should people be making their own hand sanitiser?

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cooking hands handwashing health
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If you haven’t heard already, the incidence of COVID-19 is now increasing across the globe increasing the likelihood of it being declared a pandemic (a disease that affects people worldwide i.e. in multiple continents).

Action plans and predictions have been flying around over the past week due to the worsening spread of the virus in Iran, South Korea and Italy. The UK has seen its cases grow and the US reported its first virus-related death over the weekend.

Growing concerns have led to mass buying of essentials like hand sanitisers – an effective tool in combating the spread of the virus.


Over the past few days I have been searching frantically online to see if I could find hand sanitiser and saw ‘Out of stock’ more times that I can count. It’s nowhere to be seen in stores either, with certain retailers now limiting the amount that people can buy.

Eventually, I stumbled across a tweet that stated a simple solution – make my own!

According to various sources on the web, all you need to make your own hand sanitiser is either isopropyl/ethyl alcohol, aloe vera gel and essential oils (such as tea tree oil) for scent.

Seems simple, right?

Well, the more I thought about it, the more it seemed too simple.

In fact, a glance at WHO (World Health Organization) guide to making hand sanitiser makes the process seem more complicated than mixing three ingredients in a bowl.

It’s also worth noting that the guide is for areas where people don’t necessarily have easy access to soap and water.

While you may feel safer with your home-made sanitiser, Public Health England confirmed to HuffPost UK that it is not recommended. This is because these products need to be at least 60% alcohol and it won’t be easy to ensure that’s the case at home. Store bought products also contain emollients designed to keep your hands moisturised whereas home made sanitiser may be harsh on your hands.

For someone like me with eczema, that’s a disastrous scenario so for now I’ve decided to wait it out and stock up when (or if!) it becomes available in stores again.

The main take away from all the advice available is that while it’s easy to get frustrated at the current shortage of hand sanitiser, the best thing to do is to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, ensuring that you clean under your nails.

Be sure to take special care if you’re using public transport or in areas where there is a lot of people. 

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HuffPost UK