If you live in the UK, you’ll be well aware how difficult it is right now to purchase hand sanitizer or antibacterial gel as panic buying has well and truly set in. I wanted to share a DIY hand sanitizer easy tutorial, for those that perhaps haven’t been able to purchase an antibacterial hand gel but still want to protect yourself against the Coronavirus, and other viruses going around right now.
What is a hand sanitizer?
Hand sanitizer is a liquid generally used to decrease infectious agents on the hands. Formulations of the alcohol-based type are preferable to hand washing with soap and water in most situations in the healthcare setting. Hand sanitizers are a convenient and easy way to clean your hands whilst on the go, if you’re unable to wash your hands with soap and water, for example on public transport.
According to an FDA ruling in 2019, a product can be marketed as being a hand sanitizer if it contains ethyl alcohol aka ethanol, isopropyl alcohol or benzalkonium chloride as the active ingredient. The FDA are yet to decide whether to categorise these ingredients as ‘generally recognised as safe’ because the agency doesn’t think there’s enough research to say either way. Ingredients other than those three have shown little to no evidence of being effective at killing germs and have not won the FDA’s approval.
How does a hand sanitizer work?
According to Live Science, the key ingredient within any hand sanitizer or antibacterial hand gel is alcohol. Alcohols destroy disease-causing agents, or pathogens, by breaking apart proteins, splitting cells into pieces or messing with a cell’s metabolism, according to a 2014 review published in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews.
Solutions with as little as 30% alcohol have some pathogen-killing ability, and the effectiveness increases with increasing alcohol concentration. Studies have shown that alcohol kills a more broad variety of bacteria and viruses when the concentration exceeds 60%, and it works faster as the concentration increases. But the effectiveness of alcohol seems to top out at about a 90-95% concentration.
When will a hand sanitizer not work?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs. Alcohol doesn’t work for all germs, such as norovirus; Clostridium difficile, which can cause life-threatening diarrhea; or Cryptosporidium, a parasite that causes a diarrheal disease called cryptosporidiosis, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Hand sanitizers also don’t remove harmful chemicals like pesticides or heavy metals, nor does hand sanitizer work well on especially dirty or greasy hands. So, soap and water still win the contest overall.
DIY Hand Sanitizer Easy Tutorial
It is actually very easy to make your own hand sanitizer, which is ideal right now considering you can’t just walk into your local pharmacy or supermarket and purchase one as they’re so high in demand. So what do you need to make your own antibacterial hand gel?
- 2/3 cup 99% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or 190-proof grain alcohol
- 1/3 cup pure aloe vera gel (preferably without additives)
- 8 to 10 drops essential oil, such as lavender, clove, cinnamon, or peppermint
- Mixing bowl
- Plastic container
DIY Hand Sanitizer Step by Steps:
- With a bowl, mix your chosen alcohol solution with the aloe vera and the mixture should be completely smooth once everything is fully blended. You can make the solution thicker by adding an extra spoonful of aloe vera, or thin the mixture by adding another spoonful of alcohol.
- With your chosen essential oil, add one drop at a time to the mixture and stir as you go to ensure everything is blended together. Stop after 6-8 drops, and check the scent of the solution to see if you’d like it, and decide if you want it to have a stronger scent by adding further drops of oil.
- Lavender, clove, cinnamon and peppermint essential oils have the added benefit of providing additional antiseptic properties to the mixture.
- If you don’t like these scents, it’s fine to use whatever scent you enjoy. Lemon, grapefruit and passion fruit all work well.
- Funnel your blended mixture into your chosen container, fill it up then screw on the lid.
It will only take a minute to make, but it’s not only cheaper than purchasing your own hand sanitizer, but it’s ingredients you could already have in your home. I have isopropyl alcohol for repressing powder makeup if anything ever gets smashed or damaged. I hope you found this DIY hand sanitizer easy tutorial helpful, I used lavender for mine, and it smells so lovely and feels a lot gentler on the skin than any antibacterial gels I’ve bought in the shops which is a bonus.