Yes, nothing beats handwashing till now in preventing epidemics like COVID-19. But WHAT IF water and soap aren’t available in a given situation?
Also, as you’re already aware, bottles of hand sanitizer sell out quickly during public health crises. But don’t worry—making your own hand sanitizer is super easy. All it takes are three ingredients in three steps.
Keep on reading to find out how.
What do I need to make a hand sanitizer?
Making your own hand sanitizer is easy to do and it just needs 3 ingredients:
- Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (with 99% alcohol volume)
- Aloe vera gel
- An essential oil（We recommend eucalyptus essential oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil）
The key to making an effective and germicidal hand sanitizer is to stick to a 3:1 proportion of alcohol to aloe vera. That keeps the alcohol content over 60 per cent. 60% alcohol volume is the minimum amount required to eliminate most bacteria, according to the CDC.
How can I make my own hand sanitizer?
We have got two recipes for you. The first one is easy to make – with stuff you possibly already have in your cabinets, so it is applicable for emergencies. While the second one can be a little bit more complicated, it is more powerful. If you plan ahead of time and do some shopping, it won’t be too difficult.
Hand Sanitizer Recipe
3 ingredients you’ll need:
- 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 %)
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to keep your hands smooth and to neutralize the irritation of pure alcohol)
- 10 drops of essential oil (such as Eucalyptus essential oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil.)
- Put all ingredients into a bowl, preferably one with a pouring spout, such as a glass measuring container.
- Blend the ingredients with a spoon. Beat the blend with a whisk to turn it into a hand sanitizer.
- Put the hand sanitizer into an empty bottle, let your concoction sit for 60 hours.
When making hand sanitizer at home
You may need to follow these steps:
- Make the hand sanitizer in a clean area.
- Sanitize countertop with a diluted bleach solution.
- Wash your hands before making a hand sanitizer.
- We need a clean spoon and whisk to blend them. Wash these products thoroughly before using them.
- Blend all the ingredients entirely till they are well mixed.
- Please do not touch the mix with your hands until it is ready for use.
- Let your hand sanitizer sit for a minimum of 60 hours after you’re done. The sanitizer needs time to kill any bacteria that might have been introduced during the blending process.
If you’re using a lower-concentration solution of rubbing alcohol, use far less water. Remember, 60% of alcohol volume is the minimum amount required to eliminate most bacteria.
For a larger batch of hand sanitizer, the WHO has a formula for it:
- Isopropyl alcohol or ethanol
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Sterilized distilled or boiled cold water
The Spray Recipe
While the gel sanitizer gets the job done, aloe also leaves our skin annoyingly sticky. So, here’s a recipe that’s comfy and more potent, recommended by the WHO.
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Glycerol or glycerin
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Distilled water
- Spray bottle
- 8 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil
Mix 12 fluid ounces of rubbing alcohol with 10mL of glycerol(roughly equals to 2 teaspoons).
You can buy glycerol online, which is a necessary ingredient since it keeps the alcohol from drying out our hands.
What if I can’t find glycerol?
If you are having a hard time to find jugs of glycerol, just proceed with the rest of the recipe. And don’t forget to moisturize your hands after using the sanitizer.
Mix in half a fluid ounce of hydrogen peroxide, then 3 ounces of distilled or boiled cold water. Add 8 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil to finish.
Load the solution into a spray bottle. And you can wet a paper towel with it to use that as a wipe.
How to use hand sanitizer
Two principles to abide by when using hand sanitizer: rub it into your skin until your hands are dry.
- You need to rub it into your skin until your hands are dry.
- And, if your hands are oily or unclean, you should clean them with soap and water first.
With that in mind, here are some suggestions for using hand sanitizer more effectively:
- Spray or apply the sanitizer onto the palm of one hand.
- Thoroughly rub your hands together. Make sure hand sanitizer covers the entire surface of your hands and all your fingers well.
- Continue rubbing for 30 to 60 seconds or till your hands are dry. It can take a minimum of one minute, and maybe longer, for hand sanitizer to eliminate most germs.
Effectiveness of Hand Sanitizers
What bacteria can hand sanitizer eliminate?
According to the CDC, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that meets the alcohol volume requirement can quickly eliminate microbes on your hands. It can likewise help destroy a wide range of disease-causing agents or pathogens on your hands, including the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
However, even the very best alcohol-based hand sanitizers have restrictions and do not eliminate all kinds of germs.
According to the CDC, hand sanitizers do not eliminate potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also not effective at killing the following bacteria:
- Cryptosporidium (which causes cryptosporidiosis)
- C. diff (an abbreviation of clostridium difficile)
Also, a hand sanitizer might not work well if your hands are dirty or greasy. This situation may take place after doing yard work, gardening or playing a sport.
If your hands look dirty or greasy, go for handwashing instead of using a hand sanitizer.
Hand Washing vs. Hand sanitizer
Understanding when you need to wash your hands, and when hand sanitizers can be helpful, is key to guarding yourself against the novel coronavirus as well as other illnesses, such as seasonal flu.
While both have got their own advantages, washing your hands with soap and water always gets a top priority. Only use hand sanitizer when you can’t do handwashing in a given situation.
Additionally, it’s crucial to constantly clean your hands:
- After going to the bathroom
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- Before consuming
- After touching surfaces in a public place
The most effective way to wash your hands thoroughly:
- Use tidy, running water.
- Turn the water on and wet your hands first.
- Then turn the water off, and lather your hands with soap.
- Rub your both hands together with the soap for 20 seconds. Scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails, to ensure your hand is completely clean.
- Turn the water on and wash your hands. Use a towel or air dry.
Safety Concerns of Hand Sanitizers
Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)-based hand sanitizers are safe when used as directed. But they can cause alcohol poisoning if a person swallows more than a couple of mouthfuls.
Clinical symptoms and signs related to alcohol toxicity
Symptoms of alcohol toxicity include vomiting, nausea, shortness of breath and sleepiness. If you observe one or some of them, you need to think about the possibility of an alcohol hand sanitizer ingestion and contact your local poison control center.
How to use sanitizer safely
Use alcohol hand sanitizers correctly, and with proper child safety precautions. Making sure they are stored out of reach of young children can avoid unexpected incidents.
Keeping an awareness of the potential threats with an intentional or unintentional ingestion of alcohol hand sanitizers may contribute to encouraging appropriate use and avoid negative results.
Hand sanitizer is a helpful tool to prevent the spread of germs and virus when soap and water is not available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can keep you safe and lessen the spread of the novel coronavirus.
If you are having a hard time fetching hand sanitizer at your local stores, you can always follow our instructions to make your own one. You only need three ingredients: rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and essential oil.
Although hand sanitizers can be an effective way of getting rid of bacteria, washing your hands with soap and water should always be a priority.