On Your Health

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How to Make and Use Your Own Hand Sanitizer

These days, everyone is concerned about COVID-19 and the spread of the virus, which means keeping your hands clean and sanitized isn’t just expected, it’s necessary.

As many homeowners scrambled to stock up on hand sanitizer to help protect against the virus, commercial hand sanitizers became hard to find. Instead, many began making their own hand sanitizers at home. While washing your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds is the best defense against the spread of viruses, using hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol content is the next best choice.

If you’re making your own, you must do it correctly. According to the CDC, a sanitizer mix must be at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective, though a minimum of 75 percent is preferred. 

Here are some other tips to make your own hand sanitizer.

Making your own batch of hand sanitizer

The World Health Organization recommends the following recipe. This homemade sanitizer will be effective, but you must be careful that the tools and containers you use are properly sanitized first to avoid contamination of the end product. Also, a bottle of 99 percent isopropyl alcohol is the best choice to make the hand sanitizer. Items like whiskey or vodka are not strong enough to kill viruses. 

  • Mix 12 fluid ounces of alcohol with 2 teaspoons of glycerol. Jugs of glycerol can be purchased online and are used to keep hands from drying out. If glycerol isn’t available, proceed with the rest of the recipe and use a moisturizer after sanitizing hands to reduce dryness.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to the alcohol mix. Add 3 fluid ounces of distilled or boiled and cooled water.
  • The mixture should also be allowed to sit for a minimum of 72 hours to make sure the sanitizer kills any bacteria that could have been introduced during mixing.

Because this solution is liquid, spray bottles work best. Add a few drops of essential oil to add scent, if preferred.

How to use hand sanitizer properly

You may think using hand sanitizer is as easy as squirting it in your hands and rubbing, but be aware that using a sanitizer comes with its own rules and risks. According to the CDC, alcohol-based hand sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of microbes on hands in some situations, but sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs, so hand washing should be your first choice.

Here is some useful information about using hand sanitizer.

  • Hand sanitizer may not be as effective if your hands are greasy or heavily soiled. Again, hand washing for at least 20 seconds with soap and clean water works better.
  • Hand sanitizer will not remove harmful or harsh chemicals on your skin.
  • When using hand sanitizer, read the label to determine how much product to put into the palm of one hand. Be sure to rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry.
  • Keep hand sanitizer away from small children. Swallowing hand sanitizer can lead to poisoning. Every year, the U.S. poison control centers receive nearly 85,000 calls about hand sanitizer exposures among children.
  • Always monitor the use of sanitizer. Put a dime-sized amount on dry hands and have children rub their hands together until completely dry. Make sure they don’t lick their hands after applying the sanitizer.
  • Teach kids the right way to use sanitizer, so they use it safely in school or in public places.
  • The FDA recommends that hand sanitizers NOT be used on infants less than a year old.

Local distillery steps up to help

For those who don’t wish to make their own hand sanitizer, many local businesses are now producing hand sanitizers to help their communities.

Prairie Wolf Spirits Distillery in Guthrie, Oklahoma may be known for its craft vodka and gin, but when the coronavirus caused a shortage, they quickly made the switch to producing hand sanitizer. Prairie Wolf Spirits sells it to the public from their distillery in Guthrie, offering ½ gallon containers for $25 each at 124 E. Oklahoma Ave. Line up in your car for curbside service on the east side of the building.

Prairie Wolf’s hand sanitizer follows the WHO recipe for local production and is a liquid, not gel. The liquid sanitizer is FDA-approved and is made with 80 percent ethanol, hydrogen peroxide, glycerol and water.

Their hand sanitizer is also sold at Osteria restaurant at 6430 Avondale Drive in Oklahoma City. The 4 oz., 8 oz., 16 oz. and ½ gallon bottles of hand sanitizer are available daily from 11 a.m. to close. Place your order for pick up by calling (405) 254-5058, or for home delivery place your order through DoorDash.

Looking for more ways to keep yourself safe as well as your family during COVID-19? Visit our COVID-19 Resource Center to learn more.