As COVID-19 / Coronavirus anxiety ramps up, the store shelves are picked fairly clean of hand sanitizer and so many of my friends are talking about making their own hand sanitizer. While we still caution against panic, hand sanitizer is a good thing to have on hand.
So what do you do when you can’t find the ready-made stuff. Or, when you’re only finding it at exorbitant prices from retailers and third-party Amazon seller?
(Meanwhile, price-gougers taking advantage of a public health crisis: GTFO!)
You can make your own hand sanitizer. But you might not want to.
I’m not here to tell you not to make your own hand sanitizer, just to consider that soap and water is still your very best bet over homemade, and that there are some issues with the DIY stuff you may not consider.
I’m sure by now we’ve all come across a ton of how to make your own hand sanitizer articles and recipes, including this popular recipe from Thought.Co that was cited by health journalist Mary McKenna and picked up by pubs we trust like The Verge.
The most important thing to know is that if you are going to DIY, it must have 60% or more alcohol in the final formulation to be effective.
The WHO has an official guide to making your own hand sanitizer and I’d pick this one over anything I see on Pinterest with all due respect to the well-meaning eco-mamas and frugal bloggers out there. Just know that The WHO even specifies that the recipe is designed for “qualified pharmacists” mainly for use in medical settings, and that it’s not as simple as you might think.via The World Health Org
If you have access to clean water, then soap and water are arguably a better bet for cleaning your hands. Especially if you’re washing your hands properly.
for more info, be sure to check out this Twitter thread from a pharmacist who advocates for soap and water over homemade hand sanitizer, and she does it in a delightfully NSFW way.
(See it in single-page format here, via ThreadReader.)
I’m a professional compounding pharmacist, and I can make hand sanitizer gel, having learned this art in the 2009 pandemic, and it is VERY DIFFICULT. Getting alcohol to gel is so pissy, but using straight-up liquid versions destroys your skin. Just. Use. Soap.
— Brooke (@hsifyppah) March 4, 2020
Public health officials agree — don’t make your own unless you really don’t have access to clean water in your community or soap at all. Not only can it be dangerous (especially to kids), but the alcohol can really dry out your skin, making it more susceptible to infection. Plus as Brooke reminds us, soap is even better than hand sanitizer at removing some things, like C.diff.
(You may better know C.diff as “the reason we wash our hand with soap and water after using the bathroom.”)
Where you can still find hand sanitizer without the price gouging
If you want to get your hands on some really excellent hand sanitizer, Lisa reminded me that Olika’s moisturizing hand sanitizer is still in stock — all without price gouging, or the need to throw elbows in line at Costco.
Readers may recall these adorable bird-shaped pumps that we’ve shared here before. Birdie is the hand sanitizer/wipes combo bottle, while Minnie by Olika is the brand new sanitizer spray-only bottles and not that it should matter, but wow, they look super cute, all in recyclable containers.
Each contains the requisite concentration of alcohol (60% or more is essential), plus high grade essential oils. One bottle contains 500+ sprays (250 uses), replacing more than 15 bottles of gel-based alternatives.
(They’re not a sponsor today BTW,, just something we discovered that we love and use ourselves.)
I ordered the affordable four-pack of their Minnie hand sanitizer spray myself yesterday (above) so that we have some around the house, and one to keep in the car.
Just know that the site is slow right now (get it directly from them, not from Amazon!), so check back if you want to order. I hear a few people around the country might have an interest in a product like this right now.
Top image: Matthew Tkocz on Unsplash