Traditional hand wash can be the best way to prevent the spread of pandemic diseases like the novel coronavirus. But in case, soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizer can be the next best option according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hand sanitizers are easily available at online and retail shops. However, due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, there is a shortage of hand sanitizer. To solve this problem, here is a guide on how to make hand sanitizer at home. Read this article to understand what are the ingredients and techniques you should follow for DIY Hand Sanitizer.
Hand Washing vs Sanitizing
The key to keeping yourself protected from the new virus and also from other illnesses like seasonal flu and common cold is to understand when it is best to wash the hands with soap and water and when these sanitizers can be helpful.
For best results, CDC advises cleaning your hands with soap and water as a priority and only use sanitizing gels when soap and water are not available. Always wash your hands:
- After using a washroom
- Before Eating
- After touching the surfaces that can be contaminated
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing nose
Here are some most effective methods to wash your hands:
- Always use clean running water (It can be cold or warm)
- Wet your hands and turn off the water.
- Lather your hands using a soap
- Rub both the hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Also, ensure that scrub the back of the hands, under the nails and between the fingers.
- Turn on the water and rinse your hands
- Use a clean towel to dry your hands.
Are Hand Sanitizers Effective?
According to the CDC, alcohol-based sanitizer that meets the minimum alcohol volume requirement can easily eliminate the microbes present on your hands. It can also kill a huge variety of disease-causing pathogens or agents such as novel coronavirus, SARS COV-2.
However, the sanitizers have limitations and they cannot completely eliminate harmful chemicals and cannot destroy all the germs. These alcohol based antimicrobial gels may not be not effective in killing germs like Cryptosporidium, norovirus, and clostridium difficile.
Moreover, the sanitizers may not be effective if your hands are greasy or dirty. It may happen when you are working in the yard, playing a sport, gardening, or preparing food. For slimy or dirty hands, you should choose to wash your hands with soap and water instead of using a hand sanitizer.
How to Make Hand Sanitizer?
According to the doctors and medical experts, the below recipe of hand sanitizer can kill almost 99.9% germs in about sixty seconds.
To make hand sanitizer at your home, you require some ingredients:
- Aloe vera gel
- Rubbing alcohol or Isopropyl (99% alcohol volume)
- Essential oil like lavender or tree oil. Alternatively, you can also use lemon juice
To make an effective germ-busting gel, you should keep 2:1 of alcohol to the aloe vera gel ratio. This will make the alcohol content in the mixture around 60%. This is the minimum amount of alcohol required to kill most of the germs according to the CDC.
Recipe of Hand Sanitizer
- 3/4 cups of rubbing or isopropyl alcohol
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera. It helps make your hands smooth and also prevents alcohol harshness.
- 10 drops of essential oil, like lavender or tree oil. You can also use lemon juice
- Pour all the above ingredients into one bowl.
- Blend it with the help of a spoon and whisk it until the mixture changes into a gel.
- At last, pour it into the vacant bottle for use. You can write “Hand Sanitizer” on the bottle to recognize it easily.
When making sanitizer at home, you should follow the following tips:
- Use a clean space to make hand sanitizer. Wipe the counter place with the solution of diluted bleach before you start.
- Wash your hand properly before making the sanitizer.
- Use a clean whisk or spoon to mix it. Wash all the things before using
- Ensure that you are not using diluted alcohol to make hand sanitizer
- Blend all the ingredients thoroughly
- Don’t touch the solution until it is fully ready
Is it Safe or Not?
Are the DIY hand sanitizer recipes safe to use or not? All the recipes explained above are safe to use as per the resources and experts’ advice.
But it is recommended to use the homemade hand sanitizer only in extreme conditions when soap or ready made sanitizer is not available. Moreover, the wrong proportions of ingredients can cause:
- Injury, burns, or skin irritation
- Lack of effectiveness, it means sanitizers may not completely reduce the risk of exposure to microbes
- Exposure to dangerous chemicals through inhalation
Also, this type of hand sanitizer is not recommended for kids. Because they may use it inappropriately, resulting in higher injury risk.
How to Use the Hand Sanitizer?
While using a homemade hand sanitizer, you should remember two important things.
- You need to rub the sanitizer on your skin until your hands are dry.
- In case your hands are dirty or greasy, wash them with water and soap.
With this in mind, you can use alcohol based hand washing gel effectively by following these steps:
- Apply or spray the hand sanitizer to the palm of your hand
- Then rub your both hands together. Make sure to cover all your fingers and whole hand surface
- Keep rubbing it for at least 30 to 60 seconds or until your hands are dry. It can take 60 seconds or even more for the sanitizers to destroy all the germs.
Hand sanitizer can be used as an on the go method to protect yourself from germs when washing hands with water and soap are not possible. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help you stay safe and reduce the COVID-19 spread. If hand sanitizers are not available in the local stores, you can follow the above-mentioned guide on how to make homemade hand sanitizer. A hand sanitizer can be an effective way to reduce germs.
Also Read: 18 myths about novel coronavirus