It's all over the news. COVID-19 is sweeping our nation and people are scrambling for ways to sanitize themselves and their homes. While hand washing with basic bar soap is suggested as the best way to wash your hands and protect yourself, it's still a good idea to have access to something on-the-go: hand sanitizer.
I've been seeing it all over Facebook. All over Instagram. Indie makers are pumping out their own versions of hand sanitizer left and right. But let's talk about how dangerous that is.
Although I make a living selling all sorts of handmade, handcrafted products, I've also been doing this for ALMOST TWO DECADES and research like crazy before bringing a product to market. I try to use natural, chemical-free products as often as possible and firmly believe that there are a lot of effective, natural alternatives that can be incorporated into your normal, everyday life but we aren't currently living in normal, everyday times! I'm not someone who thinks only hot lemon water and neti pots are going to get us through right now.
No, Karen, your "sanitizing spray" with witch hazel doesn't have a high enough alcohol content to be effective.
No, Carol, essential oils in water aren't going to kill the virus-that-shall-not-be-named.
I'm sorry, Susan, but you must not know about following FDA and EPA guidelines when formulating from the she-shed in your back yard.
Effective hand sanitizers need to have a minimum of 60% alcohol with the CDC suggesting 70%. Witch hazel doesn't cut it.
While essential oils are great for additional immunity boosts during regular times, these are not regular times we are living in, people! Not to mention, essential OILS and WATER don't mix. Come on. Do you even know how to science?
Yes, the FDA did give a temporary go-ahead to qualified persons to compound and sell hand sanitizers at this time (because normally you have to have an FDA approved sanitizer base that has been packaged in an approved facility to sell hand sanitizer under your brand name) but if you are out there throwing together witch hazel and essential oils, you are NOT one of those qualified people. You're probably also one of those makers who doesn't know about EPA guidelines for legally selling insect repellent either.
Everyone is trying to make a quick buck and while some of those handmade products can be a nice supplement to your daily routine, we all need to be extra diligent and mindful these days.
Go ahead and keep supporting those indie makers who are offering "immunity boosts" and "cleansing sprays" as along as you are pairing them with legit sanitizers, hand washing and general hygiene. But please don't support makers who are trying to tell you that clove, lemon and witch hazel are all you need to replace Purell.
"Okay, okay, stop preaching. What can I do instead??"
Simple Guidelines for DIY Hand Sanitizer for Home Use
So. You went to the store and you can't find hand sanitizer anywhere. Now what.
Here's what I would suggest: A bottle of 190 proof alcohol (which is 95% alcohol) or 91% rubbing alcohol + aloe vera gel. Take 10 ounces of that 95% alcohol and add 3.5 ounces of aloe vera gel. Or take 10 ounces of the 91% rubbing alcohol and add 3 ounces of aloe vera gel. This will bring your final solution down to 70% alcohol which is what most hand sanitizers contain.
If you have ingredients with different percentages of alcohol, go ahead and use this handy calculator. If you scroll down to Serial Dilution Calculator you can plug in your numbers.
I know some of these ingredients can be difficult to find now so please continue with proper hand washing until you are able to get your hands on the necessary ingredients, or better yet, until you are able to find actual hand sanitizer in the stores!
And P.S. - all those baby sanitizers that are alcohol-free and contain the main ingredient Benzalkonium Chloride, those aren't approved by the CDC to sanitize against the 'rona. I mean, use it if that's all you've got but don't go replacing hand sanitizer with regular ol' soap and water!
Stacie has been making and creating for over 15 years.
She holds a wealth of knowledge in the creation of bar
soap, various types of liquid soaps, the manufacturing
of skin care, moisturizers, body scrubs, lip balms, soy
candles and more.