What is Hand Sanitizer: How to make hand sanitizer, limitations and safety concerns

Due to the outbreak of Coronavirus (Covid – 19) the use of hand sanitizers being a precautionary measure have been very high. Some persons have abuse the sanitizer either during production or during use. This is why this article is timely to educate persons about Hand Sanitizers.

What this article will cover include:

  • What are hand sanitizers

  • Benefits of hand sanitizers

  • Limitations of hand sanitizers

  • How to make your hand sanitizer at home

  • Ingredients for making hand sanitizers

  • Safety concerns about hand sanitizers


What is Hand Sanitizer

According to Wikipedia; Hand sanitizer is a liquid or gel generally used to decrease infectious agents on the hands. There are different formulations for hand sanitizer, but alcohol based formulation are preferable to hand washing with soap and water in most situations in the healthcare setting. Alcohol based sanitizer are preferred because it is generally more effective at killing microorganisms and better tolerated than soap and water. The general use of non-alcohol based versions has no recommendations since they are also less effective for microorganisms norovirus, and Clostridium difficile. 

Benefits of using hand sanitizers

  • When used properly, hand sanitizers can eliminate 99.9% of the germs on your hands. The CDC recommends washing your hands any time you’re around food (preparing it or eating it), animals, garbage, and more. When you find yourself in these situations, hand sanitizer is the perfect addition to (or occasional replacement for) washing your hands with soap and water.
  • Portability: In those situations where you need to wash your hands, there isn’t always going to be soap and water available. You can slip a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your glove compartment, a purse, or even your pocket for situations where you might want to wash your hands but either can’t find a sink or waiting for one is inconvenient.
  • It minimize your exposure to other people’s germs which is crucial for your health. When you take a moment to sanitize your hands a few times throughout the day, you reduce your chances of getting sick.

In general, alcohol-based hand sanitizers help to deter the spread of germs and illness-causing bacteria, particularly in busy environments like schools and offices..

Limitations of hand sanitizer

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers don’t kill all types of germs, such as a stomach bug called norovirus, some parasites, and Clostridium difficile, which causes severe diarrhea.
  • Hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
  • Hand sanitizers might not remove harmful chemicals, like pesticides and heavy metals like lead from your hand.


Ingredients for making hand sanitizer

Making your own hand sanitizer is easy to do and only requires a few ingredients. Ingredients include:

  • Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent alcohol volume)
  • Aloe vera gel
  • An essential oil, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead

The key to making an effective, germ-busting hand sanitizer is to stick to a 2:1 proportion of alcohol to aloe vera. This keeps the alcohol content around 60 percent. This is the minimum amount needed to kill most germs, according to the CDCTrusted Source.

Mixing ratio

  • 3/4 cup of isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99 percent)
  • 1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (to help keep your hands smooth and to counteract the harshness of alcohol)
  • 10 drops of essential oil, such as lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead


  • Pour all ingredients into a bowl, ideally one with a pouring spout like a glass measuring container.
  • Mix with a spoon and then beat with a whisk to turn the sanitizer into a gel.
  • Pour the ingredients into an empty bottle for easy use, and label it “hand sanitizer.”


Safety concerns of hand sanitizers:

  • Fire: Keep away from heat/sparks/open flames/hot. Alcohol gel can catch fire, producing a translucent blue flame. This is due to the flammable alcohol in the gel. Some hand sanitizer gels may not produce this effect due to a high concentration of water or moisturizing agents. Fire departments suggest refills for the alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be stored with cleaning supplies away from heat sources or open flames.
  • Improper ingredients or proportions can lead to:
  1. Lack of efficacy, meaning that the sanitizer may not effectively eliminate risk of exposure to some or all microbes
  2. May cause skin irritation, injury, or burns
  3. There may be exposure to hazardous chemicals via inhalation.
  • Ethyl alcohol (ethanol)-based hand sanitizers are safe when used as directed, but they can cause alcohol poisoning if a person swallows more than a couple of mouthfuls.
  • Homemade hand sanitizer is also not recommended for use with children. Children may be more prone to improper hand sanitizer usage, which could lead to greater risk for injury.


First aid measures for accidents spill

  • In case of eye contact : Immediately flush eyes with plenty of water
    for at least 15 minutes.
  • If easy to do, remove contact lens, if worn.
  • If swallowed : DO NOT induce vomiting.
  • Rinse mouth thoroughly with water.
  • Get medical attention if symptoms occur.


If you need the hand sanitizer in quantity:

Whatsapp only: 07031303598





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By Ubong Edet

A passionate Health and Safety professional with a good level of field experience and relevant certifications including NEBOSH, OSHA, ISO, etc certifications. An Health and Safety activist who believes in the growth and continual improvement of the profession. He is going all out to create awareness and safe precious lives.

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