When times are tough – like right now, March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic – it pays to be extra careful with your personal hygiene. Today, our focus is hand sanitizer, especially since it can be one retail item especially hard to find during a crisis which, in turn, causes many people to buy more than they need, thus depriving others of such a bare necessity.
So, what do you do instead? You make your own – especially for all those times when you don’t have ready access to a sink, soap, and hot water.
Here are step-by-step instructions along with certain other things to keep in mind when mixing up a batch of hand sanitizer.
You will need:
- Aloe vera gel
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Essential oil of your choice (optional)
- Small bowl
- Clean, empty container such as a travel shampoo bottle
Mix one part aloe vera gel to two parts isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to measure carefully to avoid making a solution that is too strong for skin to handle or too weak to be effective. For a mixture with an alcohol content of 61%, measure 1/3 cup aloe and 2/3 cup of 99% isopropyl alcohol and whisk in a small bowl until blended. Add 3 drops of your favorite essential oils and mix well. Pour into a clean container and let sit for a minimum of 72 hours to kill off any bacteria that may have been introduced during the process.
Save the Vodka for your cocktail.
In order to create an effective hand sanitizer, the spirits in your liquor cabinet won’t do. That’s because their alcohol content is too low, many below 50%. Many viruses, including COVID-19, have an outer wrapping called an envelope which is susceptible to alcohol solutions between 60 – 90%. Anything below 60% won’t be strong enough to kill the enveloped virus.
When possible, wash your hands instead.
The CDC recommends, whenever possible, to wash hands with soap and warm water instead of using hand sanitizer, store bought or DIY. That’s because the act of hand washing removes dirt, grease, chemicals, and germs. Hand sanitizer is only effective against certain types of germs and viruses and does not aid in cleaning dirt and grime. In fact, it should only by applied on otherwise clean hands and must be rubbed onto hands until it has completely dried on the skin.
Yes, hand sanitizer comes in, well, handy – but it’s not the be all and end all many make it out to be.