A massive virus outbreak suddenly hit the world. It was then when we realized the significance of the good old-fashioned handwashing. Undoubtedly, nothing beats hand hygiene in the fight against infectious diseases like COVID-19.
However, if water and soap aren’t available, your next best shot is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Under CDC’s directions, such products must contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be efficient.
Today, most retailers can’t keep up with hand sanitizer demand as the new coronavirus spreads fast. Luckily, you need only three ingredients to make homemade hand sanitizer gel. Keep reading to find out how.
Table of Contents
- 1 How Effective Are Hand Sanitizers?
- 2 Is It Safe To Make Your Own Hand Sanitizers?
- 3 How To Make Hand Sanitizer At Home?
- 4 How To Use A Hand Sanitizer Properly?
- 5 Hand Sanitizer Efficiency Vs. Handwashing
- 6 What Germs Does A Hand Sanitizer Remove?
- 7 Comparing Different Homemade Sanitizers
- 8 Final Words
- 9 FAQs
How Effective Are Hand Sanitizers?
The best way to prevent yourself from the novel coronavirus is by washing your hands with plain soap and water. By doing so, you also stop the spread of infections around and reduce the risk of getting sick. Still, if you have no soap and water nearby, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Overall, you have to be wary of several things before rubbing disinfectant into your hands. Remember the following:
1. Avoid alcohol-free formulations. CDC recommends that you refrain from alcohol-free hand sanitizers, as they may not serve the purpose. Such products do not remove many germs. Instead, they only reduce their growth without eliminating them thoroughly.
2. Skin dryness. Several sanitizers available on the market may not treat your skin gently. Hence, the disadvantage of sanitizers is their drying property. Most alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain glycerin to prevent skin dehydration and dryness. Also, moisturizers like aloe vera can replace part of the water that alcohol takes away.
3. Application method. When using hand antiseptic, ensure you take the proper amount. You need to take enough to cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they’re dry.
4. Stay away from ‘antibacterial’ products. Don’t confuse antibacterial soaps and body washes with hand sanitizer. These products contain ingredients that may be harmful and don’t have proven effectiveness. Such chemicals may also give rise to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, unlike the alcohol in hand antiseptics.
In case you want to read more on disinfectants, check out the following 20 homemade cheap cleaning products.
Is It Safe To Make Your Own Hand Sanitizers?
Unless you have a stockpile of commercial disinfectant for hands, you’ll probably have a hard time finding any. Of course, since you desperately need it, you’ll turn to make one on your own. Today, there are hundreds of DIY hand sanitizer recipes on the internet. The only question is whether they are safe.
First, you should be aware that only professionals can create a proper disinfectant solution. Such people have both the knowledge and resources to make a safe homemade hand sanitizer gel. Again, note that DIY antiseptics are best suited in extreme situations when you cannot wash your hands.
Most importantly, improper ingredients can lead to severe implications. Even the wrong proportions can damage your health. Overall, you should take note of the following risks:
· Lack of efficiency since the sanitizer may not eliminate the risk of exposure to certain microbes.
· Skin dehydration, irritation, or burns.
· Exposure to dangerous chemicals if you inhale them.
Homemade hand sanitizers are also not suitable for children. Since children may sanitize their hands improperly, it’s better to avoid it altogether. Instead of doing good, inappropriate use may lead to a greater risk of injury.
Homemade hand sanitizers shouldn’t be given to children unless they’re prepared by a professional. It’s best to make sure your little ones wash their hands properly with water and soap.
How To Make Hand Sanitizer At Home?
Suppose you couldn’t snap up a few bottles of hand sanitizer before stores sold out. Well, it’s not the end of the world. You can still make your own without much fuss at a fraction of the cost. Just like you can save money on beauty products, you can save cash on hand sanitizer, too. Plus, all the necessary ingredients are available in drug stores and most grocery stores.
Ingredients Needed To Make A Hand Sanitizer
Making a homemade hand sanitizer spray with alcohol is easy and requires a few ingredients only. Ensure you have the items listed below before you start mixing:
· 2/3 of 99 percent rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol or ethanol).
· 1/3 of aloe vera gel.
· Several drops of essential oil like tea tree or lavender oil. Some people use lemon juice instead.
· Bowl and spoon.
· Bottle with a pump dispenser.
The key to obtaining a potent, germ-busting hand antiseptic is to stick to the 2:1 proportion of alcohol to aloe vera. By doing so, you keep the alcohol content around 60 percent, which is the minimum needed to kill most germs.
Also, avoid using products that contain a lower percentage of alcohol (e.g., 70% alcohol). If this is the case, you must increase the ratio of alcohol in the recipe, or it won’t be enough to kill the virus.
Moreover, be aware of ingredients that don’t sterilize. You may find different recipes online, but WHO recommends only the components outlined in their approved sanitizer recipe. For instance, a homemade hand sanitizer with vodka will not be efficient because vodka contains about 40% alcohol.
