The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has Announced Trusted Source recalls of several hand sanitizers due to the potential presence of methanol. Methanol Trusted Source is a toxic alcohol that can have adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or headache, when a significant amount is used on the skin. More serious effects, such as blindness, seizures, or damage to the nervous system, can occur if methanol is ingested. Drinking hand sanitizer containing methanol, either accidentally or purposely, can be fatal. See here for more information on how to spot safe hand sanitizers. If you purchased any hand sanitizer containing methanol, you should stop using it immediately. Return it to the store where you purchased it, if possible.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
What Do You Need?
- Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent alcohol volume)
- Aloe Vera Gel
- An essential oil, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead
How do you make your own hand sanitizer?
Hand sanitizer formula combines:-
- 2 parts isopropyl alcohol or ethanol (91–99 percent alcohol)
- 1 part aloe vera gel
- a few drops of clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, or other essential oil
If you’re making hand sanitizer at home
- Make the hand sanitizer in a clean space. Wipe down countertops with a diluted bleach solution beforehand.
- Wash your hands thoroughly before making the hand sanitizer.
- To mix, use a clean spoon and whisk. Wash these items thoroughly before using them.
- Make sure the alcohol used for the hand sanitizer is not diluted.
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until they’re well blended.
- Don’t touch the mixture with your hands until it’s ready for use.
For a larger batch of hand sanitizer, the World Health Organization (WHO)Trusted Source has a formula for a hand sanitizer that uses:
- isopropyl alcohol or ethanol
- hydrogen peroxide
- sterile distilled or boiled cold water
Safe or Not?
DIY (Do it yourself) hand sanitizer recipes are all over the internet these days, but are they safe?
These recipes, including the ones above, are intended for use by professionals with both the expertise and resources to safely make homemade hand sanitizers.
Homemade hand sanitizer is only recommended in extreme situations when you’re unable to wash your hands for the foreseeable future.
Improper ingredients or proportions can lead to:
- lack of efficacy, meaning that the sanitizer may not effectively eliminate risk of exposure to some or all microbes
- skin irritation, injury, or burns
- exposure to hazardous chemicals via inhalation
Homemade hand sanitizer is also not recommended for children.
How to use hand sanitizer?
Two things to be aware of when using hand sanitizer:
- You need to rub it into your skin until your hands are dry.
- If your hands are greasy or dirty, you should wash them first with soap and water.
Some tips for using hand sanitizer effectively.
- Spray or apply the sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
- Thoroughly rub your hands together. Make sure you cover the entire surface of your hands and all your fingers.
- Continue rubbing for 30 to 60 seconds or until your hands are dry. It can take at least 60 seconds, and sometimes longer, for hand sanitizer to kill most germs.
The CDC lists specific instructions Trusted Source on the most effective way to wash your hands. They recommend the following steps:
- Always use clean, running water. (It can be warm or cold.)
- Wet your hands first, then turn the water off, and lather your hands with soap.
- Rub your hands together with the soap for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
- Turn the water on and rinse your hands. Use a clean towel or air dry.
Hand sanitizer is a handy on-the-go way to help prevent the spread of germs when soap and water isn’t available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help keep you safe and reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.