[Updated 1 June 2020]One of the most common ways to practice good hygiene and stop the spread of germs, bacteria, and viruses is appropriately cleaning your hands. But what happens when you are in a situation where soap and water aren’t available? According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control Prevention), using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer could be just as good.
Currently, the world is experiencing a global pandemic. The announcement of the COVID-19 virus by the World Health Organization has brought the world on its knees. The rapid multiplication of the virus has led to clearing out of shelves of hand sanitizers across the globe. Most retailers have resorted to limiting how many sanitizers or antiviral products an individual can purchase at a time.
Currently, COVID-19 has no vaccine, and the best way individuals can keep themselves clear is through social distancing and practicing good hygiene, which involves regularly cleaning hands and surfaces, with soap, detergent, or alcohol-based sanitizers. With the current shortage of sanitizers, carrying out your daily activities without exposing yourself to germs might seem like an uphill task. Fortunately for you, you can make hand sanitizers at home.
Safety Precautions Making Home Sanitizers
Please note that health experts and agencies agree that making your home sanitizers isn’t a smart idea, and there are better ways of protecting yourself from the novel CoronaVirus.
The hand sanitizer ingredients we will outline are intended for use by qualified professionals with adequate experience, equipment, and resources for the creation of a safe final product. Also, it might not be such a good idea to use a homemade sanitizer on children and could lead to injury or worse.
Why Might It Not Be a Good Idea to Make Your Homemade Sanitizer?
For starters, the CDC recommends washing your hands properly over using a hand sanitizer. According to the institution, the only reason anyone should use a sanitizer is if they don’t have soap and water. Also, the FDA has some concerns over the methods people are using to make hand sanitizers at home and whether these DIY products are safe to use on human skin.
Finally, medical experts warn that making homemade sanitizers might be harder than most people think. According to them, the concentrations need to be right, or you’ll end up with a product that is too harsh or mild, which is a waste of ingredients. The key to making quality, effective hand sanitizers is to get the ratio of ingredients right. According to the CDC, hand sanitizers need to have at least 60 percent alcohol, which most store-bought sanitizers have.
Ingredients That Will Not Protect You from Viral Exposure
There are hundreds of different recipes for homemade hand sanitizers online. The WHO recommends only using the ingredients that are listed on their approved hand sanitizer recipe. Other common ingredients that you may get online, but don’t qualify to include:
There’s a lot of talk that vodka can be used to kill germs and bacteria, which could be accurate. However, vodka only contains 40 percent alcohol. The CDC recommends using hand sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol, and vodka falls short. Also, the FDA approves the use of USP grade ingredients when formulating your hand sanitizer. Vodka isn’t on the list of USP grade alcohol.
A lot of surface-based DIY cleaners use vinegar as an ingredient. Vinegar, as well as baking soda, are effective surface cleaners; however, according to a study analyzing their effectiveness on germs and bacteria, it was discovered that they are only valid on the following:
- Escherichia coli
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Salmonella choleraesuis
- Staphylococcus aureus
According to the research, natural homemade disinfectants were less effective compared to commercial cleaners.
Bleach is an effective surface cleaning agent if prepared well. It’s essential to follow the instructions found on the product package and use it with care since bleach is known to burn or cause skin irritation over time.
What Ingredients Do I Need to Make a Homemade Hand Sanitizer?
Making your homemade sanitizer is quite easy and inexpensive, and only requires a few ingredients.
- Aloe Vera gel
- Essential oil such as lavender, or tea tree oil
- Rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl
The key to making a quality hand sanitizer is to ensure your proportions are at a ratio of 2:1 of alcohol and essential oils or Aloe Vera. This means that your alcohol ratio needs to be about 60 percent. This is the minimum amount required to kill germs according to the CDC and FDA.
How do I make Homemade Hand Sanitizer?
To make a quality homemade sanitizer, you will need the following:
- ¾ cup of rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl- needs to be 99%
- Ten drops of essential oil such as tea tree oil, you could also use lemon juice.
- ¼ cup of Aloe Vera gel
To effectively make this product, pour the above ingredients into a bowl, measuring container(glass) or any other container with a pouring spout. Mix the ingredients with a spoon and beat with a whisk until the mixture turns into gel form. Pour the solution into the final bottle you will use for the sanitizer. Make sure you clearly label the bottle “sanitizer” to avoid confusion.
Note: Avoid using empty soda bottles that could be confused by young children for beverages.
How to Effectively Use Homemade Hand Sanitizers
While making a homemade hand sanitizer is relatively easy, you must adhere to the following tips to make sure you create a useful product.
- Before you start to set up, make sure your workspace is clean. Clean all surfaces with a diluted bleach solution beforehand.
- Clean your hands properly before making your homemade sanitizer.
- Make sure all equipment that will be used to measure, mix, and hold the solution are clean, including whisk, spoon and mixing bowl.
- When mixing the ingredients, make sure they are thoroughly blended.
- Make sure your hands don’t get into contact with the solution before it is ready to use.
Are Homemade Sanitizers Safe to Use?
There are so many recipes online for homemade sanitizers, but are they all safe? It’s important to note that all recipes, including the one outlined above, are intended for professionals with resources, experience, and the right equipment to make homemade hand sanitizers safely. The FDA recommends making these products in extreme situations where you are not able to get store-bought brands. Improperly produced homemade sanitizers will lead to the following:
- Skin burns or irritation
- Sanitizers might not kill germs, bacteria, or allergens.
- Expose individuals to harmful chemicals when inhaled.
Please note that homemade hand sanitizers are not recommended for use by young children.
How to Effectively Use Homemade Hand Sanitizers
When using homemade hand sanitizers, you need to make sure you rub it until your hands feel dry. In case your hands are dirty, wash them first with soap and water before using the sanitizer. The following tips will help you effectively use homemade hand sanitizers:
- Make sure your hands are clean before using your homemade sanitizer. Apply or spray the product on your palm. Run
- Rub your hands thoroughly, ensuring the sanitizers cover the entire surface of your hands.
- Rub your hands together for about 30 to 60 seconds until your hands feel dry. To kill germs effectively, this process needs to take up to 60 seconds.
Are Hand Sanitizers Better than Hand Washing?
Proper hygiene involves washing your hands. Therefore, knowing when to use hand sanitizers is essential to protecting yourself from the deadly CoronaVirus, as well as other illnesses that could be transmitted through germs.
While washing your hands just like using hand sanitizers both serve the same purpose, washing your hands with soap and water needs to be a priority. The only time you need to use hand sanitizer is when you have no access to water and soap. Also, make sure you wash your hands in the following scenarios:
- Before eating
- When you use the bathroom
- After coughing, blowing your nose or sneezing
- After touching community surfaces such as rails, elevator buttons, or doorknobs.
According to the WHO and CDC:
- Make sure you have clean running warm or cold water when washing your hands.
- Before rubbing, wet your hands, turn off the water and lather them with soap.
- Rub your hands thoroughly together with soap, and for about 20 seconds, ensuring the back of your hands, between fingers and nails, are cleaned.
- Turn on the water and rinse it with running water. Air dry or use a clean, dry towel.
Using hand sanitizers are an effective way to stop the spread of germs when you don’t have access to clean water and soap. Quality alcohol-based sanitizers can help keep you safe from the spread of COVID-19. In case you can’t find store-bought hand sanitizers, you can take the above steps to make your own homemade product to keep you safe. While using hand sanitizers is an effective way to protect you from Corona Virus, health authorities recommend washing your hands with clean water and soap to keep your hands free from germs and diseases.