The global COVID-19 crisis has led to a steep rise in the demand for sanitization products. The importance of keeping an alcohol-based hand sanitizer handy at all times is now more imminent than ever.
However, oftentimes you might face a shortage of hand sanitizers at your local market. Since the consumption has risen abruptly, finding authentic, hospital-grade hand sanitizers might be difficult, especially if your city is a known coronavirus hotspot.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the use of hand sanitizers containing 60% to 95% alcohol (by volume) for effectiveness against coronavirus and other ailments.
When should you make hand sanitizers at home?
A lot of products sold in the market today do not meet CDC’s guidelines for effective alcohol strength. Using such products unknowingly may do more harm than good.
Moreover, health and regulatory authorities have also discovered many fake products misrepresented and sold as alcohol hand sanitizers. These may contain harmful chemicals that can trigger adverse reactions like skin irritation and nausea.
Many sanitizers containing Ethanol also contain a bit of Methanol as a minor constituent. This happens because Methanol is used as a denaturing agent in bottles of industrial Ethanol to make it unfit for direct oral consumption. However, the presence of Methanol in sanitizers and its long-term usage can lead to a condition called Methanol toxicity. Nausea, vomiting, nervous disorders and muscular incoordination are a few symptoms of Methanol toxicity.
It is important to check for a few things on the labels of alcohol-based hand sanitizers before purchase –
- WHO, CDC or other health regulatory body recommendation
- Alcohol (Ethanol or Isopropanol) concentration – 60% by volume or above
- Absence of Methanol
How to make hand sanitizers at home?
In case you cannot find a satisfactory alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the local market, you can make your own sanitizer at home. This keeps you safe from fake products that can have negative effects on the body.
To make your own hand sanitizer at home, you need –
- A clean working table which is not used for dining or serving food.
- A clean container to store the hand sanitizer.
- 1 pair of rubber gloves.
- 1 bottle of rubbing alcohol (Isopropanol or IPA) or Ethanol – 91% to 99% strength.
- 1 bottle of aloe vera gel or glycerine.
- 1 bottle of any essential oil (for fragrance).
- 1 mixing bowl which is not used to store food.
- 1 measuring cup, 1 mixing spoon and 1 funnel, none of which are used for cooking.
Make sure that the surface that you use for the preparation of the homemade hand sanitizer is completely clean. Also, care must be taken to not accidentally touch your mouth, eyes, or bare skin during the preparation process.
Step 1– Put on the gloves and place the bowl on the table.
Step 2– Carefully pour 2 cups of alcohol (IPA or Ethanol) into the mixing bowl using the measuring cup.
Step 3– Using the same measuring cup, pour 1 cup of either aloe vera gel or glycerine into the bowl.
Step 4– You can add 10 to 12 drops of any essential oil for fragrance if required. Certain essential oils also have inherent anti-microbial properties.
Step 5 – Mix all the contents together and fill into the bottle using a funnel.
Now your homemade hand sanitizer is ready for use.
It is important to note that the safe preparation of hand sanitizers is feasible only for government authorized and regulated facilities with industrial-grade equipment. You should only make sanitizers at home if it is urgent and you cannot find a safe source anywhere else.
It is always advised to use a commercially sold, hospital-grade hand sanitizer for complete and effective protection.
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Disclaimer: Issued in public interest by Axio Biosolutions Private Limited. Kindly check the official guidance on WHO for more information on infection prevention and control of COVID-19.