Rachael Ray, Daily US Times: Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is simple to make use of, handy, and infrequently easy to find. Whereas there’s a correct way to make use of hand sanitizer to get essentially the most benefit from it, what’s probably more important is knowing when using it will not be your best option.
Hand sanitizer might help kill microbes, however, it is not efficient on all germs and can do nothing for different substances that could also be in your hands.
Hand sanitizer kills germs as successfully
When sanitizers first came out, there was little analysis showing what they did and did not do, however that has modified. More analysis wants to be executed, however, scientists are studying more on a regular basis.
The energetic ingredient in hand sanitizers is isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), an identical type of alcohol (ethanol or n-propanol), or a mix of them. Alcohols have long been known to kill microbes by dissolving their protecting outer layer of proteins and disrupting their metabolism.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), analysis shows that hand sanitizer kills germs as successfully as washing your hands with soap and water—until your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. They also do not remove potentially dangerous chemicals.
Hand sanitizers do not kill some frequent germs
Hand sanitizers also do not kill some frequent germs soap and water do remove, such as:
- Clostridium Difficile Norovirus
How do hand sanitizers work?
Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are the ubiquitous little squeeze-bottle heroes of airports and hospitals, our allies against the flu and supposedly effective against all the things that ail ya. But what’s in there?
And is it true that they kill 99.99% of germs, as popular brands claim? Most popular hand sanitizers are alcohol-based. The active ingredient is around 70% alcohol, depending on the formulation.
The alcohol can be either ethanol, which is the same stuff that’s in your booze of choice; isopropanol, the stuff in rubbing alcohol; or n-propanol, rubbing alcohol’s chemical sibling.
They all pretty much work the same way, which is by dissolving the outer coats of bacteria and viruses and basically exploding them. Alcohol is polar, with water-loving hydroxyl groups.
And it loves to disrupt the protein and lipid molecules that make up both bacterial membranes and viral envelopes. When those all-important outer coats fall apart, these disease-causing culprits literally spill their guts all over the place, leaving them in no position to make anyone sick.
But what about people who never touch hand sanitizer because it will breed unkillable super-germs that will kill us all? That’s a valid concern with antibiotics, which are chemicals that target some specific point in a bacterium’s life cycle.
Don’t pour Vodka on your hands
The antibiotics in antimicrobial hand soap can lead to the emergence of bacterial strains that are resistant and harder to kill. But resistance isn’t really a problem with alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
Bacteria can’t develop resistance to having their proteins and membranes blasted. So these alcohol-based hand rubs aren’t going to stop working. Make sure they are alcohol-based, though some contain antibiotics instead of alcohol, and those do carry the risk of resistance.
But alcohol and water alone do not make goo. It’s alcohol that does the germ-murdering, but there’s other stuff in there too. The biggest one is glycerol. Glycerol is chemically alcohol, but unlike its cousins, it’s in there not to kill germs but to give the hand sanitizer the gooey consistency that makes it more portable and easier to use. Otherwise, it’d be like pouring vodka on your hands.
Don’t pour vodka on your hands. Alcohol, water, and glycerol are all you really need to make a DIY hand sanitizer. Throw in some hydrogen peroxide to inactivate bacterial spores, and you’ve got a recipe that gets the U.N.’s seal of approval. But while alcohol is all you need to kill germs, it’s not all that goes in there. Ethanol and isopropanol can dry your skin.
Glycerol helps counteract that effect, but so do a host of other additives manufacturers might put in. This often includes tocopherol [to-cough-fer-all] acetate, a molecule very similar to vitamin E that also happens to be great for your skin, – and familiar stuff like aloe. A host of colors and fragrances might also go in there. None of those are necessary for the hand sanitizer to work, but they might make your hands smell nice.
Ethanol-based hand sanitizer might also contain bitter or bad-tasting compounds to stop the small percentage of desperate people out there who are willing to drink it because, well, it’s alcohol. So do these chemical goo recipes really kill 99.99% of germs? Those numbers are usually the results of lab testing. But real life is messier.
