Nothing is better than conventional handwashing in the fight against the transmission of diseases such as the virus that has led to the current ongoing pandemic. However, suppose soap and water aren’t in your vicinity. In that case, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the most effective option is to utilize an alcohol-based hand cleanser that is at least 60 % alcohol. Penguin Health offers a 70% alcohol and aloe infused hand sanitizer that’s made in Canada and is Health Canada approved

If you don’t have a stash of hand sanitizers available near you, you’ll probably have difficulty finding it in a shop or on the internet today. Due to the rapid growth of the virus that is currently in the news, most retailers cannot keep on top of the need for hand soap and hand sanitizer. In such a situation, you can create your own 3-component hand sanitizer at home.

What are the components you require?

Jagdish Khubchandani PhD, an assistant professor in health sciences at Ball State University, shared his formula for hand sanitizer. It combines:

  • Two parts isopropyl ethanol or two parts isopropyl alcohol (91-99 percentage alcohol)
  • 1 part aloe vera gel
  • A few drops of clove, peppermint, eucalyptus, or another essential oil

To make an effective and germ-killing hand sanitizer,  sticking to a 2:1 ratio of aloe vera to alcohol is the most important thing. The alcohol content is kept at about 60%, which is the minimum amount required to kill a majority of germs, as per the CDC.

When you’re creating hand sanitizer at home, Khubchandani says to adhere to these guidelines:

  • Use an area with no dirt. Wipe the countertops clean with a bleach solution that has been diluted before you start.
  • Cleanse your hands thoroughly before making the hand sanitizer.
  • Mix using a clean mixing spoon or whisk. Make sure to wash these items before making use of them.
  • Check that the alcohol you use to make the hand sanitizer isn’t diluted.
  • Mix all ingredients thoroughly until the ingredients are well mixed.
  • Do not touch the mix with your hands until the mixture is ready to use.

To make a bigger batch of hand sanitizer, the World Health Organization (WHO) has a formula for hand sanitizer made of:

  • Isopropyl alcohol or ethanol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Glycerol
  • Sterile, distilled or boiled water.

How to make use of hand sanitizer ?

To use hand sanitizer efficiently, first apply the spray or gel onto the palm. Make sure you thoroughly rub your hands together and that you completely cover the area of your hand as well as all of your fingers. Keep rubbing for 30-60 seconds or until your hands are dry. It could take as long as 60 seconds but occasionally it can take longer for the hand sanitizer to eliminate most germs. If your hands are oily or dirty, it is recommended to clean them with water and soap.

Are DIY hand sanitizers safe?

DIY hand sanitizer recipes are all over the web these days. But are they safe? Hand sanitizers made at home are only advised in the most extreme circumstances where you cannot clean your hands in other ways. Unsanctioned ingredients or improper proportions could result in:

  • Ineffectiveness; meaning that the product may not be effective in reducing any risk of exposure to one or all microbes
  • Skin irritation, injury, or burns
  • Exposure to harmful chemicals via inhalation

Homemade hand sanitizer is not advised for children as they are more susceptible to misuse of the sanitizer, which could result in more chances of injuries.

What kind of germs can hand sanitizers eradicate?

According to the CDC, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that meets the alcohol requirement will quickly decrease the number of microbes present on your hands. It also helps to eliminate many pathogens, or agents that cause disease, from your hands, such as the current virus. But even the most effective hand sanitizers have their limits and can’t eliminate all kinds of bacteria. For example, they’re not effective in getting rid of Cryptosporidium, which  is the cause of cryptosporidiosis.  Also, as per the CDC, hand sanitizers don’t eliminate hazardous chemicals.  They might also not be effective when your hands appear to be filthy or oily, like after eating, garden work, or even playing sports. In that case, you should opt for handwashing over hand sanitizer.

Hand washing in contrast to hand sanitizer:

Knowing when to clean your hands with sanitizer and when hand washing may be more beneficial is essential in order to avoid being infected by the new virus and other diseases, such as the common cold and the seasonal flu. Both serve the same function but hand washing with soap and water must always be your top priority, as per the CDC’s recommendation. Use hand sanitizer only if soap and water aren’t available in any situation. 

The CDC offers specific guidelines regarding the most efficient method to clean your hands. The CDC recommends these steps:

  • Always use clean, flowing water. (It could be cold or warm.)
  • Lather your hands with soap.
  • Rub your hands together with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds. Be sure you scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers as well as underneath your nails.
  • Turn on the water and wash your hands. Utilize a clean towel, or dry them with a blow dryer.


Bottom line:

Hand sanitizers are a convenient portable method to prevent the transmission of bacteria in situations where soap and water aren’t available. In addition, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are a great way to protect you during the current ongoing pandemic and limit the transmission of the latest virus. If you have difficulty finding hand sanitizer at your local store and hand washing isn’t readily available, you could create your own hand sanitizer with only a few ingredients. While hand sanitizers are an effective method of eliminating bacteria, health experts continue to recommend hand washing at all times to ensure that your hands are free of viruses that cause disease and other bacteria.

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