What do you do when stores are out of hand sanitizer?
Make your own at home!
It's a lot easier than you think.
We’ve all heard it:
Proper hand hygiene is absolutely essential in preventing infectious germs.
In a perfect scenario, hand hygiene is best achieved using water and soap while following the 10 “handwashing steps” as highlighted by WHO.
But what happens where there is no water or soap?
Many leading health organizations recommend alcohol-based hand sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol as an ideal substitute.
However, sanitizers don’t work well for visibly dirty hands. You may have to clean your hands first before applying your sanitizer - which defeats the purpose.
Another downside is that sanitizers aren’t readily available right now because the production rate isn’t meeting the demand.
The good news, however, is that you can make your hand sanitizer at home using basic everyday ingredients.
Let’s look at a few different options.
Glycerin and aloe are both effective ingredients for making hand sanitizers.
A potent sanitizer should remain on your hands for at least 20 seconds before it evaporates away.
Normally, alcohol is the most abundant ingredient in sanitizer. The problem with that is that alcohol has a low boiling point at just 78 degrees Celsius.
So when you apply free pure alcohol to your hands for sanitizing, it evaporates rapidly - sometimes even before that 20-second duration that’s considered necessary for effectiveness.
Glycerin and aloe solve this problem.
When alcohol is combined with glycerin or aloe, it slows the evaporation of the mixture, making it stay on your hands longer, improving its efficacy.
However, sometimes alcohol just isn’t readily available - like now for instance.
So let’s look at how you can make an alcohol-free hand sanitizer easy.
If you’re against using alcohol (maybe for how drying it is) or there just isn’t any, here’s a good recipe:
Without alcohol, your hand sanitizer won’t be as strong as what is recommended, but it’ll still work to reduce germ count, and it’s better than using nothing at all.
Adding alcohol to your DIY homemade hand sanitizer improves its strength. So if it’s available, you should take advantage of it.
It works similar to any other type of hand sanitizer.
You can increase the amount of your sanitizer by using more of the ingredients. Just be sure to maintain the same proportions to avoid overdiluting.
According to the CDC, at least 60% alcohol is ideal for high potency hand sanitizers. The recipe with alcohol above meets that threshold.
The additional aloe gel plus essential oils with antimicrobial properties add to its overall microbicidal effect, improving its role in killing a wide range of viruses and bacteria.
There are three strengths of alcohol that can be used to make hand sanitizers.
Each strength requires specific amounts of aloe gel to be effective. If you are using the 99% rubbing alcohol, you’ll need roughly 1-part aloe for every 2 parts alcohol.
So if you have 1/3 cup of aloe gel, you’ll need 2/3 cups of 99% rubbing alcohol.
With 91% rubbing alcohol, you will have to add 3 parts alcohol to 4 parts aloe gel. Simply put, ¾ cup of alcohol is best mixed with ¼ cup of aloe gel when using 91% rubbing alcohol.
In like manner, 9 parts of alcohol are needed for 1-part aloe gel when using 70% alcohol.
And so forth.
Essential oils are popular ingredients in hand sanitizers. They can be used singly or in combination with other ingredients such as aloe gel, alcohol, and/or glycerin like we did above.
Some of the best essential oils to use include:
Tea tree is an effective antimicrobial agent that also adds a nice scent.
However, tea tree oil should be used carefully by diluting it with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. It is irritating to the skin when applied directly.
At least 12 drops of carrier oil are needed to reduce the irritative potential of 1 drop of tea tree oil.
If you use tea tree, be sure to avoid contact with the eyes.
There are organically certified lemon-based hand sanitizers that can kill close to 99.9% of known germs. These hand sanitizers typically don’t have alcohol or any chemicals that dry your skin out.
Still, many people prefer to use lemon oil in combination with other ingredients as opposed to using it on its own.
Lemon is rich in antioxidants and other antimicrobial properties, which is why it’s popular in hand sanitizers.
When you’re able, you should always wash your hands with soap and water instead of using sanitizer.
But of course that’s not always possible.
In such cases, hand sanitizers are an effective alternative. And when stores are short on stock, it’s time to DIY.
We hope showing you how to make hand sanitizer at home the easy way will ensure you always have some on hand when you need it most!