If you’re not prepared to fork over big bucks for a small bottle of hand sanitizer, there’s an alternative option beyond good old-fashioned hand washing with soap and water.
Along with face masks and Clorox wipes, the alcohol-based gel has been one of the most in-demand items as coronavirus fears have sparked panic buying that has left store shelves bare. This had brought complaints of price gouging with a two-pack of Purell 12-ounce bottles selling for a marked-up $149.
For a price comparison, during back-to-school shopping this summer, eight-ounce bottles of Purell, a popular item on teachers’ wish lists, cost less than $2 between sales and coupons.
Now, shoppers are going the Do-It-Yourself route and making batches of homemade hand sanitizer with items widely available in most households.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says hand washing with soap and water is the best ways to clean your hands, but when that’s not an option recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC says hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy.
Do-It-Yourself hand sanitizer recipes: Vodka or rubbing alcohol
There are multiple ways to make your own sanitizer and one recipe posted on ThoughtCo.com by chemistry expert Anne Marie Helmenstine, requires two ingredients: isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and aloe vera gel.
The ThoughtCo recipe calls for two-thirds of a cup of the rubbing alcohol or ethanol and a third-cup of aloe vera gel. According to the reference site, essential oils can also be added to it.
In a similar recipe, Good Housekeeping magazine uses vodka as the alcohol.
When will hand sanitizer restock?
Purell, the best-selling hand sanitizer, is pumping up production and stores say they are talking to suppliers to restock up.
Purell says it has seen higher demand from health care facilities in addition to stores. It is adding more shifts and having employees work overtime at the two Ohio facilities where most Purell is made, says Samantha Williams, a spokeswoman for its parent company Gojo Industries.
Walmart has seen higher demand for cleaning supplies and other items, similar to when shoppers start preparing for a hurricane. The world’s largest retailer says it is working with suppliers to stock up again on those items, including hand sanitizer.
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Preventing coronavirus: Wash hands
According to the CDC, this how to clean your hands.
With an alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- Put product on hands and rub hands together
- Cover all surfaces until hands feel dry
- This should take around 20 seconds
With soap and water:
- Wet your hands with warm water. Use liquid soap if possible. Apply a nickel- or quarter-sized amount of soap to your hands.
- Rub your hands together until the soap forms a lather and then rub all over the top of your hands, in between your fingers and the area around and under the fingernails.
- Continue rubbing your hands for at least 15 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Rinse your hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel if possible. Then use your paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door if needed.
Contributing: Associated Press
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko