When it comes to preventing the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19, nothing beats good old-fashioned handwashing.
But if water and soap aren’t available, your next best option, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Unless you have a stockpile of store-bought hand sanitizer, you’ll likely have a hard time finding any at a store or online right now. Due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus, most retailers can’t keep up with the demand for hand sanitizer.
All it takes is three ingredients to make your own hand sanitizer at home.
What ingredients do you need?
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 making an effective, germ-busting hand sanitizer is to stick to a 2:1 proportion of alcohol to aloe vera. This keeps the alcohol content around 60 percent. This is the minimum amount needed to kill most germs.
How do you make your own hand sanitizer?
CDC offers the hand sanitizer recipe below. It will kill 99.9 percent of germs after 60 seconds.
On hand ingredients:
- 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
- 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.”
If you are making hand sanitizer at home, 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.
If you have any questions, let us know. We are happy to help!
Assistant Director, Health Education and Wellness Promotion