And the effectiveness of hand sanitizer varies based on how oily or dirty your hands are, how much alcohol is in there, and which germs you’re actually talking about. Under ideal conditions, some disease-causing germs really do get zapped at that rate, but others don’t. OH and one more thing.
Hand sanitizers work best in combination with hand washing because they don’t physically remove dirt and gunk from your hands. So don’t forget that soap and water.
Is hand sanitizer going to protect you from definitively getting sick?
First of all, the best way is to actually wash your hands. The good old fashion soap and water is the best way to do it. At least twenty seconds. The CDC says 20 seconds, it could be up to 30 seconds. Now, does that mean that’s gonna happen for everyone?
Most people don’t wash their hands correctly. You put your hand under the water, you get it wet first, then you put the soap on.
Does it matter if it’s hot or cold?
It doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold because it’s not hot enough to kill the pathogen. You can’t put your hands under boiling water. Boiling water is what you would need to kill the bacteria, the virus.
So, you put the water, I tell my kids this all the time, we actually have a handwashing lesson ’cause I got sick of them they’re washing hands.
Water first, put the soap, you have to lather. That’s the 20-30 second mark people, the soap. Soap, lather. Not the running under the water part. You do the palms, you do the back, in between. You’ve all seen fake doctors, he’s a real one.
If you wanna look at the concentration of alcohol
The idea is first I wanna say if you’re buying hand sanitizer, you wanna look at the concentration of alcohol. The alcohol is what actually kills the pathogen. And so, you want it to be at least 60% according to the CDC.
When you look at your hand sanitizer, make sure it’s 60% or over, but we’re also going to make it. You can make this. Now, we’re gonna start with some rubbing alcohol, some isopropyl alcohol.
How to make your own hand sanitizer: What you have to know
A hand sanitizer is your best protection against viruses when you are out operating errands and can’t get to a sink to clean your hands.
According to the CDC, the best way to remain protected is to wash your hands for 20 seconds after getting back from a public place. As a common rule, it’s best to avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth with unwashed hands.
If you’re already using a hand sanitizer, ensure it has no less than 60% alcohol. There are some hand sanitizers that are alcohol-free, and these will not be as efficient in killing bacteria and viruses.
The correct way of using a hand sanitizer is to use it liberally to your hands and rub them together till the gel effervesces. Demand for hand sanitizers has shot through the roof within the wake of the coronavirus, and if you’re operating low, you can easily make some at home.
What ingredients do you want?
Making your personal hand sanitizer is easy to do and only requires just a few ingredients:
- Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 % alcohol volume)
- Aloe vera gel
- An essential oil, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, or you need to use lemon juice instead
The important thing to creating an efficient, germ-busting hand sanitizer is to stay to a 2:1 proportion of alcohol to aloe vera. This keeps the alcohol content around 60%. That is the minimum amount wanted to kill most germs, according to the CDCTrusted Source.
How do you make your own hand sanitizer?
Dr. Rishi Desai, chief medical officer of Osmosis, and a former epidemic intelligence service officer within the division of viral diseases on the CDC says that the hand sanitizer recipe beneath will kill 99.9% of germs after 60 seconds.
Hand sanitizer recipe: What you’ll want:
- 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99%)
- 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
- 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead
- Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
- Mix with a spoon after which beat with a whisk to show the sanitizer into a gel.
- Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”
Hand sanitizer method combines:
[Jagdish Khubchandani, Ph.D., associate professor of health science at Ball State University, shared a similar method.]
- Two components isopropyl alcohol or ethanol (91% to 99% alcohol)
- One part aloe vera
- Just a few drops of clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, or different essential oil.
- Make the hand sanitizer in a clear area. Wipe down countertops with a diluted bleach solution beforehand.
- Wash your hands totally before making the hand sanitizer.
- To combine, use a clean spoon and whisk. Wash these things totally before using them.
- Be sure that the alcohol used for the hand sanitizer just isn’t diluted.
- Combine all of the ingredients totally till they’re effectively blended.
- Don’t touch the mixture with your hands till it’s ready to be used.