One of the most asked questions online is whether you can make hand and surface sanitisers at home that actually are effective against the Coronavirus. A lot has been written on this topic, and scientists are continuing to study the virus to this day. However, there are some concoctions you can make, and we will tell you how all the while explaining the science behind it. So let’s dive in.
How to Make a Hand Sanitiser at Home
According to the CDC, FDA and WHO, hand sanitisers must contain at least 60% alcohol to deactivate the Coronavirus. This means that the alcohol content of your DIY concoction must be 60% or over. To successfully follow this requirement, the alcohol you use must be 99% pure. Additionally, you will need a proper deluding agent, and the most suitable for your skin is aloe vera gel. Then all you have to do is mix the two ingredients. Look at the graphic below.
This simple but effective recipe is made from:
- ⅔ cups of 99% Isopropyl alcohol
- ⅓ cup of aloe vera gel (the brand is up to you)
A common misreading of the WHO guidelines is that the concentration of the alcohol you use has to be over 60% and not the end product. This is not the case, as then your DIY hand sanitiser will be weaker and won’t be able to battle the virus.
As you can clearly see, a bottle of 70% alcohol contains 30 % other ingredients (water, essential oils and denaturants). If you use this solution for your DIY hand sanitiser, the alcohol contents of your final product will drop to merely 46%. And that is not enough to kill the virus.
How to Make a Surface Sanitiser at Home
Before looking at your options, we need to examine the virus itself and see how long it can survive on different surfaces. According to a study made by the New England Journal of Medicine, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) can stay viable on:
- Copper for up to 4hrs
- Cardboard for up to 24 hrs
- Plastic for up to 3 days
- Steal for up to 3 days
That is quite scary, so how can we effectively sanitise and disinfect our home. First, let us clarify that sanitisers and disinfectants are two completely different solutions with different properties. Essentially disinfectants kill bacteria and viruses, and sanitisers remove them. We’ve explained it in detail in our recent article “Disinfectants vs Sanitisers: What You Need to Know”.
The situation with COVID-19 is a bit different as It is a virus the world has never seen before, and studies are being conducted even as you read this. Thankfully, there is an official list of disinfectants deemed effective against the coronavirus issued by EPA (The US Environmental Protection Agency). Note how long each chemical has to sit before being wiped off. Some solvents need 1 or 5 minutes, while others need more than 10 minutes to start working against the virus.
Having all this information, let’s get back to our main question – how to make a DIY household sanitiser effective against COVID – 19. Well, you can’t because you already have the perfect solution mixed and ready to be used. Like the hand sanitiser, you will need a liquid containing 60% or more alcohol to kill the virus. So our simple solution is to buy a couple of bottles of Isopropyl Alcohol 99% and wipe your household surfaces with it. To be fair, you can use any alcohol, even vodka, as long as it is strong enough.
Follow these simple safety advice:
- Wear gloves while sanitising the surfaces as your skin can get dry and irritated.
- Keep the alcohol away from children and pets.
- If you choose to use drinkable alcohol, make sure to open the windows as these beverages usually have a strong scent.
- Do not drink or ingest the alcohol. You can cause severe internal burns.
- Wear protective goggles and if alcohol gets in your eyes, rinse them with lots of cold water and seek medical help immediately.
As you can see, disinfecting your home on your own has its risks. We strongly advise you to book a professional cleaning service and avoid working with DIY surface sanitisers. The same goes if you decide to purchase and apply strong cleaners, as they can be particularly dangerous. Leave the cleaning to the trained professionals, and protect your and your family’s wellbeing.
True and False When It Comes to Sanitisers
For the past two years, the internet has come up with thousands of cleaning and sanitising hacks. People can get easily caught in the web of misrepresentation and false advertisement. So let’s bust some myths and see if we can find tips that actually work to help you stay well informed.
Claim 1: You can use vinegar to disinfect your household surfaces
Vinegar is a fairly weak acid. It can be effective in removing some types of bacteria, but COVID-19 is a virus meaning it is better, stronger and has a different biostructure. According to Dr David Evans, a professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology at the University: “ Although acids will inactivate viruses (vinegar is acetic acid), it’s quite dilute, and the pH isn’t likely low enough.”
So with that, we declare the vinegar claim as
Claim 2: Regular soap can destroy the COVID-19 virus
Soap is a quite unique chemical compound. Its molecule has two parts – a polar head and a non-polar tail. Fats get attracted to the non-polar tail, while the polar head makes the whole complex (soap + fat molecules) dissolve in water. The Davidson Institute of Science Education explains this interesting chemical reaction in one of their articles.
But what does this have to do with coronavirus? Well, the outer layer of the virus molecule is formed from lipids which are essentially fat. This means that any kind of soap, even the cheap one placed in hotel rooms, can effectively break the virus molecule and thus destroy it.
It is important to note that antibacterial soaps do not work on viruses because they target bacteria and work differently.
Now, you know why every major health organisation in the world recommends washing your hands with soap.
With that, we declare this claim to be
Claim 3: DIY Solutions are as good as the storebought products
This is a flat out lie and very dangerous at that. If you look at the EPA list linked above, you can see how complex cleaners and disinfectants can be. They often have multiple ingredients that work only under special conditions. The fast mix of vinegar, water, aloe vera gel or other common components will not work on the Coronavirus. If you want to avoid the dangers of using strong solvents in the home, use alcohol. But remember to follow the listed safety precautions.
So our London cleaners state this claim to be
Claim 4: If you put your food in the freezer the cold will kill the Coronavirus
We know that the coronavirus can survive for a very long time on cardboard and plastic, thus on the packaging of the majority of your food products. A popular hack claims that if you leave your groceries in the fridge or freezer for a while, the cold will kill the virus. Here is where it gets tricky with the actual scientific data. Currently, scientists are testing the agility of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) in different environments and have not published official reports on the matter. However, there was a study conducted in 2010 by the Americal Society of Microbiology investigating the effects of temperature and humidity on the other types of coronaviruses. Experts discovered that the SARS viruses thrived in low humidity and temperatures below 4°C (40°F) – the same environment the typical fridge has.
Long story short, this claim is completely
Altho it seems like the covid pandemic is at its end and things will get back to normal by the end of 2022, you still need to be wary of the virus. It may not be as strong as in the beginning, but it can still ruin your week and make you feel like you had been struck by a train. So stay safe, follow the guidelines your government offers, regularly wash and sanitise your hands and stay positive. And if you feel like going for a much-needed walk in the park, you can always call our London house cleaning crew to take care of your home while you are away.