So, we went through this difficult period where hand sanitizers disappeared from the stores. Under these conditions, recipes for DYI hand sanitizer became very popular. Howver, is it better to make my homemade hand antiseptic or are there other options?
The first and most effective move for our safety suggested by all scientists is to wash our hands properly. Disinfectant should only be used when we do not have access to soap and water.
The problem with homemade disinfectants is that there is no way to verify their effectiveness. To be effective, a hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol. If you do not have the right concentration you may end up with something that is not effective or is too harsh on your hands. In the end all you will accomplish is waste of ingredients.
Recipes for DIY hand sanitizer
Most of the recipes on the market use a mixture of alcohol and Aloe Vera Gel, which is necessary to hydrate your skin because alcohol dehydrates it. In these recipes, the standard ratio is two parts alcohol to one part Aloe Vera gel. Even if you are precise with the recipe’s instructions, you may not be able to make an effective product.
This is because at home you cannot control how alcohol is diluted in the final product. If you don’t use enough gel, you can make a “hard” product that will cause dryness and irritation. On the other hand, if you don’t use enough alcohol, the final product won’t be as effective at killing microorganisms.
Another danger at home is infecting your product with bacteria, by using contaminated tools to mix it.
There are also recipes that suggest using vodka or other alcoholic beverages. You should avoid these. The reason is that most drinks are mixed with water, so if you mix a vodka e.g. 80 degrees with aloe, you will have a hand sanitizer that finally contains less than 40% alcohol.
What is the best solution?
So what should you do? Wash your hands. World Health Organisation suggests this as the best thing you can do now to protect yourself. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds, several times a day – after using the toilet, before and after eating, before and after food preparation, and when you touch something you suspect is not clean.
Also, avoid touching your face in general and even more when you have dirty hands. Most of the surfaces you touch during the day are covered by germs that can be carried to your body if you touch your eyes, mouth or nose.
When you do not have access to soap and water, prefer a ready-made hand sanitizer. If you can’t find one or want to make your own hand sanitizer, avoid any recipes that don’t use at least 60% alcohol. It is better than nothing but at the first opportunity wash your hands thoroughly.