No, You Shouldn't Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer with Vodka — Wash Your Hands Instead

As shortages of hand sanitizers mount across the country amid the coronavirus outbreak, people are investigating ways to make their own homemade versions — but most will not be effective in killing germs, based on Centers for Disease Control recommendations.

Hand sanitizer is one of the most in-demand items as people prepare for the new coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, and social media posts and local news outlets have shown the sold-out shelves at grocery stores around the country.

As a last resort, people are looking up recipes to make their own with everything from isopropyl alcohol to hydrogen peroxide to vodka, which led the Texas-based Tito’s to remind people on Twitter that vodka is not an effective solution to fight germs.

As the brand pointed out, “per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.”

A spokesperson for the brand told The Dallas Morning News that the company wanted to stop the spread of misinformation.

“As soon as we saw the incorrect articles and social posts, we wanted to set the record straight,” they said. “While it would be good for business for our fans to use massive quantities of Tito’s for hand sanitizer, it would be a shame to waste the good stuff, especially if it doesn’t sanitize (which it doesn’t, per the CDC).”

And while hand sanitizer can help to reduce germs, even those with 60 percent alcohol “do not get rid of all types of germs,” says the CDC.

Instead, the best method of coronavirus prevention is to wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, making sure to scrub the backs of the hand, between fingers and underneath nails.

Along with keeping hands clean, the World Health Organization also says that people should avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth, particularly after touching unknown surfaces.

They should also try to keep about 1 to 3 feet between themselves and a person who is coughing or sneezing — and that person should make sure to cover their mouth and nose in their elbow.

Anyone who feels unwell and suspects they may have coronavirus should stay home to limit spread of the disease. They should call their health care provider, who can direct them to the correct medical center for testing and treatment.


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