Washing your hands frequently and thoroughly is the best way to protect yourself against the novel coronavirus.
When you can’t access warm water and soap, hand sanitizer is the next best option.
Some drugstores are selling out of or running low on sanitizer, as well as cleansing wipes for surfaces.
Here’s how to make your own hand sanitizer and cleansing wipes, according to a germ expert.
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First, it was face masks. Now it’s hand sanitizer. Items that weren’t valuable just a couple months ago are now coveted, hoarded, and flying off store shelves.
While public-health experts don’t recommend healthy people wear face masks, you can make your own hand sanitizer and cleaning wipes should your local drugstore run dry.
Insider talked to Miryam Wahrman, a biology professor at William Paterson University and the author of “The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World,” about exactly how.
All you really need is alcohol, either isopropyl (rubbing) or ethyl (used in beer, wine, and spirits). As long as the solution is at least 60% alcohol, you can rub the liquid into your hands and let them air dry, then you’ll have effectively sanitized them.
“The bottom line is that alcohol is the active ingredient” in hand sanitizer, she said.
To make the experience a little gentler on your skin, you can moisturize after the alcohol has dried. You can also add a few drops of aloe vera to the rubbing alcohol, but make sure the liquid is over 60% alcohol so that the aloe doesn’t dilute it too much.
“If you drop below 60%, the effectiveness drops very dramatically,” Wahrman said.