With the increase concerns around the latest Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there has been a surge in panic buying. As it is not entirely known how the virus spreads, the assumption is through cough droplets. What is even more concerning is that recent research has implied it could sit on many surfaces for up to 72hours. The important thing about envelope virus’ such as coronavirus, is that is is easier to kill with disinfectants. Many of these are clearly labelled which is why you will find it extreamly difficult to find any Dettol on the shelves. In terms of our hands though, if soap and water isn’t availble then we need to grab ourselves some sanitiser. If you’re someone who frequently uses public transport then you may wish to reach for santiser more than most. Unfortunately the panic buyers have already taken hold and so now you may have to make somme of your own. Luckily if like me, you have some ethanol or isopropyl lying around, then it’s relatively simple.
Isopropyl Vs Ethanol
Firstly lets have a quick look at the difference betweeen these since I’ve notied that isoproyl has dissappeared before ethanol. Since these are both members of the alcohol family it makes it hard to know what the difference is. Firstly it is worth noting that both of these have similar disinfectant properties. What makes alcohols effective disinfectant (among many reasons) is they are capable of dissolving lipids, making them effective against enveloped viruses such as HIV, hepatitis A, coronaviruses and the common cold. 90% alcohol rubs are more effective against viruses than most other forms of hand washing. In less than 30s it has the ability to kill 99.99% of all non-spore forming bacteria on human skin.
Isopropyl alcohol is also known as ‘rubbing alcohol’ and these are typically used at a concentration of 70%. Although similar in function and structure to ethanol it is not as effective at dehydrating living tissue. This makes it a better solution for disinfecting the skin and why it is often used as an antiseptic. The reason why it is so toxic is as in the liver Isopropyl is converted into acetone.
Side note: Isopropyl is great at cleaning grime off things such as mirrors.
It is said that Ethanol is best for hand sanitisers because it’s safe enough for human consumption. Isopropyl should never be ingested although it is safe on the skin. Others are highly poisonous, such as methanol. It is also important to be mindful when adding essential oils as these may even be dangerous.
Making your own is possible provided you pay close attention to the alcohol percentage. In order for it to be effective the alcohol concentration would need to stay between 60%-90%. For example; a bottle which is 2 3rds of 90%-91%, would be about 60% alcohol. To make it more concentrated, you would make it 8parts 91% alcohol and 2 parts aloe. Alternatively you could place 70% rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle undiluted. If you are making your own then the W.H.O recommends you allow it to sit for 72hours prior to use.
The reason aloe is added is for skin moisture as rubbing alcohol can strip the hands of this. As I mentioned, you culd use rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle however there is another alternative. A little glycerine can do the same thing so is a great substitute.
Don’t Use Vodka
Unsure where this one has come from however vodka is not something you should be using to create sanitiser. The best 100proof vodka is about 50% ethanol and as I mentioned, you would need 60%-90% in order for it to be effective.
Although I hope you found this post helpful, it is important to highlight that correctly washing your hands is the most effective way to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Providing you wash your hands for 20 seconds in the correct way then you should hopefully not need to make your own sanitisers. With panic buying becoming such an issue, it is also the most readily available way to tackle the issue. Below I made a video on how I have been doing this frequently and often. It’s also worth highlighting that you should avolid touching your face. This may be easy for those who are use to wearing make up or have suffered with acne, compared to others.