FDA has recalled several brands of hand sanitizers as they may contain the toxic alcohol methanol.
When a considerable amount is used on the skin, some of the methanol’s side effects are vomiting, nausea, and headache. If ingested, it can lead to serious problems such as damage to the nervous system, seizures, and blindness.
No matter if it’s consumed accidentally or purposely, it can be fatal.
Stop using any hand sanitizer than contains this toxic alcohol. If possible, return it to the store where you bought it. If you experience any of these side effects after using it, consult your doctor. Call emergency medical services if the symptoms are life-threatening.
Handwashing is the basic but most important means of preventing COVID-19 and other infectious diseases from spreading. If you don’t have access to water and soap, CDC recommends using an-alcohol based hand sanitizer with no less than 60% alcohol.
Nowadays, finding a hand sanitizer is becoming more difficult than ever due to the rapid spread of COVID-19.
But we have some good news for you. You can make your homemade hand sanitizer using nothing but three ingredients.
A Word of Warning
This hand sanitizer recipe, as well as any other, is intended for use by experts who have the right resources and knowledge to create it safely and use it properly.
Use homemade hand sanitizers only when you don’t have access to clean water and soap. Do not use them on children’s skin because of a risk of injury if not used properly.
This homemade hand sanitizer is easy to make and requires the following ingredients:
- Aloe Vera gel
- Rubbing alcohol or isopropyl (99% alcohol volume)
- Lavender oil, tea tree oil, or any other essential oil (use lemon juice as an alternative)
To make an effective, homemade hand sanitizer, make sure you use alcohol and Aloe Vera gel in 2:1 ratio. In this way, the alcohol content in the hand sanitizer will stay around 60%. As CDC explains, 60% alcohol is the minimum amount that can effectively kill most germs.
How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer?
This homemade hand sanitizer recipe was shared by the associate professor of health science at Ball State University, Jagdish Khubchandani, PHD.
Here are the ingredients used in his formula:
- 1 part Aloe Vera gel
- 2 parts ethanol or isopropyl alcohol (91-99% alcohol)
- A few drops of any essential oil such as peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, or clove oil
Have the following tips in mind when making your own hand sanitizer:
- Clean the space where you plan to make it. Use a diluted bleach solution to wipe down countertops
- Before you start making it, wash your hands carefully
- Use clean spoons and whisk when making your hand sanitizer by washing them thoroughly before beginning
- Do not use diluted alcohol for the recipe
- Mix the ingredients until well-combined
- Do not touch the hand sanitizing mixture before it’s ready for use
WHO shares a hand sanitizer formula if you want to make a larger batch. The ingredients used are:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Ethanol or isopropyl alcohol
- Boiled cold water or sterile distilled water
Is Your DIY Hand Sanitizer Safe?
Every hand sanitizer recipe is intended for use by experts with both the resources and knowledge to make homemade hand sanitizers safely and properly.
Use a homemade hand sanitizer only when you don’t have access to water and soap.
Using improper ingredients or proportions when making your hand sanitizer can result in:
- Lack of efficacy
- A risk to inhale hazardous chemicals
- Skin irritation, burns, or injury
Since children are more likely to use homemade hand sanitizers improperly, they are at a greater risk of injury. Therefore, these homemade products are not recommended for children.
How to Use Hand Sanitizers Properly
When using a hand sanitizer, keep in mind the following things:
- Rub the hand sanitizer into your skin until it dries out
- If your hands are dirty or greasy, wash them with water and soap before applying hand sanitizer
Here’s how to use it properly:
- Apply or spray your hand sanitizer to the palm of your hand
- Rub your hands together so that the entire surface of your fingers and hands is covered
- Rub until your hands are dry, or about 30-60 seconds. Sometimes, a hand sanitizer can take 60 seconds to kill germs.
What Germs Can Be Killed by Hand Sanitizers?
CDC explains that hand sanitizers based on alcohol which contain the recommended volume of alcohol can quickly reduce the number of germs on people’s hands.
What’s more, they can help kill different pathogens and disease-causing agents on your hands, including SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus.
Still, no hand sanitizer can kill all types of germs. CDC explains that hand sanitizers can’t kill the following germs:
- Clostridium difficile, or C.diff
- Cryptosporidium that leads to cryptosporidiosis
In addition, a hand sanitizer may be ineffective if used on visibly greasy or dirty hands. This can happen after doing yard work, working with food, playing a sport, or gardening.
Use water and soap to wash your dirty hands instead of using a hand sanitizer.
Hand Sanitizer vs. Handwashing
The best way to protect yourself from illnesses such as seasonal flu and COVID-19 is to know when to use hand sanitizers and when to wash your hands.
Even though both ways can be effective, you should always prefer washing your hands with water and soap, CDC explains. Use hand sanitizer only if you don’t have access to clean water and soap.
Make sure you wash your hands:
- Before eating
- After coughing, blowing your nose, or sneezing
- After going to the bathroom
- After touching possibly contaminated surfaces
Here’s how to wash your hands properly, according to CDC:
- Use warm or cold, clean, running water
- Wet your hands before using a soap
- Lather them by rubbing them together with the soap for around 20 seconds. Don’t forget to scrub under your nails, between your fingers, and the back of your hands.
- Rinse your hands thoroughly. Air dry or use a clean towel.
To Sum Up
Hand sanitizer is a great way to prevent germs from spreading when you don’t have access to water and soap. It’s best to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
If you can’t find a hand sanitizer in the stores, make your homemade version with Aloe Vera gel, rubbing alcohol, and lemon juice or essential oil.
Even though using hand sanitizers can help you eliminate germs, health authorities recommend using water and soap whenever possible to protect yourself from germs.