Alcohol SanitisesBack to blog
In these challenging times it’s time to start relying on good old fashioned common sense and DIY
We currently have a shortage of basic items which last month didn’t seem important but are now in short supply due to unnecessary panic buying. Paper products, toilet paper, tissues plus food staples have cleared the shelves and all manner of disinfectants have become scarce, with hand sanitiser non-existent.
There’s not much we can do to about paper products or reduced food staples on shelves, other than wait for the supermarkets to catch up on deliveries and selfish shoppers to stop stockpiling. There are many items particularly foodstuffs, still available and maybe we just need to get a bit more creative in the kitchen and try something new.
It’s a great time to support our local producers and Australian manufacturers.
As for disinfectants and the like, who ever really used the hand sanitisers we carried around; yet they are now like gold and we all want some for when soap isn’t available. Unfortunately they are being stolen from the very places they are needed most, hospitals and health care facilities.
Most of us know that a staple ingredient of these sanitisers is alcohol or denatured alcohol, which is simply alcohol that has had obnoxious substances added to it to make it unpalatable for drinking. Other denatured alcohols include rubbing alcohol or surgical spirit; made of 70% isopropyl alcohol with mostly water and other chemicals added for use in antiseptic and cleaning solutions.
Whilst methylated spirits is also denatured alcohol it is stronger and not recommended for direct use on the skin as it is too drying, but it can be a good disinfectant, in line with good old bleach.
Liquor Brands Step Up
While global luxury liquor brands in Sweden, France and the UK are now actively producing alcohol for use in hand sanitisers, we can make our own from readily available ingredients.
The World Health Organisation have a downloadable recipe however it’s bulk production in 10 lt batches is not very user friendly. Hopefully, more than you will ever need.
Homemade Hand Sanitiser
The version below is more practical for home DIY and is based on a recipe by Dr Rishi Desai (viral infectious disease specialist).
- 3/4 cup 99% proof alcohol, rubbing alcohol or other dentured alcohol – disinfectant
- 1/4 cup Aloe vera gel / glycerin – moisturiser to counter drying, you can also use aloe vera picked from the garden but it won’t have preservative properties.
- 10 drops essential oils – tea tree, lavender or lemon, mild natural anti-septic, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
Simply mix ingredients together then whisk to emulsify. Store in sterilised containers and use as required when soap is not available.
In order to be effective, hand sanitisers need to contain an overall alcohol by volume (ABV) of 60% and above. This means that the rate of alcohol (99%) to moisturiser, needs to be at least 2:1, or higher ie 3:1, if the alcohol is less than 99%.
Of the alcohol products suitable to use, Vodka generally has the highest ABV at anywhere from 40-95%. Other suitable options include gin, bourbon, whiskey, tequila, liqueurs, and absinthe.
It is important to check the ABV of the alcohol base you are using and adjust the recipe to ensure that it will do the job you want.
Check out the alcohol options at your nearest Camel and get mixing. Perhaps make some up for friends and family while your at it.