Hand sanitizer is flying off shelves because of concerns over the coronavirus, but if you can’t find the substance at your local store, you can still make your own to help keep your hands clean until you can find it again.
To make hand sanitizer, you’ll need just two ingredients: aloe vera gel and isopropyl alcohol.
The gel is designed to help thicken the homemade sanitizer, but the type of isopropyl alcohol you’ll need to buy is extremely specific. It has to have a 99 percent concentration, as lower concentrations of alcohol won’t be sufficient to reach the 60 percent threshold that the CDC recommends for hand sanitizer.
Once you’ve purchased the two ingredients, you’ll need to put them into separate containers, and then mix them together. For the mixture to work, you’ll need to put one part aloe vera into the mix for every two parts of isopropyl alcohol.
Once that’s done, you’ll need to thoroughly mix the ingredients together until the mixture thickens up.
As with many homemade products, there are some caveats that users will need to remember. For one, the homemade mixture won’t contain any chemicals designed to help moisturize skin, so using the homemade sanitizer could quickly dry out the skin on your hands.
Over-the-counter hand sanitizers have chemicals that prevent that from happening, meaning that if you want to use the substance every day, you should eventually find bottles of hand sanitizer to do the job.
The other thing to remember is that hand sanitizer is designed to be a temporary stopgap, used only until you can wash your hands with soap and water. The CDC recommends that hand sanitizer not be used if hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
If you are using sanitizer, you’ll need to be sure to use enough of the product to cover your entire hand, front and back. The CDC recommends that users then rub their hands together until they feel dry, which should take approximately 20 seconds.
Users are advised not to rinse or wipe off their hands before they’re dry, as that could cause the sanitizer not to have the desired effect on germs.