I thought of writing this post because of the huge surge in the demand for sanitizers due to the deadly outbreak of COVID-19 and, consequently disappearance of sanitizers in market.
Many of you might not know that good old-traditional method of hand washing can play an important role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19
But what to do when soap & clean water aren’t available. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the next best option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Right now many of us are facing a hard time in finding any sanitizer at stores, and even online. Due to the fast spread of the new, deadly coronavirus, the situation is likely to worsen because the suppliers won’t be able to keep up with the surging demand for hand sanitizers.
Don’t worry. We have ideal solution for you. Making your own hand sanitizer at home is an easy process & for that you only require 3 ingredients. Continue reading here to learn how to make hand sanitizer at home.
Ingredients Needed To Make Hand Sanitizer At Home
(i) Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent alcohol volume)
(ii) Aloe vera gel
(iii) An essential oil, like lavender oil or tea tree oil or alternatively, you can simply use lemon juice
Remember the important thumb rule for making a potent; germ-exterminating hand sanitizer is to stick to a 2:1 ratio of alcohol to aloe vera gel. This means maintaining the alcohol content about sixty percent. As per the CDC, this is the minimum amount required to bust most germs.
How do you make homemade hand sanitizer at home?
According to Dr. Rishi Desai, chief medical officer of Osmosis, and a former epidemic intelligence service officer in the division of viral diseases at the CDC, the following hand sanitizer recipe can bust 99.9 percent of germs after 60 seconds.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe # 1
You will need:
(i) Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol (99% strength): ¾ cup
(ii) Aloe Vera Gel (to maintain hands smooth & to offset the harshness of alcohol): ¼ cup
(iii) Essential Oil (like tea tree oil or lavender oil): 10 drops, alternatively you can use any other essential oil of your choice or even lemon juice
(i) Put all the ingredients into a mixing bowl, preferably with a pouring spout such as a glass-measuring container.
(ii) Mix the ingredients well using a spoon, and then whisk thoroughly to turn the sanitizer-mix into a uniform consistency concoction.
(iii) Transfer the sanitizer-mix into a clean, empty glass bottle for easy use, and don’t forget to label it “hand sanitizer”.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe # 2
A similar recipe, but slightly different, is shared by Jagdish Khubchandani, PhD, associate professor of health science at Ball State University.
This homemade hand sanitizer recipe formula is as follows:
(i) Isopropyl Alcohol or Ethanol (91 % to 99 % alcohol): 2 parts
(ii) Aloe Vera Gel: 1 part
(iii) Eucalyptus or Clove or Peppermint essential oil: A few drops, or you may use any other essential oil of your choice.
Khubchandani recommends following tips for making hand sanitizer at home:
(i) Wipe the counter top with a diluted bleach solution beforehand. Purpose is to prepare the hand sanitizer in a clean space.
(ii) Thoroughly wash your hands with soap before you start making the hand sanitizer.
(iii) Use a clean spoon to whisk and mix well. Make sure to wash thoroughly the spoon, container and other items that you are going to use.
(iv) Make it a point that the alcohol that you are going to use for making hand sanitizer is undiluted.
(v) Mix thoroughly all the ingredients until they get blended well.
(vi) Do not touch the ingredients/mixture with your hands until it is ready for use.
WHO-Recommended Handrub Formulations – Guide For Local Production
For those who are interested in making a larger batch of hand sanitizer, the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests the following formula for a hand sanitizer that uses:
(i) Isopropyl Alcohol or Ethanol
(ii) Hydrogen peroxide
(iv) Sterile distilled or boiled cold water
Hand Sanitizer vs. Hand washing
Knowing when it’s best to use hand sanitizer, and when to wash your hands can be helpful, and is important for protecting yourself from the new, deadly coronavirus as well as other infections & illnesses such as the seasonal flue & common cold.
Whereas both serve a purpose, but according to the CDC washing your hands with clean water & soap should always be preferred. Use hand sanitizer only when soap and water are not available.
Particularly, it’s important to always wash your hands with soap & water:
(i) Before eating
(ii) After sneezing, blowing your nose or coughing
(iii) After going to the bathroom; and
(iv) After touching surfaces that could be contaminated
It’s also important to adhere to the CDC Specific Instructions about the most effective ways to wash your hands. Here are their recommendations:
(i) Always use running, clean water. (It can be cold or warm)
(ii) First wet your hands, turn off the water and then lather your hands with soap.
(iii) Rub your hands together using soap for at least twenty seconds. Ensure that you scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails also.
(iv) Now turn on the water, and rinse your hands. Use a clean towel to dry the skin.
How To Use Hand Sanitizer?
The first 2 rules are: (i) When using hand sanitizer you should rub it into your skin until your hands get dry (ii) And, in case your hands are dirty or greasy, you need to wash them first with soap and water.
In addition to the above two rules, here are some more tips that you should keep in mind for effective use of hand sanitizer:
(i) Apply or spray the sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
(ii) Rub thoroughly your hands together. Ensure that you cover all your fingers & the entire surface of your hands.
(iii) Continue rubbing for thirty to sixty seconds or until your hands get dry. It can take at least sixty seconds, and sometimes more, for hand sanitizer to exterminate most germs.
What Germs Can Hand Sanitizer Exterminate?
As per the CDC, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that meets the alcohol strength norm can rapidly decrease the number of microbes on your hands. It can also help exterminate wide-ranging disease-causing pathogens or other agents on your hands, including the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
Having said that, even the best alcohol-based hand sanitizers have limitations and cannot kill all types of germs.
As per the CDC, hand sanitizers won’t get rid of potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also not effective in getting rid of the following germs:
(ii) Cryptosporidium (which causes cryptosporidiosis)
(iii) Clostridium difficile (also known as C. diff)
Moreover, a hand sanitizer cannot work effectively if your hands are visibly greasy or dirty. This may happen doing gardening, yard work, etc.
When your hands look greasy or dirty, choose hand-washing method instead of using a hand sanitizer.
The Take Away
When soap and water are not available, hand sanitizer is a useful “on-the-go” way to help ward off the spread of germs. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help you be safe and cut down spread of the novel coronavirus.
If is easy to make your own hand sanitizer at home. You only require three ingredients, namely, rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and an essential oil or lemon juice.
Though hand sanitizers can be an effective, handy way of killing germs, health authorities still recommend using hand washing method wherever possible to keep your hands free of disease-causing germs & viruses.