If you’ve visited your local grocery or drug store in search of hand sanitizer over the past few weeks you’ve probably run into problems. Coronavirus concerns have caused hand sanitizer to be sold out almost everywhere, which had led to a number of people to start sharing recipes for how to make your own. Expcept that you probably shouldn’t, and especially not with vodka.
Last week our health editor took some of the recipes for hand sanitizer out for a spin and ran into problems. She notes that it’s easy to screw up a recipe for hands sanitizer. One of the easiest failures can come in not using enough alcohol. Your DIY hand sanitizer also will be pretty harsh on your skin. There’s a reason why products like Purell exists and people don’t typically try making their own at home.
Making your own hand sanitizer calls for rubbing alcohol, and ambitious DIYers have bought a lot of that out from stores as well, which has led to others suggesting replacing that alcohol with vodka.
The vodka recipe was even shared by one of my state’s politicians on Twitter. It sounds legit. Vodka is just alcohol, right? Except that vodka you’re buying at the store has been diluted with water to make it a reasonable thing to drink, which means it’s no longer strong enough to actually kill bacteria and work as a hand sanitizer. If you make hand sanitizer out of it, you’re essentially just wasting your vodka.
Vodka brand Tito’s shared a PSA from its Twitter accept Thursday noting that hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol per the CDC. Since Tito’s is 40%, it won’t meet the standards you need.
Both Tito’s and the CDC note that “washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to get rid of germs in most situations.” Save that vodka for drinking.