When it comes to preventing the spread of any infectious disease, hand hygiene is of utmost importance in reducing disease transmission. By far, washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective form of hand hygiene.1 Yet washing your hands multiple times of day can be extremely drying to one’s skin and cumbersome, which makes the use of hand sanitizer a preferred method. Since the recent outbreak of the novel coronavirus, also known as the Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV-22), hand sanitizing products and other household disinfectants have been flying off the shelves, both in-person and online. If you can not find any in the stores or on Amazon, here is a simple way to make it at home.
First things first, the key ingredient: alcohol
According to the CDC, hand sanitizer should contain at least 60% alcohol.1 Alcohol kills viruses, bacteria, and fungi by denaturing, or altering, proteins.2 To make things simple, you can use isopropyl alcohol with a concentration of 91%-99%, also known as rubbing alcohol.3
Second add in an aloe vera gel
Alcohol can cause the skin to be extra dry, so adding aloe vera gel will help mitigate this problem. Additionally, it will help to dilute the alcohol percentage closer to 60% upon addition.
You can add a few drops of an essential oil of your choice, such as lavender or eucalyptus.3 Adding an essential oil of your choice can dampen the sometimes obvious smell of rubbing alcohol, in addition to all the other lovely benefits essential oils may have!
Putting it all together
When adding all of these ingredients it is key that the ratio of alcohol to aloe vera gel is 2:1, in order to make sure the concentration of alcohol is above 60%. Make sure prior to adding the alcohol that it is not diluted. In a clean space, using a clean whisk and spoon, add two parts alcohol, one part aloe vera gel, and a few drops of the essential oil of your choice.3
For larger quantities, see the World Health Organization’s Guide to Local Production: WHO-Recommended Handrub Formulations.
Lastly, alcohol-based hand sanitizers should be kept out of reach of young children, as they can cause alcohol poisoning upon ingestion.1
- When and How to Wash Your Hands | Handwashing | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html. Published April 2, 2020. Accessed April 2, 2020.
- Chemical Disinfectants | Disinfection & Sterilization Guidelines | Guidelines Library | Infection Control | CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection-methods/chemical.html. Published April 4, 2019. Accessed April 2, 2020.
- How to Make Hand Sanitizer: A Step-by-Step Guide. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-make-hand-sanitizer. Accessed April 2, 2020.