One of the best ways to stop germs and viruses is properly scrubbing your hand. And when you don't have access to soap and clean water, carrying a hand sanitizer is the way to protect your health.
But hand sanitizers are quickly selling out during this public health crisis. Yet, we do not have to worry as making our own hand sanitizer is remarkably easy, reports WIRED.
You just have to be careful you don't mess it up. Make sure that the tools you use for mixing are properly sanitized; otherwise you could contaminate the whole thing. Also, the World Health Organization recommends letting your concoction sit for a minimum of 72 hours after you're done. That way the sanitizer has time to kill any bacteria that might have been introduced during the mixing process.
We actually have two recipes for you, along with links to find the ingredients. The first is one you can make with stuff you likely already have in your cabinets and under the sink, so it's effective in emergency situations. The second recipe is more complex, but easy to make if you have the opportunity to do some shopping and planning ahead of time. Another note: A lot of these items are quickly going out of stock because of high demand. There's a higher chance of finding them at your local drug store, but your first priority is to stay indoors.
You're going to need some alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your sanitizer mix must be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective. But it's better to get way above that—aim for a minimum of 75 percent. A bottle of 99 percent isopropyl alcohol is the best thing to use. Your regular vodka and whiskey are too wimpy and won't cut it.
The Quick (Gel) Recipe
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Aloe vera gel
- Tea tree oil
Mix 3 parts isopropyl alcohol to 1 part aloe vera gel. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to give it a pleasant scent and to align your chakras.
The Better (Spray) Recipe
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Glycerol or glycerin
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Distilled water
- Spray bottle
The aloe mixture gets the job done, but aloe also leaves your skin annoyingly sticky. So, here's a recipe that's less sticky and more potent, based on the mix recommended by the WHO.
Mix 12 fluid ounces of alcohol with 2 teaspoons of glycerol. You can buy jugs of glycerol online, and it's an important ingredient because it keeps the alcohol from drying out your hands. If you can't find glycerol, proceed with the rest of the recipe anyway and just remember to moisturize your hands after applying the sanitizer.
Mix in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, then 3 fluid ounces of distilled or boiled (then cooled) water. (If you're working with a lower-concentration solution of rubbing alcohol, use far less water; remember, at least ¾ of your final mixture has to be alcohol.)
Load the solution into spray bottles—this isn't a gel, it's a spray. You can wet a paper towel with it as well and use that as a wipe.
If you must, you can add in a splash of essential oil to your concoction to make it smell nice. Just don't use lavender. Everyone else uses lavender, and your sanitizer is superior.
Some Coronavirus Tips
Whether you're stocked up on hand sanitizer or not, the CDC recommends that you:
- Wash your hands regularly: Again, nothing beats washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Hand sanitizer—even the real, professionally made stuff—should always be used when you're traveling or unable to wash your hands.
- Stay at home: Don't leave the house except for essential trips outside like trips to the grocery store or to see your doctor. This is also called sheltering in place.
- Stay at least 6 feet away from other people: This is called social distancing. Keeping your distance makes it hard for the virus to jump from someone else to you (or vice versa) through respiratory droplets. The White House also recommends avoiding gatherings of 10 or more people, which should be easy because you're staying at home.
- Wear a cloth face mask outside the house: The CDC now recommends everyone wear cloth face coverings when out in public where you may be near other people. Read our How to Make a CDC-Approved Cloth Face Mask (and Rules to Follow) guide to learn the benefit of a mask and how you should wear it. Kids under 2 years old should not wear a mask, nor should anyone who has difficulty breathing or taking it off. Do not buy or hoard medical-grade masks, like N95 masks. There is a massive shortage in the country, and the masks are needed by health care professionals.
- Avoid touching your face: You could transmit the virus from your hands into your mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces: Do it daily, especially if items or people leave or enter your home.