Half of India’s 28 states and nine union territories have confirmed over 100 cases of Coronavirus infection as of 16 March 2020. People have been advised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to take precautions which include:

  • Frequently washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when it is not possible to wash their hands.
  • Avoiding touching their face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoiding crowded places.
  • Staying away from sick people.
  • Wearing a mask if they have flu-like symptoms.
  • Self-quarantining is also recommended for people who fear they may have been infected by the new SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Washing hands is the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This is because the virus - SARS-CoV-2 - has a thin outer layer of lipids (fats) and proteins which are easily destroyed when you wash your hands for 20 seconds (remember to clean in-between the fingers and under the nails, too!).

But if you do not have soap and water near you, all you need is a bottle of hand sanitizer. To kill the new Coronavirus, your hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol. The health ministry on 13 March passed the Essential Commodities Order 2020 to ensure the quality of hand sanitizers in the market. If, however, you are unsure about the quantity of alcohol in locally available hand sanitizers, you can make your own at home. Read on to know how to do this:

  1. What you will need to make hand sanitizer at home
  2. How to make alcohol-based hand sanitizer at home

Hand sanitizers are made up of three basic ingredients. You will need the following to make a sanitizer at home:

  • Isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol: You’ve probably seen rubbing alcohol at the doctor’s office - doctors and nurses use it to clean your arm before giving you an injection. Usually available as a blue-coloured spirit at chemists' shops, the rubbing alcohol you buy should have 99% alcohol by volume.
    This is the main ingredient which helps in killing germs. You will need a three-fourth cup of rubbing alcohol.
  • Aloe vera gel: It acts as a humectant in the sanitizer; that is, it prevents the alcohol from drying out your skin. You will need one-fourth cup of aloe vera gel. You can either use freshly scooped out gel from an aloe vera plant at home and blend it in or you can use commercially available gel.
  • Essential oil: Oils like tea tree oil or lavender oil are used to tone down the smell of the alcohol. You will need 7-10 drops of the essential oil.
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While making hand sanitizer at home, make sure the proportion of alcohol to aloe vera gel remains 2:1. This means two-thirds of the sanitizer should be alcohol and the remaining one-third should be aloe vera. This helps in making sure that the sanitizer contains around 66% of alcohol, which is the adequate amount of alcohol required to kill the Coronavirus and other germs.

The method for making hand sanitizer at home is:

  • Pour two parts alcohol and one part aloe vera gel in a clean glass bowl. Now, add 7-10 drops of your favourite essential oil.
  • Mix the ingredients with the help of a whisk till the gel and the alcohol come together.
  • Now, store it in a small bottle which can be carried around easily.

You can use this sanitizer to clean your hands every time you come in contact with high-touch surfaces like doorknobs, bus handles, switches and even elevator buttons.

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