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How To Make Alcohol Base Hand Sanitizer

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Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, hand sanitizers are in short supply. You can make your own using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and glycerin.

The formula is from the pamphlet “Guide to Local Production: WHO-recommended Handrub Formulations” at https://www.who.int/gpsc/5may/Guide_t… When you can, use ordinary soap and water to clean your hands.

To help prevent shortages, please buy only the amounts of ingredients you will actually use in the next month. If everyone behaves reasonably, supplies will return to normal.

US units — to make one-third quart of hand sanitizer: o 1 cup isopropyl alcohol 99% (see below for 91% or 70% alcohol) o 1 Tablespoon hydrogen peroxide 3% o 1 teaspoon glycerin o Water to make a total of 1 and 1/3 cups (1/3 quart) Metric units — to make 320 ml of hand sanitizer: o 240 ml isopropyl alcohol 99% (see below for 91% or 70% alcohol) o 15 ml hydrogen peroxide 3% o 5 ml glycerin o Water to make a total of 320 ml Procedure:

1. Put on glasses or goggles for eye protection.

2. Combine the first three ingredients in a container.

3. Add clean water to reach a total of 1 and 1/3 cups (320 ml).

4. Mix thoroughly by stirring or shaking.

5. Pour the mixture into dispensing bottles.

6. Label each bottle “Hand Sanitizer 75% alcohol” Warning: For fire safety information, see the WHO pamphlet:

Isopropyl alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol) kills bacteria and viruses. It is sold in different strengths, typically 70%, 91%, and 99%. The target strength for the final hand sanitizer is 75% alcohol. o For 99% alcohol, start with 1 cup (240 ml) o For 91% alcohol, start with 1 cup plus 4 teaspoons (265 ml) o For 70% alcohol, start with 1 and 1/4 cups (300 ml) The 70% alcohol case, no additional water is needed, and the resulting sanitizer is 66% alcohol, which is less than the WHO recommended 75%, but still greater than the minimum required 60% for effectiveness. If using ethanol instead of isopropyl alcohol, per WHO, the target final concentration is 80%. Do not use 99% alcohol directly as hand sanitizer.

Some water is needed for the sanitizer to work. The final product must be between 60% and 95% alcohol. Hydrogen peroxide 3% is an antiseptic sold in drugstores with other disinfectants. The small amount used in the formula is not effective for sanitizing the skin. Its purpose to kill any spores in the ingredients and containers. Glycerin (also known as glycerol) is a clear, thick liquid used as a moisturizer in skin care products and as a food ingredient. It helps prevent your hands from drying out. You can find it in the drugstore with other skin care products. If your water is not absolutely clean, first boil it and allow it too cool to room temperature. If your containers and ingredients are not absolutely clean, allow 72 hours for the hydrogen peroxide to kill any spores present, and keep the solution away from sunlight and UV light, which break down the hydrogen peroxide. Some viewers are asking if they can substitute, omit, or add specific ingredients. Sorry, I don’t know. I just took the WHO formula and scaled down the quantities.

The WHO pamphlet recommends not to add any fragrance or gelling agents. The consistency of the final product is a liquid, not a gel. A spray bottle is useful for applying the sanitizer to your hands without dripping. Be careful to direct the spray at your hands. Label the container and keep it away from anyone who might misuse it. Beware of DIY hand sanitizer formulas that result in a final alcohol content of less than 60%. For example, mixing two parts 70% alcohol with one part aloe vera gel results in a final 47% alcohol content, which is too low. 80-proof vodka is only 40% alcohol and therefore not suitable for making sanitizer. Disclaimer: “All reasonable precautions have been taken by the World Health Organization to verify the information contained in this document. However, the published material is being distributed without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. The responsibility for the interpretation and use of the material lies with the reader. In no event shall the World Health Organization be liable for damages arising from its use.”

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