The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned against making homemade hand sanitizer, as some ingredients may be at best ineffective, or at worst, downright harmful.
However, recognizing the need for more protection, the WHO has produced a PDF with comprehensive instructions on developing your own safe, effective hand sanitizer. Unfortunately, it's more complex than the formulation originally included in this article.
WHO-approved hand sanitizer instructions
- 10-litre glass or plastic bottles with screw-threaded stoppers, OR
- 50-litre plastic tank, translucent to see liquid level, OR
- Stainless steel tanks with 80-100-litre capacity
- Wooden, metal, or plastic spoon for mixing
- Measuring cylinders and jugs
- Plastic or metal funnel
- 100 ml plastic bottles with leak-proof tops, OR
- 500 ml glass or plastic bottles with screw tops
- An alcoholmeter: the the temperature scale is at the bottom and the ethanol concentration (percentage v/v) at the top
- Pour the alcohol into the large bottle or tank
- Add hydrogen peroxide using the measuring cylinder
- Add glycerol with measuring cylinder. As glycerol is very viscous and sticks to the wall of the measuring cylinder, it should be rinsed with some sterile distilled or cold boiled water and then emptied into the bottle or tank
- Top up the bottle or tank to the 10-litre mark with sterile distilled or cold boiled water
- Place the lid on as quickly as possible to prevent evaporation
- Mix the solution gently
- Immediately divide up the solution into the small bottles, and place them in quarantine for 72 hours. This allows any spores present in the alcohol or bottles to be destroyed
- Isopropyl alcohol 75% (v/v)
- Glycerol 1.45% (v/v)
- Hydrogen peroxide 0.125% (v/v)
- Always perform quality control on homemade sanitizer
- Verify the alcohol concentration with the alcoholmeter. Make any necessary adjustments in volume to obtain the final recommended concentration
- The accepted limits should be around 77% on the alcoholmeter, plus or minus 1%, at 25 degrees Celsius
Keep the solutions in a cool room. Be careful if you attempt this. We recommend reading the entire WHO PDF before trying out this recipe.
To learn how to make your own homemade fabric face masks, click here. To learn how to disinfect your phone, mouse and keyboard click here.
Learn more about COVID-19
Update: use the below at your own risk!
Store shelves cleared of hand sanitizer? No problem. If you can get hold of rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel, you're good to go.
Here's how to make your own hand sanitizer.
You can substitute high-proof vodka for the rubbing alcohol in a pinch. (Only if you're old enough!)
Making homemade hand sanitizer
Mix up the rubbing alcohol and aloe vera — along with the oils, if you're using them. Be careful not to get pure alcohol on your skin.
Fill up your empty bottle with your funnel. That's it!
Be careful not to overdo it with the rubbing alcohol. Keep the mixture roughly 2:1. When in doubt, use more aloe vera gel.
This homemade sanitizer is nice, but it's no substitute for washing your hands with soap and warm water. That's your #1 defence against the dark arts — er, COVID-19.