Having trouble finding hand sanitizer at your local store amid the current pandemic? You’re certainly not the only one!
Stores are having a hard time keeping up with the demand since everyone on the planet is currently in need of hand sanitizer. Keeping our hands clean is the number one thing we can all do to prevent the spreading of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 which is the virus that causes COVID-19.
The great thing about hand sanitizer is that it can be made at home quite easily and only requires 3 ingredients!
You want to make sure your homemade hand sanitizer is effective! There are plenty of recipes going around that end up diluting the alcohol content to below 60%. The World Health Organization has suggested we be using a minimum of 60% alcohol content to kill SARS-CoV-2. This can be achieved by using a 2:1 ratio of alcohol to aloe as long as your IP or rubbing alcohol is 91% or higher.
If you need more help understanding how ratios and dilution work please scroll to the bottom of the article.
Before you get started it’s important to wash your hands, work station, and materials thoroughly.
Hand Sanitizer Recipe
What Will I Need (links to items in the list below)?
¼ cup Aloe Vera Gel
10 drops of an essential oil of choice (peppermint, tea tree, lavender etc.) or you can use a few drops of lemon juice
Bottle(s) (Total Volume: 1 cup / 250 ml / 8 oz )
1. Combine all of the above ingredients into a bowl.
Note: If you have a bowl with a spout (such as a glass measuring cup) it will make step 4 a little easier
2. Mix all of the ingredients together with a spoon
3. Use a wire whisk to beat the ingredients until a gel consistency is formed
4 . Pour into an empty bottle(s) for easy use (Don’t forget to label it)
Tips for using Hand Sanitizer
If your hands are dirty – wash them first with soap and water
Make sure you rub hand sanitizer in until your hands are dry
Make sure you rub it into the entirety of your hands and fingers
It takes a little longer than 60 seconds to kill most germs so it’s important not to wash your hands or touch anything for 1-2 minutes after using hand sanitizer
Understanding How Alcohol Content/Ratios Work
It can be rather overwhelming to understand if your hand sanitizer is meeting the 60% alcohol content requirements to kill SARS-CoV-2. I am going to try to make this as easy as possible for anyone to understand.
60% alcohol content does not just mean that the IP or rubbing alcohol you use as your main ingredient needs to be 60% alcohol based. It means that you need a final product with at least 60% alcohol content. When you add more volume into something it dilutes the alcohol content down.
A lot of recipes have been calling for 70% IP or rubbing alcohol but it is near impossible to make an effective hand sanitizer using 70% IP or rubbing alcohol.
If the ratio is 1:1 then that means for every 1 part of alcohol you would add an equal part of aloe.
Example: 1 cup of hand sanitizer would require ½ cup alcohol and ½ cup aloe
If that ratio is 2:1 then that means for every 2 parts of alcohol you would add half that amount in aloe.
Example: 1 cup of hand sanitizer would require 2/3 cup of alcohol and 1/3 cup aloe
If the ratio is 3:1 then that means for every 3 parts of alcohol you would add one third the amount of aloe.
Example: 1 cup of hand sanitizer would require ¾ cup alcohol and ¼ cup aloe
To make this as easy as possible to understand, let’s say the recipe called for ½ cup of alcohol and ½ cup of aloe (or a 1:1 ratio). If you were to use IP that contained 70% alcohol and you add in ½ cup of aloe containing 0% alcohol, your finished product would only contain 35% alcohol. If you were to use the same recipe with IP that contains 91% alcohol then you would end up with a finished product containing only 45.5% alcohol.
It is imperative that you use a minimum 91% alcohol based content as your main ingredient and stick with a minimum 2:1 ratio! 91% with a 2:1 ratio would bring the total content to 60.67%. Keep in mind that the 10 drops of oil or lemon juice will slightly dilute that percentage a little bit more but the amount will be very minimal.
I’d love to hear about your favorite essential oils or consistencies that you find works best for you in the comments below! Any tips and suggestions are more than welcome and always encouraged!