Keeping yourself clean regularly is one of the primary ways you can fight against viruses and bacteria. Something this basic has become important recently because we’re currently living in a public health crisis. But the crisis has caused a surge in demand for cleaning products like rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizers. You might not even see shelves restocked at grocery stores and local pharmacies.
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You may still want to buy hand sanitizers instead but can’t seem to go out due to the health risks. Still, in today’s guide, we’ll be showing you how to make hand sanitizer at home so you won’t have to worry about the shortage in supply. For more survival guides, check out more on Survival Habit.
Are They Effective?
According to the US Center for Disease Control, the hand sanitizer must meet the minimum alcohol volume requirement to be effective. If you cannot wash your hands with good old soap and water, hand sanitizers are effective in killing the microbes on your hands. Sanitizers are also useful in destroying disease-causing agents and pathogens, such as the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
However, these sanitizers will also have their limits. It won’t be effective in killing certain types of microbes, such as the norovirus, cryptosporidium, and Clostridium difficile. It won’t be able to physically clean of dirt, grease, and other harmful chemicals. Please clean your hands with soap and clean running water instead.
Alcohol Content Matters
Whether it’s rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer, alcohol content matters. This is because it determines how effective it is in killing germs and viruses. Most rubbing alcohols and sanitizers use ethyl and isopropyl alcohol. According to the CDC, the alcohol content of a mixture must be at least 60% for it to be effective.
While the recipes in this guide will use alcohol as its main ingredient, you cannot use just any type of alcohol. The alcohol we’re going to use in our recipes should be 99% alcohol to achieve the minimum 60% content in the resulting hand sanitizer. This means that you cannot use liquor like vodka because they have lower alcohol content. That 80 proof on that bottle says that it is only 40% alcohol.
Staying clean and healthy is one way of keeping yourself safe from the coronavirus. Make sure to check out our guides for making your own disinfectant and a surgical mask at home.
DIY Sanitizer Recipes
These hand sanitizer recipes only require ingredients that can already be found at home. Before we proceed with these hand sanitizer recipes, make sure that you follow the ingredient list and procedures below. Make sure that your tools have also been adequately cleaned and sanitized. Otherwise, your home-made sanitizer will not be effective against disease-causing agents.
The World Health Organization also advises that you let your mixture sit for at least 72 hours after you are done. This gives your sanitizer mix enough time to kill any bacteria that might have been introduced during the process.
Quick Gel Recipe
The first recipe is a quick and easy one. The ingredients needed for this quick gel hand sanitizer can already be found in your medicine cabinet:
- 99% isopropyl alcohol
- Aloe vera gel
- Tea tree oil or lavender
- Mix two or three parts isopropyl alcohol to one part aloe vera gel
- Add some few drops of tea tree oil to give it a lovely scent
- Let the mixture sit for 72 hours before using
This mixture is based on the mix that was recommended by the WHO. Compared to the first recipe, this is less sticky and more potent:
- 99% isopropyl alcohol
- Glycerol or glycerin
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Distilled water
- Spray bottle
- Mix 12 fluid ounces of isopropyl alcohol to 2 teaspoons of glycerol
- Mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to the mixture
- Add three fluid ounces of distilled water. If distilled water is unavailable, you can boil water and cool it down
- Load the solution in spray bottles
- Let the mixture sit for 72 hours before using
Additional Notes on Making the Sanitizer
- If you are using alcohol with a lower concentration, use less water. Remember that we’re trying to achieve at least 60-75% alcohol content in the final mixture.
- You can add a splash of essential oil to your mixture so it can smell nice.
Frustrated with barbershops and salons closing down? Don’t worry! Check out our guides on how to cut men’s hair and remove acrylic nails at home.
Hand Washing vs. Using a Sanitizer
To protect yourself against diseases and infection, knowing when to wash your hands and when to use hand sanitizers is essential. While both methods serve a purpose, according to the CDC, washing your hands should also be the priority. You should only use hand sanitizers if soap and water are not available.
Aside from this, hand washing is better at removing dirt, grease, and harmful chemicals. It is also essential to wash hands during these situations:
- After going to the bathroom
- After sneezing, coughing, and blowing your nose
- Before eating
- After touching contaminated surfaces
Proper Hand Sanitizer Use
For a sanitizer to be effective, you should rub it into your skin until your hands are dry. Sources advise that home-made sanitizers should be used only by adults. This is because children may be more prone to improper hand sanitizer usage, causing a higher risk of injury. Below are the steps to properly use hand sanitizers:
- Spray or apply sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
- Thoroughly rub hands together. Make sure the sanitizers cover the entire surface of your hands and fingers.
- Continue rubbing your hands for 30 to 60 seconds or until they are dry. This is because it takes 60 seconds or longer for hand sanitizers to kill most germs.
Proper Hand Washing Procedure
The CDC and WHO have listed the most effective method in washing your hands. Follow these steps below:
- Use clean, running water. You can use warm or cold water.
- Wet your hands first and lather your hands with soap
- Rub your hands together with soap for at least 20 seconds. Make sure that you scrub every surface. These include the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your fingernails.
- Rinse the soap off entirely with running water
- Use a clean towel or air dry to dry off your hands
Keeping your hands clean is one of the essential ways to protect yourself against any infection, including the novel coronavirus. Remember always to keep your hands clean and sanitized regularly to lower the chances of contracting a disease.
Aside from this, it’s also important that you keep everything clean. This includes the rest of your body and the surfaces at your home. If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of COVID-19, please contact the nearest medical facility in your area.