August 14, 2020

Here’s how to make homemade hand sanitizing gel (and why you probably shouldn’t bother)

Fears of coronavirus (COVID-19) are growing in the U.S. despite health officials suggesting that for most healthy people symptoms likely will be mild and not life-threatening. Those fears have caused shortages of hand sanitizing gels and other cleaning products that can help stop the spread of the virus.

But never fear, you can make your own hand sanitizer, assuming you can still find isopropyl alcohol and some aloe gel (or other similar emollient)

Health experts say the absolute best methods for avoiding contracting the virus are simple:

Avoid being around people who are sick (no-brainer, but we need to point that out).
Washing your hands with regular soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Avoiding touching your face with unclean hands.

Hand sanitizing products like Purell and GermX have flown off the shelves, even in areas were the coronavirus haven’t been detected.

But for the DIY folks about there, you can create a homemade batch by mixing:

2/3 part isopropyl alcohol (at least 91% or higher)
1/3 part aloe gel (or glycerin)

Some folks add some essential oils to make the stuff smell less, alcohol-y, but that’s optional.

The key is making sure the overall percent of the mixture is at or above 60% alcohol. Using the above recipe, that would look mathematically like:

.91 (percent of alcohol) X .667 (1/3 of a whole unit of measurement = 60.07% alcohol.

Any less and the germ-fighting properties are diminished, health experts say, so if you mix it incorrectly you may give yourself a false sense of security.

But truthfully, unless you just have to be away from a sink washing your hands is still the best, most effective way to kill the virus.

Experts say washing the full hands with soap and water (including backs of hands, between fingers and under fingernails) should take at least 20 seconds.