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Looking closely at the coronavirus fears and the current scarcity of hand sanitizers, PROPERLY SCRUBBING YOUR hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs and viruses, and to ensure you don’t get sick yourself. But if you don’t have access to soap and clean water, or if you’re out and about and nowhere near a sink, you should instantly learn how to make hand sanitizer and carry to protect your health.

Fear of the spread of the novel coronavirus has encouraged the public coast to coast and throughout the world to hoard various products — toilet paper, bottled water, canned goods and so on.

Experts tell me such behavior may not be entirely rational, but it’s certainly understandable.

It is ridiculous  to note that the hand sanitizer was one of the first products to vanish from both real-world and online store shelves, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says washing your hands with soap and water is generally more effective.

If you’re determined to give home-brew sanitizer a try, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Do your homework. There are lots of videos and recipes online right now.
    Check out a few different ones before starting your own project.
  • Make sure you hit the mark when it comes to 60% alcohol content. And use 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol, which is rubbing alcohol.
  • You can also use ethanol, a.k.a. ethyl alcohol, but it has to be the good stuff.
    Don’t use anything that’s less than 180 proof.
  • Give your hands plenty of time to dry. A big mistake many people make is squirting their hands and then wiping them off.
  • Don’t skimp on the aloe unless you want sandpaper for skin. If you stir essential oils into the mix, make sure they’re safe. And you’ll probably want to skip perfumes and dyes unless you know they won’t irritate you.

My advice? Wash your hands. A lot. There’s no better precaution.

What ingredients do you need to make a hand sanitizer?

Making your own hand sanitizer is easy to do and only requires a few ingredients:

  • isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent alcohol volume).
  • aloe vera gel
  • an essential oil, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead.

The key to creating a worthwhile, strong, germ-busting hand sanitizer is to stick to a 2:1 measure of alcohol to aloe vera. This keeps the alcohol content around 60 percent.
This is the minimum amount needed to kill most germs, according to the CDCTrusted Source.

How do you make your own hand sanitizer?

Please 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.

Dr. Rishi Desai, chief medical officer of Osmosis, and a former epidemic intelligence service officer in the division of viral diseases at the CDC, says that the hand sanitizer recipe below will kill 99.9 percent of germs after 60 seconds.

Hand sanitizer recipe

What you’ll need:

  • 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
  • 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
  • 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead

Directions:

  • Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
  • Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
  • Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”

Jagdish Khubchandani, PhD, associate professor of health science at Ball State University, shared a similar formula.

His hand sanitizer formula combines:

  • two parts isopropyl alcohol or ethanol (91 percent to 99 percent alcohol)
  • one part aloe vera
  • a few drops of clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, or other essential oil.

If you are making hand sanitizer at home, Khubchandani says to adhere to these tips:

  • Make the hand sanitizer in a clean space. Wipe down counter tops with a diluted bleach solution beforehand.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before making the hand sanitizer.
  • To mix, use a clean spoon and whisk. Wash these items thoroughly before using them.
  • Make sure the alcohol used for the hand sanitizer is not diluted.
  • Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until they are well blended.
  • Do not touch the mixture with your hands until it is ready for use.

For a larger batch of hand sanitizer, the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source has a formula for a hand sanitizer that uses:

  • isopropyl alcohol or ethanol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • glycerol
  • sterile distilled or boiled cold water

The bottom line

Hand sanitizer is a handy on-the-go way to help prevent the spread of germs when soap and water isn’t available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help keep you safe and reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

If you are having a hard time finding hand sanitizer at your local stores and handwashing isn’t available, you can take steps to make your own. You only need a few ingredients, such as rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and an essential oil or lemon juice.

Although hand sanitizers can be an effective way of getting rid of germs, health authorities still recommend handwashing whenever possible to keep your hands free of disease-causing viruses and other germs.

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