How to make effective hand sanitizer at home

With 31 deaths in the US from the coronavirus, it has made many people rush to stores, wiping...
With 31 deaths in the US from the coronavirus, it has made many people rush to stores, wiping the shelves clean of products. There are different recipes to make hand sanitizer at home.(homemade hand sanitizer)
Updated: Mar. 11, 2020 at 6:26 PM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - With over 30 deaths in the U.S. from the coronavirus, it has made many people rush to stores, wiping the shelves clean of products.

Disinfectant wipes, Lysol, and hand sanitizer are especially in high demand. However, there are recipes out there that teach consumers how to make their own hand sanitizer at home.

Scroll down to see the full recipe

According to Dr. Phillip Levin, a Memorial Hospital emergency medicine physician, homemade sanitizer is effective.

"Yes, there’s a lot of ways to kill germs. Lysol spray is adequate. You can use bleach on your surfaces, but never put bleach on your hands,” said Dr. Levin.

However, he noted that the products are not geared to kill COVID-19; rather, they are meant to make sanitizer less toxic to your hands.

“Alcohol is the active ingredient. Ninety-one percent alcohol - Everclear, they call it - is effective, not the type you get from the bottle like whiskey," explained Levin. “Those types of over the counter things are probably effective.”

In order for alcohol-based disinfectants to work as designed, you must use at least three millimeters and rub your hands together for 25-30 seconds. Medical experts say while that will work if you’re in a pinch, it’s not substitute for washing your hands with soap, water, and a good 30-second scrub.

Standard alcohol-based sanitizer found in stores usually only contains an alcohol content of 60 percent, which only kills certain microorganisms.

We decided to test out the following recipe from Popular Science for a gel hand sanitizer that is 60% alcohol, as recommended by the WHO.

1. Pour the alcohol into a medium container with a pouring spout. Some recipes online use vodka instead of isopropyl alcohol, but most vodkas don’t contain a high enough percentage of alcohol to be effective.

  • Note: Using isopropyl alcohol diluted beyond 91% will result in a more weaker hand sanitizer that doesn’t meet the CDC’s 60% benchmark.

2. Measure and pour the aloe vera gel. Alcohol can be hard on your skin, so using aloe is a good way to counteract that effect and keep your hands smooth. If you want to keep things natural, you can use aloe vera gel straight from the plant without worrying about it going bad—the alcohol will act as a preservative. However, you will need to keep in mind that natural aloe gel is thicker than its store-bought counterpart and will thus affect the final product differently—it will make your hand sanitizer more sticky, which means you’ll need to rub your hands more times for it to fully absorb.

3. Add the essential oil. Tea tree oil is naturally antibacterial, so it makes sense to use it here. But if you’re not a fan of its smell, you can use another type of essential oil, like lavender, lemongrass, or eucalyptus.

4. Whisk. To fully mix all ingredients, stirring won’t be enough. Get a whisk and beat that hand sanitizer into an homogeneous gel.

5. Sanitize your spray bottles and pour in your hand sanitizer. Spray some of your leftover alcohol into your bottles and let them sit until the alcohol has evaporated. Pour in your sanitizer.

6. Label your containers. You don’t want any accidents where you or anybody else ingests your newly made hand sanitizer. Take the time to label your bottles. Continue living.

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