Why You Should Not Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer

By Brandi Walker on March 26 2020 in Society

Using hand sanitisers to keep your hands clean is good, but washing them with antimicrobial soap is even more effective.
Using hand sanitisers to keep your hands clean is good, but washing them with antimicrobial soap is even more effective.
  • In 2010, World Health Organization (WHO) issued some guidelines on how to make hand sanitizers.
  • The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a homemade hand sanitizer must have at least 60% alcohol.
  • If mixed incorrectly, the products in the hand sanitizer recipes could cause some serious burns.

Ever since the sudden outbreak of the coronavirus, hand sanitizers have been falling off the shelves. It's almost impossible to go into a store and find quality, alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

But why buy a bunch of hand sanitizers when you can make a homemade collection? That is what people have been doing by means of online tutorials. However, could it be harmful to make your own sanitizer? While there are pros to making homemade hand sanitizer, there are actually cons as well. Here are some of those cons to making your own.

Experts are saying that you might want to think twice before deciding to make your own hand sanitizer. For some people, it may be a little tempting to make your own. But the best thing to do is to avoid going this route.

Recipes Are Too Difficult

Touchless hand sanitizer machine made at home using ultrasonic sensor which drops liquid when hand comes near the sensor

The recipes in hand sanitizers are said to be too difficult to follow. If mixed incorrectly, the products in the recipes could cause some serious burns. An 11-year-old boy from New Jersey suffered chemical burns from using a homemade spray sanitizer. This sanitizer was made by an owner of a 7-Eleven store. Apparently, the owner had mixed water with foaming sanitizer that was commercially available, but wasn't intended for resale. Sometimes, going the alternative route to buying could lead to unfortunate health consequences.

Be sure to check the labels before purchasing a sanitizer to see if it is legitimate. Make sure that the bottle is properly labeled with safe ingredients. Avoid sprays because they are not appropriate hand sanitizer products.

WHO Guidelines

In 2010, World Health Organization (WHO) issued out some guidelines on how to make hand sanitizers, but experts say the recipe is too complex for most people. Some of the ingredients include hydrogen peroxide and ethanol, just to name a few. "The WHO guidelines are excellent, but not intended for home use and may be too complicated for many," says Stephen Morse, PhD, MS, an infectious disease expert from Columbia University in New York. In fact, their guidelines are more intended for populations with unclean water or other medical-grade products in place.

Treat Hand Sanitizers As A Last Resort

Another important thing to realize is that we shouldn't use hand sanitizers as a complete replacement from hand washing. It should be treated as a last resort when you're somewhere and don't have access to a sink and soap. Making it yourself is quite complicated.

Tricky Measurements

When making your own hand sanitizer, you have to make sure your measurements are precise. Utensils and bottles must be extremely clean or they could contaminate your sanitizer. Some of the ingredients for a homemade hand sanitizer include isopropyl or rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel. Some recipes include essential oil, which is normally used as a fragrance.

For any homemade sanitizer to be effective, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that it must have at least 60% alcohol content. So before you start mixing the ingredients, it's very important you take the time to plan accordingly.

If made correctly, homemade hand sanitizers could be a good idea when the store near you has run out of some or you live in an area with unclean water. But if not made properly, DIY hand sanitizers could be downright harmful. "I worry about people making their own sanitizer as it will be difficult to make sure that the concentrations are correct," Daniel Parker, assistant professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, told CNN of the trend.

Hand Washing Is Still Important

So if you want to go the safe route, please stick to washing your hands with soap and water. DIY projects may be fun and educational, but when it comes to hand sanitizers, you will be taking a big risk. Please wash your hands and stay safe. 

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