We’ve found ourselves in a time where hygiene is more important than ever, and everyone is concerned about keeping themselves and their loved ones safe and healthy. Soap, sanitizing sprays and hand sanitizers have been flying off the shelves, as we take the proper precautions to stay healthy and germ-free.
For a fun at-home activity that will help you do your part to flatten the curve, learn how to make an array of DIY sanitizers—from hand sanitizer to surface cleaner. While we all have a little more indoor time on our hands, why not learn a new hobby?
DIY Hand Sanitizer
If soap, water and a sink aren’t immediately available to you, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends hand sanitizer as the next best alternative to hand washing for getting your hands squeaky clean. However, unless you’re already stocked up on store-bought sanitizer, you’ll be hard pressed to find any in stores or online.
Luckily, making your own takes only three ingredients, an hour and some concentration. Read on to learn how to DIY your own hand sanitizer!
Experts recommend that hand sanitizer should only be DIYed by professionals or those with necessary expertise and resources for safe creation and proper utilization. Be careful and watchful when applying DIY sanitizer on children’s skin, as they may be more likely to use it improperly.
Before you start mixing, be sure you’re operating in a safe place in your home and taking proper precautions, including:
- Making the sanitizer in a clean, well-ventilated space
- If possible, clean your workspace with diluted bleach solution before and after
- Washing hands thoroughly before and after
- Mixing with a clean spoon and whisk
- Ensuring alcohol is not diluted before adding
- Mixing all ingredients to create a well-blended mixture
- Avoiding touching mixture until it is blended and ready for usage
Ingredients for DIY Santizer
To get started in making your own hand sanitizer, you’ll need only three easy ingredients. The following recipe is advised from Dr. Rishi Desai, chief medical officer of Osmosis and former epidemic intelligence service officer in the viral diseases division of the CDC. His recipe will kill 99.9 percent of germs when used for at least 60 seconds.
To get started, you’ll need:
- ¾ cup 99 percent isopropyl or rubbing alcohol
- ¼ cup aloe vera gel
- 10 drops essential oil (lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, etc.)
- If none is available, sub lemon juice
DIY Sanitizer Recipe
Once you’ve gathered all your materials, here’s how to make your own hand sanitizer. Be sure to wash your hands before and after, and that you’re using clean materials.
- Pour ingredients into a bowl, ideally a glass measuring container
- Blend with a spoon
- Beat with whisk to turn mixture to gel consistency
- Pour blended mixture into clean, empty bottle with twist-off or pump lid
- Label “hand sanitizer”
DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe Card & Label
What better way to be sure you’re following the recipe exactly than with a printable recipe card? Throw it back to your grandmother’s recipe box of carefully hand-printed recipes for family favorites, but this time it’s for your very own sanitizer recipe. Once you’re done mixing you’ll need a label, too. Enjoy your very own printable recipe card and sanitizer label to add a little joy to cleaning your hands!
Virus germs, including ones that cause the common cold and flu, can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours. To keep everyone in your household safe and healthy, be sure to regularly disinfect high-touch areas in your home, which the CDC identifies as:
- Light switches
The recommended way to regularly clean these surfaces, if appropriate, is with a diluted household bleach solution at least twice a week. To find out how to make your own, check out this recipe from the CDC.
Surface Sanitizer Directions
Making your own household bleach solution requires only a few ingredients. To be sure you’re taking proper precautions, follow manufacturer guidelines for proper application and ventilation. Use gloves when handling bleach, and prepare your mix in a well-ventilated area, or cover your mouth with a bandana or mask.
All you’ll need to prepare your very own bleach solution is two ingredients:
The CDC recommends two ways to make your bleach solution:
- Mix 5 tablespoons (⅓ cup) bleach per gallon of water, OR
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Mix these carefully in a clear plastic spray bottle, label accordingly and keep away from children and pets.
DIY Surface Sanitizer Label
Let everyone in your household know where the surface sanitizer is with this label you can easily print off and apply to your sanitizer bottle! Be sure to fill out the bottling date so you can keep up on regularly changing it out for fresh bleach, as expired bleach won’t kill germs. Be sure to use clean, disposable gloves when disinfecting surfaces.
Hand Washing vs. Hand Sanitizer
Hand washing may seem to be very similar to hand sanitizer, as they both help your hands get clean and kill germs along the way. While both of these tasks accomplish the end goal of getting clean, they operate very differently.
When to Hand Wash
The CDC advises that washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds reduces the amount of all types of germs, metals and pesticides present on hands.
The CDC identifies the following situations as the best times to wash hands with soap and water, if possible:
- Before, during and after preparing food
- Before eating
- Before and after caring for a person who is sick
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After changing diapers, using the bathroom, or cleaning up a child who used the bathroom
- After touching garbage
- After touching an animal, animal food/treats, animal’s cages or animal waste
- When hands are visibly greasy or dirty
Be sure you’re following the CDC-recommended steps for hand washing!
- Wet hands with water and apply soap
- Lather hands
- Scrub all parts of your hands, including: palms, backs, fingers, between fingers, under fingernails
- Rinse hands
- Dry with clean towel or air dry
Hand Washing Chart for Kids
To ensure your little one is keeping up with the CDC-recommended 20 seconds, help make it fun! Experts recommend singing to ensure you’re meeting the 20 second time mark, which is now more important than ever. Some songs that you and your kiddo can sing together to pass the time are:
- “Happy Birthday” twice
- The chorus of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees
- The chorus of “Jolene” by Dolly Parton
- The beginning of “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga
- The chorus of “Africa” by Toto
To encourage healthy habits and be sure your little one is properly washing up every time, have them to track their hand-washing with a hand-washing chart!
Hang this in the bathroom or by the kitchen sink, and remind them to put a sticker down each time they reach the full 20-second threshold. Decide what their incentive will be (10 stickers equals a treat, 20 stickers equals 10 more minutes of television at night) and wash away!
When to Use Hand Sanitizer
Unlike hand washing with soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer does not kill ALL types of germs, pesticides or heavy metals. However, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can keep hands clean when soap and water aren’t available, such as in your car, at your desk or after being in public places.
The CDC recommends usage of hand sanitizer before and after visiting a loved one in the hospital or at a nursing home, and at any point soap and water is not available, so it’s a best practice to keep a bottle in common areas where you don’t have access to a sink.
Follow proper protocol when applying hand sanitizer to be sure you’re actually sanitizing your hands until they’re dry (usually from 30 to 60 seconds). The recommended steps for applying hand sanitizer are:
- Apply sanitizer to the palm of one hand
- Thoroughly rub hands together, covering the entire surface of both hands as well as fingers
- Continue rubbing until your hands are completely dry; it can take up to 60 seconds, sometimes longer, for sanitizer to completely kill most germs
When Not to Use Hand Sanitizer
The CDC recommends using soap and water rather than hand sanitizer when hands are visibility greasy or dirty; such as:
- After gardening
- After playing outdoors
- After camping or fishing
- After visiting someone who is sick
While these are uncertain times for everyone, taking some control over the cleanliness of yourself, your family and your home can give you a sense of purpose and peace. Be sure to be careful, stay safe and always check with the CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) for more tips on staying clean and healthy.
Disclaimer: FragranceX does not endorse fragrance as a method for preventing or slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.