When it comes to preventing the spread of viruses, like the COVID-19 vuris that is currently spreading throughout the globe, there is said to be nothing better than washing your hands.
BUT whenever water and soap are unavailable, the next best thing as recommended by the WHO and CDC is to use hand sanitizer when possible.
Since there has been a shortage of all such cleansing materials at any store or even online right now.
The best thing to do is to create your own!
We are here to help you do just that.
Read on below on to see what ingredients are required and to learn the recipe to create your own hand sanitizer in the comfort of your own home.
What ingredients are required?
There are only a few ingredients necessary:
- Rubbing Alcohol
- Aloe Vera Gel
- Any essential oil (eucalyptus oil, peppermint, etc.) or you can use lemon juice as a substitute for this ingredient
Since the CDC recommends the alcohol percentage of any good hand sanitizer to be above 60% alcohol, you must make sure to keep the proportions of the mixture 2:1 alcohol to aloe vera.
This ensures that the sanitizer will function as expected and actually kill germs and bacteria and other infectious particles from your hands.
Hand Sanitizer Recipe:
- 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
- Why: This is the main ingredient in making sure that the sanitizer will actually kill germs and other malicious particles as recommended by the CDC to be above 60% alcohol.
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel
- Why: This will keep your hands soft to counteract the harshness of the alcohol
- Around 10 drops of essential oil (such as eucalyptus, tea tree oil, lavender, etc) or you can use lemon juice instead if you do not have the other products on hand.
- Pour all ingredients into a bowl
- Initially mix all ingredients in the bowl with a spoon and then in order to turn the mixture into a gel, beat it with a whisk.
- Pour the mixture into any suitable container for use.
Some things to keep in mind:
- Ensure that you are creating your hand sanitizer mixture in a clean environment that has been sanitized prior to use.
- Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly prior to creating mixture.
- You will be using a spoon and a whisk to mix the ingredients. Ensure that these items have also been properly cleaned and sanitized prior to use.
- Ensure that the alcohol that you are using to create mixture is not diluted.
- Ensure to mix all ingredients thoroughly until they are homogeneous and well-blended.
- Ensure to not touch the mixture until it is ready for use.
NOTE: For a larger batch of hand sanitizer, the World Health Organization (WHO) (Trusted Source) has a formula for a hand sanitizer that uses:
- isopropyl alcohol or ethanol
- hydrogen peroxide
- sterile distilled or boiled cold water
How to use hand sanitizer:
There are a few things to know when using hand sanitizer.
Prior to using hand sanitizer, make sure that your hands are not greasy or dirty. If possible, wash your hands prior to use of hand sanitizer. Furthermore, ensure that you are rubbing it into your skin until your hands are dry.
Here are some tips for ensuring you are properly using hand sanitizer:
- Apply the sanitizer to one of your hands
- Rub your hands together, ensuring that the liquid covers the entire surface of your palms, fingers, and hands.
- Continue to rub your hands together for until 30-60 seconds or when hands are dry. Experts state it takes at least 60 seconds, and at times longer, to ensure that you kill most germs on your hands.
What germs does hand sanitizer kill?
According to the CDC, hand sanitizers that meet the required alcohol percentage (above 60%) can reduce the number of malicious microbes on your hands.
There is also a number of disease-causing pathogens that it can help kill, including the new CoronaVirus SARS-CoV-2.
It is important to note though, that although hand sanitizer does have some limitations and does not kill ALL types of germs.
This is why it is recommended to ensure that your hands are not dirty or greasy when using hand sanitizer, and whenever possible to wash your hands!
Hand Washing vs. Hand Sanitizer
Although hand sanitizer is a great on-the-go way to ensure you keep your hands clean, washing your hands is the first recommendation of experts.
While both will help prevent germs from spreading, only use hand sanitizer if you are unable to wash your hands thoroughly.
It is always important to wash your hands at any of these events:
- Before eating
- After touching any surface that may be contaminated
- After using the restroom
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing of the nose
NOTE: The CDC lists specific instructions (Trusted Source) on the most effective way to wash your hands.
This is what they recommend:
- Always use clean, running water. (It can be warm or cold.)
- Wet your hands first, then turn the water off, and lather your hands with soap.
- Rub your hands together with the soap for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Turn the water on and rinse your hands. Use a clean towel or air dry.