DIY Hand Sanitizer For Coronavirus May Not Be Healthy
Experts including chemists won't make their own at home and explain why. The World Health Organization and the CDC say washing your hands with soap and water is best.
Recently spread of the coronavirus has caused a shortage of hand sanitizers on the shelves in any store you go into from your local supermarket, to any of the big box stores, drug stores, to the mall. If you try to buy hand sanitizer online you'll face either "out of stock" or you'll see the price greatly inflated. Many have turned to recipes being shared all over the web including Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook for how to make your own at home. It's clear that many are going this route because one of the main ingredients for the DIY hand sanitizer recipe is isopropyl alcohol, and you can't find alcohol on the shelves either. Even if you could, there are reasons this may not be a wise idea.
Hand Sanitizer Recipe From WHO
The WHO formulation is available online, but it is designed for healthcare workers to make their own hand sanitizer in locations where clean water, soap and commercial sanitizer are scarce. The measurements here will create large quantities, however, calling for 35 cups of 96% ethanol, 0.6 cups of 98% glycerol and 1.7 cups of 3% hydrogen peroxide, for example. And the steps get complicated. even calling for quarantining the solution for 72 hours to allow any spores or contaminants present in the alcohol or the bottle storing the mixture.
Didier Pittet, an expert in infectious disease control at the World Health Organization and one of the writers of the WHO formulation shared above strongly advises against trying to make hand sanitizer at home. “I will certainly not do it by myself in my kitchen. The reason? You will probably get the recipe wrong. You need to calculate the amounts that you need to use. You need to check, eventually, the quality of what you have done. So what I would really recommend is to go to a pharmacy where they can do it. It's a preparation and they will do it.”
Stephen Thomas, M.D., chief of infectious diseases and director of global health at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse warns, “People don’t know the right ratios to use, and the internet won’t give you the right answer. Not only can you hurt yourself, but it could give you a false sense of security.”
Richard Sachleben, an organic chemist and member of the American Chemical Society. agrees adding, “I’m a professional chemist, and I don’t mix my own disinfectant products at home. Companies spend a bunch of time and money to pay chemists specifically to formulate hand sanitizers that work and that are safe. If you make it yourself, how can you know if it’s stable or if it works?”
What Not To Use Against Coroniavirus
1. DIY Hand Sanitizer
3. White Vinegar
Cleaning Products That Destroy Coronavirus
Soap and Water
Just the friction from scrubbing with soap and water can break the coronavirus’s protective envelope. “Scrub like you’ve got sticky stuff on the surface and you really need to get it off,” says Richard Sachleben, an organic chemist and member of the American Chemical Society. Discard the towel or leave it in a bowl of soapy water for a while to destroy any virus particles that may have survived.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a diluted bleach solution (⅓ cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per 1 quart of water) for virus disinfection. Wear gloves while using bleach, and never mix it with anything except water. (The only exception is when doing laundry with detergent.)“Bleach works great against viruses,” Sachleben says. Just don’t keep the solution for longer than a few days because bleach will degrade certain plastic containers.Bleach can also corrode metal over time, so Sachleben recommends that people not get into the habit of cleaning their faucets and stainless steel products with it. Because bleach is harsh for many countertops as well, you should rinse surfaces with water after disinfecting to prevent discoloration or damage to the surface.
Alcohol solutions with at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against coronavirus. Do not dilute the alcohol solution. Alcohol is generally safe for all surfaces but can discolor some plastics, Sachleben says.
According to the CDC, household (3 percent) hydrogen peroxide is effective in deactivating rhinovirus, the virus that causes the common cold, within 6 to 8 minutes of exposure. Rhinovirus is more difficult to destroy than coronaviruses, so hydrogen peroxide should be able to break down coronavirus in less time. Pour it undiluted into a spray bottle and spray it on the surface to be cleaned, but let it sit on the surface for several minutes.Hydrogen peroxide is not corrosive, so it’s okay to use it on metal surfaces. But similar to bleach, it can discolor fabrics if you accidentally get in on your clothes. “It’s great for getting into hard-to-reach crevices,” Sachleben says. “You can pour it on the area and you don’t have to wipe it off because it essentially decomposes into oxygen and water.”
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