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7th March 2020

7th March 2020

Coronavirus - Wash vigorously with soap and don't use booze as a hand sanitiser, make your own.

Some Context...

Death & serious injuries caused by road traffic accidents in UK 2019 were 27,820, with 1,870 killed and there were 13,000 deaths in the UK caused by the flu epidemic in 2008-2009. Nevertheless this Covid-19 epidemic does represent a very serious threat the extent of which we don't yet understand.

As the shelves of pharmacies and supermarkets are stripped bare, how should those of us who didn't get stuck in to panic buying prepare to protect ourselves as we ready ourselves for a probable epidemic?

All the authorities, including the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC), advise that frequent vigorous hand-washing with warm water and soap is the most effective protection and here's why, but if you are out and about it is also great to have some alcohol based hand sanitiser available for when you cannot wash your hands properly.

The CDC-approved recipe for making your own is quite simple.

A hand sanitiser with at least 60% pure alcohol applied to already clean and grease-free hands can help protect you and help prevent you from passing germs onwards.  

When using hand sanitiser, apply the product to the palm of one hand (read the label to learn the correct amount) and rub the product all over the surfaces of your hands until your hands are dry.

Why? "The steps for hand sanitizer use are based on a simplified procedure recommended by CDC 21. Instructing people to cover all surfaces of both hands with hand sanitizer has been found to provide similar disinfection effectiveness as providing detailed steps for rubbing-in hand sanitizer 22."

How do you make hand sanitiser at home?

To make your own hand sanitiser, you'll need rubbing alcohol - isopropyl alcohol 90% or better, aloe vera gel, mixing spoon and bowl, a funnel, and either a spray bottle or liquid soap container, according to The Independent.

Pour ⅔ cup of alcohol and ⅓ cup aloe vera into the bowl and mixing well. The aloe vera will make the sanitiser easier to apply and will moisturise the hands as the alcohol has a drying effect when it evaporates.

Once you have blended the mixture  pour it into your chosen dispensing containers using the funnel. 

You can mask the scent of alcohol, you can add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil such as lavender, orange or tea tree but this is not recommended as it can cause allergic reactions and too much cause compromise the efficacy of the solution.

aloe vera leavesIsopropyl

Remember that isopropyl alcohol is highly flammable so take care! Do not in hale the fumes, keep it cool and away from naked flames. It is still available online but becoming more difficult to buy. Aloe Vera is now difficult to buy but it can be replaced with Glycerol. Contrary to some reports on social media, vodka and other spirits are not considered  an effective hand sanitiser (as they are less than the minimum 60% alcohol) but you might just be able to use Tatratea, a particularly wicked but strangely delicious spirit we were introduced to at a party in Croatia some years ago, but you would have to forgo the aloe.

The World Health Organisation has more information on how to make larger quantiteis of hand sanitiser here.

Updated 14th March 2020.