Directions For Making A Hand Sanitizer
If you decide to make hand antiseptic at home, there are several aspects you should bear in mind. Specifically, it’s essential to adhere to these steps during preparation:
1. Hand sanitizer must get prepared in a thoroughly clean space. Hence, wipe down any countertops you’ll work on with a diluted bleach solution.
2. Have all ingredients ready. Also, measure the needed amounts of rubbing alcohol, aloe vera, and essential oils.
3. Before starting the procedure, wash your hands thoroughly.
4. Add all ingredients into a bowl. Mix them with a clean spoon and whisk, washed thoroughly before used.
5. Keep mixing until all ingredients become well-blended.
6. Pour the mixture into the spray bottle. Use the funnel to carefully pour your DIY hand sanitizer into the container of your choice.
7. Screw the top of the bottle tight, and begin using. Alcohol evaporates with time, so air-tight containers will keep the sanitizer effective for longer.
The most crucial thing is to never touch the mixture with your hands until ready for use. Also, since alcohol is the key ingredient in hand sanitizer, it can substitute the aloe vera gel. All in all, it’s paramount to keep the alcohol in the final product at least 60%.
How To Use A Hand Sanitizer Properly?
Any natural hand sanitizer can be runnier than commercially-made ones. If you find it challenging to use, use a squeeze or pump container to use your homemade antiseptic without spilling. For maximum efficiency, bear in mind the following things when using hand sanitizer:
· Rub or spray the antiseptic into your skin, coating all surfaces. Continue to rub until your hands dry, which takes about 20 seconds. Sometimes it takes longer for the sanitizer to kill most germs.
· If your hands are visibly greasy or dirty, wash them first with soap and water. In such cases, antiseptics have little effect.
· Using the correct amount is crucial. WHO recommends applying a ‘coin-sized amount’ of gel. In short, apply enough hand sanitizer to cover both sides of your hands and between your fingers.
· Stop using any sanitizer if your hands become irritated. For mild irritation, apply a skin moisturizer.
· Don’t underestimate proper storage, too. Keep your hand sanitizer in a cool, dry location and further from direct sunlight and heat. Keep it beyond the reach of children.
Making your own hand sanitizer can help you avoid the crowds and even save some money. However, it’s essential to use it appropriately and make sure you follow the instructions.
Hand Sanitizer Efficiency Vs. Handwashing
Understanding when it’s best to wash your hands and when to use sanitizers is crucial. Using the right disinfectant strategy at the right place and time can protect you from the new coronavirus. Additionally, it will keep illnesses, like the common cold and seasonal flu, further away.
While both are imperative, hand washing with soap and water should always be a priority. Use hand antiseptic when soap and water aren’t available in specific situations.
It’s also essential to wash your hands in the following instances:
· After each use of the bathroom.
· Before and after meals.
· After blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing.
· After touching contaminated surfaces.
The CDC outlines specific directions on the most effective way to wash your hands. It’s best to follow the steps below:
1. Always use clean, running water. It won’t make any difference if the water is cold or warm.
2. First, wet your hands and then lather them with soap.
3. Rub your hands together with the soap applied for at least 20 seconds.
4. Don’t forget to scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
5. Rinse the soap off. Use air dry or a clean towel.
Certain situations require the use of a hand sanitizer. Such instances may include when you’re using public transportation or have shaken hands or touched an animal. Also, hand disinfectants are appropriate when you’re in busy shops, airports or after you use grocery carts.
What Germs Does A Hand Sanitizer Remove?
Any sanitizer that contains the stipulated alcohol proportion will serve its purpose. It can quickly reduce and even kill all the microbes and pathogens on your hands. Hand antiseptics help destroy a wide range of disease-causing agents, including the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.
Yet, even the best homemade hand sanitizer spray with alcohol has limitations and doesn’t eliminate all germs. According to the CDC, hand sanitizers cannot eliminate specific harmful chemicals. Alcohol-based gels are also not effective at killing the following germs:
· Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff,
· Cryptosporidium, which causes cryptosporidiosis.
Last, a hand sanitizer wouldn’t work well if your hands are visibly dirty. Expect significant dirt after working with food, doing yard work, or playing a sport. If your hands look dirty or slimy, go for handwashing instead of antiseptic gels.
Comparing Different Homemade Sanitizers
You may be perplexed to learn the number of harmful ingredients in standard hand sanitizers. Contrary to what most of us believe, antiseptics are not always just alcohol and aloe vera. If you read the ingredients list on the back of any gel bottle, you’ll spot many potentially harmful chemicals.
Hence, your best shot is to opt for a product made in your kitchen. Apart from being safe, it’s reliable coronavirus money advice that will save you some cash. Here are a few hacks you should take into account when preparing a homemade hand sanitizer spray.
With Or Without Alcohol
Overall, there are two types of hand sanitizer, alcohol-based and alcohol-free. Those who use alcohol-based hand sanitizer do so because of its prolonged efficacy. The other half vouching for alcohol-free hand sanitizers prefer it because it protects the skin without drying it.
Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer
First, alcohol-based hand sanitizers contain between 60 and 65% alcohol. When compared to other types, they have remarkable properties since they kill 99.9% of germs. The higher the amount of alcohol, the more pathogens you will eliminate. Your hands will be clean and refreshed with the fragrance of the smell.
Researchers have proven that sanitizers with a higher concentration of alcohol are more effective than those with lower alcohol content. Unlike non-alcoholic ones, these are a true germ killer.
Moreover, pocket-sized sanitizers are safe and easy to carry. Hence, this type of alcohol-based antiseptic is perfect for traveling purposes. Besides, the FDA has shown that alcohol-based gels reduce most flu-like contagious diseases and infections.
Antiseptics that contain alcohol make use of the friction phenomenon. Due to the large percentage of alcohol, such gels have a shallow boiling point. So, when you rub it on your palms, it generates warmness due to friction. The generated heat evaporates the alcohol and takes germ particles with it.
Conversely, alcohol-based gels can dry the skin. If you have such issues, go for alcohol-based hand sanitizers with moisturizer content. If you spare some time to investigate, you’ll find many such antiseptics in the market.
Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizer
Studies have shown that most alcohol-free hand sanitizers might not kill all germs, bacteria, and viruses. Instead of alcohol, alcohol-free hand sanitizers contain quaternary ammonium compounds to diminish microbes. These agents are less effective in the fight against disease-carrying pathogens.
The good news is that alcohol-free hand antiseptics do not cause skin dryness. Such gels are without fragrance and create little foam after rubbing. Most alcohol-free hand sanitizers include water-based foam.
Also, most alcohol-free hand disinfectants contain a 0.1% portion of Benzalkonium. The other ingredients are mainly water, skin conditioner, and vitamin E for moistening purposes. These solutions are typically kinder to your skin. Also, fire hazards are less likely, and users report no damage to surfaces.
With Or Without Aloe Vera Gel?
People have been using aloe vera for ages for medicinal purposes. The most significant upside of aloe vera is that it is a natural hand sanitizer that bears no or minimal side effects. Aloe is omnipresent, less expensive, and 100 percent biodegradable. Most importantly, aloe doesn’t harm the environment.
The purpose of the aloe vera gels is to protect the skin against the drying effects of alcohol. In a word, it’s a humectant, which locks in moisture. Sanitizer producers may sometimes use other humectants such as glycerin or hand lotion instead of aloe.
If you decide to make hand sanitizer with aloe, use a 2:1 ratio of alcohol to aloe vera. Alcohol is the ingredient that kills germs. Yet, aloe’s soothing qualities make it an essential component of any antiseptic. Since alcohol can be harsh, adding aloe vera will keep your skin soft and less irritated. It can also help the alcohol last longer.
The only reason why you wouldn’t use aloe is if you’re allergic to it or you can’t stand the smell. If you wonder how to make hand sanitizer with aloe vera, the answer is right here. Finally, remember to use the third ingredient or essential oils. All three components combined are necessary for killing germs and protecting your hands.
Hand sanitizing is a popular on-the-go method that prevents germs from spreading when you have no soap and water nearby. Alcohol-based disinfectants can keep you safe and decrease the impact of the new coronavirus.
Overall, if you’re out of luck when looking for hand sanitizer and handwashing isn’t available, you can make your own. You’ll need a few ingredients, including rubbing alcohol, aloe vera, and essential oils. Though hand antiseptics are effective in getting rid of microbes, health authorities recommend hand washing whenever possible. Keeping your hands free of disease-causing viruses is the only way to stay safe and healthy.
How do you make hand sanitizer fast and easy?
Measure two-thirds of rubbing alcohol into a measuring cup and pour it into the mixing container. Measure one-third of aloe vera and add it to the mixing bowl. Adding essential oils is not mandatory, but if you prefer a scented antiseptic, splash several drops of your preferred one. Stir the ingredients and let the mixture sit for a while. Funnel the freshly-made solution into an empty soap dispenser or a bottle of hand sanitizer and store it for use.
What are the ingredients in hand sanitizer?
Efficient hand disinfectants contain three essential ingredients. The most crucial element is isopropyl alcohol or ethanol, with 91 to 99% alcohol. The second important ingredient is aloe vera gel. Last, most antiseptics contain eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, or other essential oils. Note that commercial products may also include harmful chemicals.
Can too much hand sanitizer be harmful?
There’s no academic evidence that hand sanitizers can damage your overall health. Often, if you overuse antiseptics, the alcohol can cause minor skin irritation. Using hand sanitizer frequently dries your palms and can make them crack and bleed.
Is it harmful to eat with hands right after using hand sanitizer?
Using a hand sanitizer before meals and generally when handling food is considered safe. However, drinking even a tiny amount of sanitizer can cause alcohol poisoning in children. Conversely, there is no need to be concerned if your children eat with or lick their hands after using hand sanitizer.