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Turns Out Making Your Own Hand Sanitizer Is Really Easy

Mar. 24, 2020Making hand sanitizer from ingredients found in your bathroom cabinet preserves needed resources for our health care institutions and workers.



I can’t stop thinking about my hands. When I see others, I can’t help but think about their hands either. What have we touched? Door handles, books, the same produce? Maybe we’ve pulled out the same chairs or pushed the same elevator button? At the drive-through ATM machine I’ve often frequented, I felt a pang of anxiety as I entered my pin.

Only a few days prior, I wouldn’t have thought twice about this same activity. Now, I see fomites where I used to see objects, making every surface and interaction feel like potential bearers of infection. The unknowability of it all has forced me to question whether my reaction matches the gravity of the situation. 

To help wrangle my fears, I spent some time researching proper hand-washing techniques, the lifespan of Covid-19, surfaces where the virus thrives, and finally, DIY recipes. With all the ways anxieties are manifesting — hoarding all the toilet paper in North America — and all the ways profiteers are reaping the benefits of those anxieties by cornering the market on hand sanitizer, wipes, and masks, it seemed that one of the most empowering and sensible things I could do was make my own hand sanitizer spray. It’s hard to think communally during isolation, but this felt like my small attempt to flatten the curve without contributing to the shortages in resources our health care institutions and workers are already seeing. 

Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

And as it turned out, I already had all the ingredients in my bathroom cabinet, save for the two-ounce blue spray bottles that I bought at the local pharmacy. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that hand sanitizer made up of 70 percent isopropyl or rubbing alcohol will kill most pathogens, including Covid-19. And while hand washing (and of course social distancing) has proved most effective at keeping germs at bay, hand sanitizer is, well, handy when confronting that ATM machine and making other essential trips out of the house.

Ingredients

  • Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99% alcohol by volume)
  • Distilled or boiled water
  • Essential oil for a more soothing scent (I routinely buy organic tea tree oil for its antibacterial antifungal properties)

The efficacy of hand sanitizer spray is in the ratios: Two parts alcohol to one part water (the ratios are the same for making hand sanitizer gel with rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel). 

  1. Measure the alcohol and water using baking utensils and combine both into one large container. 
  2. Then add the essential oil and whisk. Because essential oils are already concentrated, a few drops will suffice for freshening the scent and adding peace of mind. Loli Beauty also sells hand sanitizer made with organic grape spirit alcohol. 

Photo by Yoko Saito on Unsplash

Now, I keep a spray bottle in my car, my purse, and my backpack, with enough surplus to last several more refills and at least hundreds of sprays (it’s estimated that one two-ounce bottle can yield up to 500 sprays, far more uses than the same amount of hand sanitizer gel). Keep in mind, alcohol is drying to the skin, so plan on moisturizing a lot more.

 

Ready to try to make your own bottle? Share your secret DIY hand sanitizer ingredients with us on social @AvocadoMattress and #AvocadoGreenLiving

Alicia Inez Guzmán

By Alicia Inez Guzmán

 —  A Santa Fe-based writer covering land use, gentrification, and food sovereignty.

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