I never thought I’d be moving around with hand sanitizers. I always considered them to be fancy stuff that’s only found in the pockets, bags, and purses of hygiene freak people. But here I am, searching for hand sanitizers online. I’m sure many of you have been on the lookout for this gem in the ongoing crisis around COVID-19. I referred to it as a gem, because there seems to be a shortage of them everywhere. People have been running around stores and supermarkets in the quest for hand sanitizers. Even online, it’s tough to get your hands on them. The reason behind this shortage is none other than we, the consumers. As soon as the pandemic hit us, we just went mad for no reason and started panic buying everything. Stockpiling necessary products, especially something like hand sanitizer that everyone needs to buy, has created a shortage in the market. Which is pathetic for the general population who now can’t buy things they need to survive as a result of this shortage. Learn more with all the necessary details in this step-by-step guide for making hand sanitizers at home .
I too had been searching for hand sanitizers among other daily necessities when COVID-19 became a growing concern. But I failed to manage any. I always had a knack for chemistry. So, I started researching on making hand sanitizers at home with ease. In addition to my previous knowledge, I learned a lot and finally decided to make it on my own. After a shopping spree in my local store and an hour of preparation later, I finally made it! Yes, you only need an hour or so to make hand sanitizers. So, without further ado, let’s start with a few basics and eventually jump into making hand sanitizers at home.
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Making Hand Sanitizers at Home: First Things First
Let’s debunk a few basics first before we move on to the recipe. At first, there’s that burning question about the effectiveness of hand sanitizers. There’s no alternative to washing hands with soap (solid or liquid, whichever you have/prefer) for 20 seconds, that’s for sure. Be it coronavirus, or any other deadly virus, the purpose of using soap or hand sanitizers are very clear. The main goal here is to remove or reduce the number of feasible pathogens that has the potential of contaminating your hands and ultimately, get inside your body.
Washing hands with soap and water mechanically eliminate these pathogens. On the other hand, the hand sanitizers remove viruses that are genetically related to the coronavirus and other deadly viruses.
So, why would I need hand sanitizers? Well, you can’t always be near to a sink with water and soap. There are times when you need a quick wash but can’t find any soap around you. It applies when you are outside for some errand. If you are in the service of essential workers, then hand sanitizers are a must for you at work.
Another common concern around hand sanitizers is if it’s safe or not. And the answer is simple – it’s completely safe if it’s made properly. Wrong ingredients or an imbalanced ratio of them can lead to conditions like skin irritation, burning sensation, most importantly, it won’t work against the virus. So, if you are planning to make it home, you need to make sure its efficiency against viruses. You have to know about the ingredients with their practical usage beforehand.
What You Need for Making Hand Sanitizers at Home:
There are two useful recipes for making hand sanitizers at home. The first one, popularly referred to as the gel recipe, is a quick recipe with stuff you may have in your cabinets or kitchen. That will come in handy in emergencies when you can’t go out to get supplies. The latter one depends on your chances to go outside for supplies. But this recipe is also globally-recognized as an effective one. Remember, whichever method you go for, the ingredients may even run out of stock. So, better grab them while it lasts. Just keep in mind that other people will probably need them too, so don’t stockpile them.
The gel recipe needs the following ingredients:
- Isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol): Alcohol is the main ingredient here. It actively participates in deactivating the viruses. You will need alcohol with at least the strength of 60% for an effective hand sanitizer. But the ideal is 91%-99% for making ensuring it works properly against the viruses. You can also use ethanol (preferably 90%-95%) if you can’t get rubbing alcohol. But remember, never use alcohol like methanol, butanol, etc. as they are toxic for your skin. Also, the bottle of vodka in your cellar won’t work as well. If you get alcohol with a lower percentage (e.g. 60%-70%), you will need to increase the amount of alcohol in your mixture, so it remains active as a sanitizer.
- Aloe vera gel (natural or store-bought according to your choice): Alcohol in this recipe is quite strong, as you can see above. As a result, it makes your hands dry. It also strips necessary oil from your hands which actually protects your hands. That’s why aloe vera gel is used in this recipe – to help your hands to stay moisturized after alcohol does its tricks on them. Hand lotions or glycerin can be used as an alternative, but aloe vera is the best option here.
- Essential oil: This ingredient won’t do anything against viruses. So, it might seem pointless to add. But aside from adding fragrance, the essential oil will also help protect you against germs, especially bacteria. Essential oils have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. If you are using these oils, use it in limited quantity. They are really powerful and might irritate your skin. Conventional essential oils with these properties are oils from tea trees, eucalyptus, lemongrass, etc.
In addition to these ingredients, you will also need a few other tools and components to make gel hand sanitizer. They are –
- Bowl and spoon. These are for mixing the ingredients. Instead of a spoon, you can also use a whisk, which will be better to mix and beat the mixture into a homogeneous gel.
- Small bottles. You will need them to store the sanitizer for long-term use, or distributing to your closed ones and people in need of it. You can also use a bottle with a pump dispenser for regular usage.
- Funnel. It will help you pour the mixture into the bottles.
Let’s Get Cooking
After arranging everything, get your Walter White mode on and start making your hand sanitizer. The idea is to create a 2:1 solution of isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel respectively and add some essential oil into the mixture. The steps to follow are:
- Add two portions of alcohol into the bowl, or any other type of container. We recommend 2/3 of a cup for an initial batch of sanitizers.
- Now add one portion (in this case, 1/3 of a cup) of aloe vera gel to make a mixture.
- Add 8-10 drops of oil into the mixture. If you are sensitive to these oils, reduce the amount to your preference. Oil is mainly added to add a soothing smell and its antibacterial properties. They are not that much of a factor to make the sanitizer effective.
- Now, stir or whisk the materials until they mix correctly and create a gel-like substance.
- Now sanitize the bottles you will put it in and pour the mixture into the bottles using a funnel.
- Let the mixture sit for a while, so it gets disinfected from the germs created during the cooking process.
There you have it. Now use it to sanitize your hands. If your hand gets dry because of all the alcohol in it, try rubbing lotion to moisturize them.
The alternative procedure of making hand sanitizers at home is given below briefly. WHO recommends this procedure, but the ingredients are slightly challenging to get, and it’s not as easy as the previous method.
What you’ll need:
- 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol (preferably 99%)
- One tbsp of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- One tsp of 98% glycerin
- One-fourth of a cup of distilled or clean water
The steps to make this liquid hand sanitizer are as follows:
- Pour the alcohol into a container. You can also use alcohol with strengths ranging from 70% to 91%, but 99% is recommended.
- Now pour hydrogen peroxide into the container.
- Add glycerin into the mixture and stir. Glycerin is heavier than previous ingredients, so you’ll need to stir for a while to mix them properly. Use a spoon to stir or, just shake the container with a lid on top.
- Pour the water into the mixture. Don’t stop stirring the mixture.
- Sanitize the bottles and transfer your freshly-made hand sanitizer into them. Remember, this is a liquid sanitizer. So, you’ll need to spray it in your hands and use it.
That brings us to the end of this guide on making hand sanitizers at home. We hope we’ve provided all the necessary information for you to get your aprons on and make your sanitizers. But always remember to handle these chemicals with precaution. Be safe and secure.