In the last 10 years, liquid hand sanitizers-mostly gels based on alcohol-have enjoyed an explosion in popularity. If you’ve recently traveled by aircraft or set foot in a U.S. classroom, you’ve probably seen hand sanitizers in use.
Hand sanitizers may not serve as a replacement for extensive hand-washing. Instead, they are thought to bring consumers some of the benefits of handwashing when handwashing is not practical.
Epidemiological studies have not firmly established the relationship between manual sanitizer use and reduced disease, but several laboratory studies suggest that hand sanitizers help prevent infection by killing transient pathogenic bacteria.
Handwashing and hand sanitizers in various forms raising the microbial communities. Handwashing-whether done with “antibacterial” soap or plain soap-physically removes microorganisms from the skin, washing down the drain literally the live microbes. Hand sanitizers minimize rates of microorganisms by selectively destroying them even as disinfectants destroy germs on objects in the body.
How to make a home sanitizer for yourself at Home
Washing hands with soap and water kill germs and are the most effective way to stop the spread of germs.
But when soap and water aren’t available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using a hand sanitizer product with at least 60% alcohol.
Homemade hand sanitizer is not used in serious cases wherein the near future you can not wash your hands.
Improper ingredients or proportions can lead to:
- lack of efficacy, meaning that the sanitizer may not effectively eliminate the risk of exposure to some or all microbes
- skin irritation, injury, or burns
- exposure to hazardous chemicals via inhalation
There’s still no approved homemade hand sanitizer for babies. Children may be more vulnerable to excessive usage of the hand sanitizer, which can result in a greater chance of injuries.
What you’ll need:
- 1 part aloe vera gel or glycerin
- 2 part isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) with a concentration of 91%
- Essential oil, like lemon or lavender (this is an extra scent ingredient)
- Clean containers for mixing and an air-tight container for storage
- Spoon or whisk for mixing
- Combine the aloe vera gel or glycerin with the isopropyl alcohol in a clean container. To get one cup of sanitizer, combine ⅓ cup of gel or glycerin with ⅔ cup of rubbing alcohol.
- Mix thoroughly with your spoon or whisk to ensure an even distribution of the alcohol content throughout the gel.
- Stir in five drops of essential oil, if you’re using it. This is entirely optional and is only meant to improve the scent of the sanitizer.
- Store the sanitizer in an air-tight container. Alcohol ethanol evaporates with time, so an air-tight container will keep your sanitizer effective for longer. A pump or squeeze bottle can minimize evaporation while keeping your sanitizer easily accessible — just make sure the container for your sanitizer is clean and air-tight.
Jagdish Khubchandani, Ph.D., associate professor of health science at Ball State University, shared this hand sanitizing formula.
His hand sanitizer formula combines:
- 2 parts ethanol or isopropyl alcohol that has 91–99 percent alcohol in it.
- 1 part of aloe vera gel
- a few drops of eucalyptus, clove, peppermint, or other essential oil
If you’re at home doing a hand sanitizer, Khubchandani says to follow these tips:
- Give clear room to the hand sanitizer. Usually clean countertops down with a distilled bleach solution.
- Wash your hands properly until the hand sanitizer is made.
- Using a spare spoon and swirl around to blend. Wash completely certain things before using them.
- Make sure it doesn’t dilute the alcohol used for the hand sanitizer.
- Thoroughly combine all of the products so they are fully mixed.
- Do not touch the blend with your hands until it is ready to use.
The World Health Organization (WHO) Trusted Source provides a recipe for a hand sanitizer with a wider amount of hand sanitizer, which uses:
- Isopropyl alcohol or ethanol
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Sterile distilled or boiled cold water
How to use hand sanitizer
The CDC recommends using a hand sanitizer that includes at least 60 percent ethanol to remove certain disease-causing germs. Anything less than that may not work as well “for many types of germs,” and could “merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright,” the CDC says.
You can come across hand sanitizers that produce benzalkonium chloride, rather than alcohol while browsing the shelves. The CDC does not recommend these products, however, since “available evidence indicates that benzalkonium chloride has less reliable activity against certain bacteria and viruses” compared to alcohol-based sanitizers.
Two things you should be aware of when you use a hand sanitizer:
- You have to massage it onto your skin before you have your hands warm.
- If your hands are greasy or filthy, so you can first wash them with water and soap.
With that in mind, here are some tips for effective use of the hand sanitizer.
- Spray the sanitizer or apply it to the palm of one hand.
- Rub sanitizer in your hands thoroughly together. Make sure you protect your palms with all your fingertips all over the floor.
- Continue to massage for 30-60 seconds or until the hands are full. For hand sanitizer, it may take at least 60 seconds, and sometimes longer, to kill most germs.
What germs can hand sanitizer kill? Does Hand Sanitizer kills Virus
With the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s no wonder that many people are taking additional precautions to remain healthy, including keeping sprays, gels, and soaps for sanitization. Yet can hand sanitizers constitute the strongest protection against bacteria and viruses such as coronavirus and influenza?
In the hospital, they are useful to help prevent hospital personnel from transferring viruses and bacteria from one patient to another. It is very difficult to show, beyond a hospital setting, that hand sanitizing products are useful.
In the facility, the bulk of patients contract infectious infections through close interaction with those who still have them, so under such cases, hand sanitizers can do little. And it’s not been proven that they have more ability to clean than simply cleaning your hands with soap and water.
Only the latest hand sanitizers focused on alcohol, though, have drawbacks and don’t remove all sorts of germs.
According to the CDC, hand sanitizers won’t get rid of potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also not effective at killing the following terms:
- Cryptosporidium, which causes cryptosporidiosis
- Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff
Also, if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy a hand sanitizer may not work well. This can happen after eating, doing yard work, gardening, or playing a sport.
If your hands feel dusty or slimy, instead of using a hand sanitizer, opt for handwashing.
Could your hand sanitizer turn into a flammable disaster
Many people keep bottles stashed in all kinds of places, including their vehicles, but an image that has been recirculating on social media is serving as a reminder to be careful.
Hand sanitizer is also flammable. Although the CDC states that the frequency of fires related to alcohol-based hand sanitizer is “extremely small,” it urges clinics, nursing homes, and other health care facilities to properly store hand sanitizer away from ignition sources. Also, due to flammability concerns, the U.S. Postal Service has restrictions on shipping the alcohol-based hand sanitizer through the mail.
The flashpoint is the lowest temperature at which a substance can give off vapor into the air around it, which can be ignited by a spark or other source of ignition.
It’s true that the flashpoint of antibacterial gels is around 21°C. In the UK, Dettol antibacterial hand gel has a flashpoint of 24°C, and Carex antibacterial hand gels have flash points of between 22°C and 23°C.
At these temperatures, hand gel can release vapor that is flammable. So it’s true that alcoholic hand sanitizers are potentially flammable at these temperatures, but they’ll need an external source of ignition to catch fire.
But that doesn’t mean hand sanitizer left in a car that gets warmer than this will ignite on its own unless there is a spark.