Let’s face it, we’ve all had a little more time on our hands since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. What most of us have had less of is hand sanitizer. That combination has probably led you to more than one internet search about how to make your own hand sanitizer.
We get it -- necessity is the mother of invention.
In early 2020, the World Health Organization did issue guidelines for making your own hand sanitizer, but this was a last resort measure made solely because of the shortage in the supply chain; it was never intended to be a permanent solution for use in lieu of commercially manufactured hand sanitizer.
In fact, the FDA warns against making your own hand sanitizer. There are too many variables when making homemade hand sanitizer that could result in a formula that is either dangerous and/or ineffective.
Before you turn your kitchen counter into a makeshift assembly line and begin creating your own hand sanitizer concoctions, you should know there are some risks involved that make DIY hand an overall bad idea.
What Does Hand Sanitizer Do?
The purpose of any hand sanitizer is to keep your hands germ-free between washes. The CDC recommends hand washing as one of the key ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep yourself and others safe.
Sometimes, however, you just can’t make it to a sink. When you’re on the go and can’t wash your hands, hand sanitizer is your go-to. Hand sanitizer spray is also a convenient way to sanitize some non-porous surfaces quickly and effectively.
Hand sanitizer is usually available in four different consistencies:
Liquid. This type of hand sanitizer usually has a pump to dispense it onto hands. Liquid is great for getting into generally overlooked areas of your hands, like around fingernails, but can be a bit messy, especially for children.
Gel. A gel hand sanitizer either dispenses with a pump or from squeezing the bottle, and spreads easily over your hands. Some users may find gel hand sanitizers sticky, which can make them unpopular for use.
Foam. A foam hand sanitizer is liquid in the bottle and dispenses as a foam through a specialized nozzle. Foams are easy to use, but can result in not using enough hand sanitizer.
- Spray. A hand sanitizer spray is a liquid that dispenses from the bottle with a spray nozzle. These types of hand sanitizers are most popular because they’re great for using not only on hands but also on some non-porous devices (like smartphones and tablets). Additionally, spray hand sanitizers create the least amount of mess, and offer the most protection against spills and/or drips.
What Makes Hand Sanitizer Effective?
Hand sanitizer is effective due to its alcohol content, but you should know some alcohols (like methanol) are dangerous, and shouldn’t be used in hand sanitizer.
Additionally, not just any amount of alcohol will suffice. In order for a hand sanitizer to be effective in killing up to 99.9% of germs on your hands, it must contain at least 60% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol.
If you plan to use your hand sanitizer to sanitize other items, like your phones, tablets, doorknobs, or countertops, it must have at least a 70% alcohol content. It’s almost always a good idea to use a hand sanitizer spray for these items. A spray dries quickly on the surface, so there’s less mess.
Obviously, hand sanitizer contains more than just alcohol. The additional ingredients in hand sanitizer are usually emollients or some kind of moisturizing agent, like glycerin or aloe vera, that help keep your hands from becoming chapped and dry when you use the product.
Why Should You Avoid Making Sanitizer
It seems simple enough -- add some rubbing alcohol to aloe vera gel and boom, instant hand sanitizer! Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy.
There are three pretty big problems with making your own hand sanitizer:
Your environment. Unless you’re a scientist or chemist, you probably don’t have access to a sterile laboratory environment. This means you’ll be mixing your DIY hand sanitizer on your kitchen countertops, with dishes and utensils that are not sterile.
This leaves room for your homemade sanitizer to become polluted with germs before it ever has the chance to remove them from your hands.
Consistency issues. Even if you follow an online recipe perfectly, the consistency of your at home hand sanitizer isn’t likely to measure up to a commercially manufactured brand. Either it will end up so thick you can’t get it to pass through the spray bottle, or so thin you can be sure you didn’t get the formula quite right.
The formula. Did you know there were different types of rubbing alcohol available? Some have a higher percentage of alcohol concentration. Most recipes will specify which concentration you should use, but unless you’re paying close attention, you could miss it entirely.
As previously mentioned, hand sanitizer is only effective when it contains the proper amount of alcohol. Even if the hand sanitizer that you make seems to have the right consistency, if the formula is wrong, your sanitizer won’t be effective.
If you’re in a jam and you simply must make your own hand sanitizer at home, you can follow the WHO’s guidelines, but keep in mind that at home hand sanitizer is really a last-resort solution if you simply can’t find any on store shelves.
Where Can I Buy Hand Sanitizer?
If you’ve had trouble finding hand sanitizer, we can help.
Hope Health Supply has high-quality hand sanitizer spray available for prices that are never gouged and always fair. Our convenient, pocket-sized hand sanitizer spray is available in packs of 3, 6, 12, and 24, so you can stash a hand sanitizer practically anywhere.
Our hand sanitizer is also packed with 75% ethyl alcohol, so it’s effective on both your hands and certain non-porous surfaces, like your smartphone. It also features a light citrus scent, so you don’t have to worry about smelling like a medicine cabinet (or a flower shop) just because you need to clean your hands.
When you shop with Hope Health Supply, you can feel good about your purchase, knowing you’re supporting a U.S.-based company and buying products that are registered with the FDA and safe for your family and employees to use. You can always depend on fair prices, too, with zero price gouging no matter what the current demand may be.
When you refer a friend to Hope Health Supply, you’ll both get more hand sanitizer and more cash back in your hands. Our refer-a-friend program offers a discount to you and your friend when you place an order. You both get great hand sanitizing and personal protection items, you both save money. It’s a win win.
COVID-19 is an ongoing issue and we’re all in this together. Protect yourself and one another with great, high-quality hand sanitizer spray from us, and leave your kitchen counters free for actual kitchen activities.