How To Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control recommends washing hands with soap and warm water. If water and soap aren’t available, your next best option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Luckily, it only takes three ingredients to create a homemade sanitizer. There are a number of recipes on the internet, but not all are effective and improper ingredients or proportions can lead to:
- lack of efficacy, meaning that the sanitizer may not effectively eliminate the risk of exposure to some or all microbes
- skin irritation, injury or burns
- exposure to hazardous chemicals via inhalation
Before You Start
- Make the hand sanitizer in a clean space. Wipe down countertops with a diluted bleach solution beforehand.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before making the hand sanitizer.
- To mix, use a clean spoon and whisk. Wash these items thoroughly before using them.
- Make sure the alcohol used for the hand sanitizer is not diluted.
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until they are well blended.
- Do not touch the mixture with your hands until it is ready for use.
Dr. Rishi Desai, a former epidemic intelligence service officer in the division of viral diseases at the CDC, shared this recipe for creating an effective hand sanitizer that is supposed to kill 99.9 percent of germs including those responsible for the coronavirus.
What you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
- 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead
- Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
- Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
- Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”
How to Use It?
Just having hand sanitizer on hand isn’t enough to prevent the spread of the disease. It must be used properly, which means thoroughly rubbing your hands together for 30 to 60 seconds or until your hands are dry. It can take at least 60 seconds, and sometimes longer, for hand sanitizer to kill most germs. Make sure your hands are clean before applying. A hand sanitizer may not work well if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
Use it Safely
Some things to remember before using your homemade sanitizer:
Homemade hand sanitizer is only recommended in extreme situations when you’re unable to wash your hands for the foreseeable future.
It is also not recommended for use with children. Children may be more prone to improper hand sanitizer usage, which could lead to greater risk for injury.
Remember that hand washing, not touching your face and social distancing are the best ways to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but if you need to go out to the store, taking along your homemade hand sanitizer doesn’t hurt.