Product shortages typically occur during pandemics. For COVID-19, consumers have been dealing with low supplies or even complete outages of items such as toilet paper, cleaning products and hand sanitizer. You may not be able to make your own toilet paper at home, but hand sanitizer is simple to prepare!
Please note that washing your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds is always preferable to using hand sanitizer (frequent use may dry or irritate skin because of the alcohol content) and typically more effective, per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Hand sanitizer is the best option when washing your hands with soap and water isn’t possible.
The World Health Organization suggests the following formulations for homemade hand sanitizer. Both use alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl), hydrogen peroxide, glycerol and distilled water (or water that has been boiled and cooled) poured into a 1000ml graduated flask. Use only USP grade products or above.
The first formulation yields a concentration of ethanol 80% v/v, glycerol 1.45% v/v and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) 0.125% v/v.
Pour into a 1000 ml graduated flask:
- ethanol 96% v/v, 833.3 ml
- H2O2 3%, 41.7 ml
- glycerol 98%,14.5 ml
Fill the remainder of the flask up to 1000 ml with distilled water, then shake it gently to mix the content.
The second formulation yields a concentration of isopropyl alcohol 75% v/v, glycerol 1.45% v/v, hydrogen peroxide 0.125% v/v.
Pour into a 1000ml graduated flask:
- isopropyl alcohol (with a purity of 99.8%), 751.5 ml
- H2O2 3%, 41.7 ml
- glycerol 98%, 14.5 ml
As with the first formulation, fill up the remainder of the flask to 1000 ml with distilled water, then shake it gently to mix the content.
Immediately after mixing the solution, divide it into its final containers (such as 100 ml or 500 ml plastic bottles). To ensure that any spores present in the solution or bottles are destroyed, allow 72 hours before use.
When out in public, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask for protection. Disposable non-sterile gloves may also be used, though gloves should be changed frequently and thrown away to avoid further spreading of COVID-19.
For additional information, consult CDC guidelines for protective gear.
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