Should You Make a DIY Hand Sanitizer?
Because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, certain supplies are running low in certain areas of the world. For example, hand sanitizer is in high demand in many places, and many people are finding it hard to get their hands on even a single bottle.
This can be a problem for many, especially since hand sanitizers can, at the very least, help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Thankfully, making a DIY hand sanitizer is relatively simple. Aroma Foundry has a collection of hand sanitizer recipes that include the use of essential oils.
How to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer
Making a hand sanitizer requires the use of a handful of basic ingredients:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Vitamin E oil
- Aloe vera gel or distilled water
- Essential oils
The glycerin and the vitamin E oil are there to make sure that the skin on your hands isn’t stripped of moisture, since alcohol can be quite drying. If you want to make a hand sanitizer gel, you can use aloe vera. If you’re more partial to a hand sanitizer spray, however, you can use distilled water instead.
The essential oils, meanwhile, are there to lend fragrance and an extra antimicrobial boost. It’s important to remember, however, that no essential oil has been proven to be effective against the novel coronavirus. Still, there are many essential oils that have been found to be effective against other infection-causing microbes.
Making a DIY hand sanitizer is as easy as simply measuring out all these ingredients and mixing them together. However, the most vital thing to keep in mind is the alcohol concentration.
The Importance of Alcohol Concentration
For a hand sanitizer to be effective against the novel coronavirus, it needs to have a final alcohol concentration of at least 60%. Thus, if you’ll be making hand sanitizer with a number of other ingredients, it’s best to use 91% to 99% isopropyl alcohol.
Below is an example of Aroma Foundry’s DIY hand sanitizer recipes. It’s an adaptation of sanitizer formulations recommended by the World Health Organization.
- 3/4 cup 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 10 drops essential oils
- 1/2 teaspoon 98% glycerin
- 3 drops vitamin E oil
If you use 91% isopropyl alcohol, you end up with a 67.47% final alcohol concentration. If you use 99% isopropyl alcohol, you end up with a 73.40% final alcohol concentration. Both concentrations are above the minimum 60% alcohol concentration, which means that this recipe will give you an effective homemade hand sanitizer.
Hand-Washing vs Hand Sanitizer
Then again, isn’t washing your hands with soap and water better than just using hand sanitizer? Yes, but people may end up in situations in which running water and soap are not easily accessible. A hand sanitizer with the right alcohol concentration will suffice in a pinch and will still be able to do its part in helping stem the spread of the virus.
However, according to recommendations by the CDC, a hand sanitizer will not work if your hands are greasy or visibly dirty. In this situation, proper handwashing with soap and water is far more effective.
So should you try to make your own hand sanitizer? You can, as long as you make sure that the final alcohol concentration is at least 60%. With that in mind, stay safe, stay indoors as much as possible, and let’s all keep our hands clean.