitizer as you need. You will need to make sure that the parts are of the same volume, so use the same measuring cup or other measuring device for both “part” ingredients in the recipes.
1. Recipe using 70% Isopropyl Alcohol
2. Recipe using 91% Isopropyl Alcohol
3. Recipe using 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
Instructions for all recipes:
Be careful when following homemade hand sanitizer recipes or attempting to dilute existing products, as you need to maintain a certain percentage of alcohol in the final product for it to be effective against coronavirus.
According to the CDC, the alcohol percentage in hand sanitizers needs to be at least 60%. (All of the recipes listed above are the above 60% range and meet the strength requirements recommended by the CDC.)
You want to strike a good balance with the alcohol percentage, and make a formula which is greater than 60%, but not so strong that you are now damaging and drying out the skin on your hands - between 60% to 70% total alcohol content may be a good range.
To make sure you have the correct strength of hand sanitizer, you should never try to “stretch” your current supply of hand sanitizers by diluting them with other ingredients. Diluting hand sanitizers may reduce the overall alcohol content of the final product below 60% and make it no longer as effective.
Also, picking up a bottle of your favorite liquor and thinking that it would make a great addition to your hand sanitizer is a bad idea as most spirits intended for drinking are around the 40% alcohol range (not to mention the expense, strong liquor smell, and potential extra unnecessary ingredients.)
You want to dilute your liquid alcohol component with aloe vera so that the hand solution turns into more of a “gel.” With a thicker formula, it will be easier to apply without dripping all over before you can thoroughly coat your hands.
In addition, alcohol can be very drying to the skin on our hands, and if you were to apply just straight alcohol all throughout the day, you may actually be damaging the skin so much that little dry cracks form - which means that pathogens may be able to more easily side-step your skin’s natural protective layers.
The added essential oils are an optional part of the hand sanitizer formula, but you may want to add them if you are particularly sensitive to the intense smell of the alcohol, or you just want your hand sanitizer (and yourself) to smell nice.
Yes, it can be - if it is stronger than 60% alcohol and used properly.
The coronavirus can be tough to get control of once it is inside your body, but when it is first on your hands or skin, it is left vulnerable to being destroyed or washed off - so this is why keeping your hands clean is so important.
The virus is wrapped in a lipid membrane as its outside layer, and when that membrane is doused in a greater than 60% alcohol hand sanitizer, that virus membrane breaks up and the virus contents spill out, preventing the virus from infecting cells any longer. Some people refer to this as “killing” the virus, but since the virus is not actually alive, that is not technically true (but we won’t go there.)
Ideally - both.
The center for disease control recommends washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as the best choice for hand cleanliness, but in situations where a place to wash your hands is not available (and your hands are not visibly dirty), using a hand sanitizer is a good option.
Good situations to use hand sanitizer include: When riding public transport and you hold or touch a handrail, using a public door handle, touching a menu at a restaurant, or accidentally sneezing or coughing into your hand with no sinks nearby.
So, if you are near a sink, wash your hands. But, if you do not have easy access to a sink and running water at the moment, use some hand sanitizer.
A healthy mix of both, done regularly and properly, should help you keep your hands clean.
Hand sanitizer is pretty easy to use, but there are some tips you will want to follow to give yourself the best results.
Be sure to use enough hand sanitizer to be able to easily coat both hands.
Rub the hand sanitizer on the palms of your hand, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and even the tips of your fingers under your nails (which should ideally be trimmed short.)
Also, continue rubbing in the hand sanitizer under it is fully dry.
It should also be noted that if your hands are too dirty, we are talking visible dirt or oil, the hand sanitizer will probably not be as effective as on visibly clean hands.
For these more heavy-duty dirty hand situations a thorough hand washing is more appropriate (which can then be followed by a hand sanitizer if needed.)
As with store-bought sanitizers, you will want to store your homemade hand sanitizer out of reach of children and pets.
The alcohol inside the hand sanitizer can cause dangerous alcohol poisoning if ingested, and with small children, this can occur with as little as a pump or two of the mixture.
Be sure to properly label your homemade hand sanitizer storage container and store in a cool to room temperature and dry area, out of reach of little hands.
These hand sanitizer recipes contain high amounts of alcohol, which is flammable, so be aware of applying or storing your hand sanitizers in close proximity to open flames.