Saturday, September 5, 2009

Frugal Hand Sanitizer!

Alcohol deemed effective for hand sanitizing.
The CDC and many other Government Agencies are recommending alcohol based hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of the Flu virus. Most hand sanitizers kill bacteria, but only concentrations of
60% or more alcohol kills viruses.

Anyone who has purchased these products(if you can even find them!) know they are expensive! Like many other products, most of the cost is for advertising, bottling and shipping.

Purell $4.49/8 ounces 56 cents/ounce

Germ-X $4.49/8 ounces 56 cents per ounce

Germ-X pocket size $2.29/2.5 ounces 91 cents per ounce

Since those extra costs are not going to get your hands cleaner--skip them and make your own Sanitizing Hand Cleaner--refill the old bottles and save some big bucks!

These products all have the base ingredient: denatured or "rubbing" alcohol. The formula for this type of alcohol is dictated by the Federal Government so every source of this type of alcohol is the same--buy the cheapest you can find!

So far, the cheapest source I have found for denatured alcohol is at the hardware store in the paint thinner department. My local Lowe's Hardware has it for $6.69 per quart or $15.28 per gallon and it is 90% alcohol(with exactly the same methanol and acetone added as you would find in the pharmacy as "rubbing alcohol" except that rubbing alcohol is typically 70% alcohol and has water added to bring it down to that concentration.

Inexpensive Alcohol Based Sanitizer
makes 12 oz.@ 63.25% alcohol for about 8-13 cents per ounce.

1/2 cup cool water
1 cup denatured alcohol (90%) Available at hardware stores as a paint stripper.
10 drops fragrance oil - optional
1 drop food coloring - optional
Vitamin E oil, green tea extract, tea tree oil, etc. - optional.

Combine ingredients and stir. Store in a spray pump bottle. Will last indefinitely.

Household Bleach is the Best Virus Killer
Store-brand chlorine bleach can be used as a disinfectant by mixing 1/4-cup chlorine bleach with 1 gallon of cool water. --Ratio of 1:64 . Bleach has been found to be the best civilian sanitizer and is a very common base for antibiotic cleaners in Third World Countries because it is very, very cheap. To extrapolate this into a homemade hand sanitizer we can start with a bottle of inexpensive hand lotion and add bleach to it.

Bleach Based Hand Sanitizer

Dump the contents of a bottle of hand lotion into a mixing bowl, add bleach, mix well and return to the bottle. Be sure to mark the bottle "With Bleach Added: 1:64"

Bottle size
--------- Amount of Bleach to Add
8 ounce
--------------3/4 Teaspoon
16 ounce
------------1/4 ounce (1 1/2 Teaspoon)
32 ounce
------------1/2 ounce (1 Tablespoons)

Extra benefit: This small amount of bleach will leave your hands very clean and make your nails super white!

Some people are pretty allergic to chlorine bleach and they should go with the alcohol based sanitizer instead, but for sheer virus killing properties, bleach is always the best product for the job.


slartibartfast said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Ben said...

The denatured alcohol at the hardware store is ABSOLUTELY NOT the same as rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy.

The drugstore has Ethyl alcohol or ethanol, or isopropyl alcohol. All of these chemicals are poisonous but methanol and acetone are not only more poisonous but MUCH harsher on your skin.

tscottdds said...

Just for the record, denatured alcohol is NOT the same as rubbing alcohol. Rubbing Alcohol is Isopropyl alcohol. It's a 3 carbon alcohol. You can buy it at the pharmacy in concentrations of 70% or 91%. Isopropyl alcohol is NOT safe for human consumption -- as in you can't drink it, and it's toxic if you do.

Denatured alcohol is actually ETHYL ALCOHOL, also known as ETHANOL -- a two carbon alcohol that has been altered to make it unsafe for human consumption -- as in EVERCLEAR (96% concentration of ethanol, 4% water) that has been altered with something so that it's no longer "safe" to drink.

So for informational purposes, not that it's much cheaper, because I think a gallon of everclear costs like $36 or so, nobody ever said that you couldn't use regular ethanol in these recipes for hand sanitizer that ask for denatured ethanol. I just figure it's less toxic than the hand sanitizers you can buy over the counter, that all have ingredients that are artificial.

Methanol is the single carbon alcohol that is made from wood, and is unsafe for human consumption -- you can't drink it, and it's toxic if you do. A lot of times, methanol or isopropanol will be added to ethanol to "denature" it.

Centaurea said...

Methanol will also cause blindness through skin absorption as well as ingestion of as little as 10ml (not even all at once). Permanent blindness and brain damage. Who knows what happens if you use it chronically like in a hand sanitizer. Hardware store denatured alcohol is almost always denatured with methanol. Not a smart hand sanitizer. Real hand sanitizers on the market use SD (Specially Denatured) alcohol that is denatured with bitter or otherwise obnoxious but relatively safe substances. Only concentrations greater than 62% are effective, and more is better up to 95%.

waehner said...

I've seen denatured alcohol denatured with acetone, although this may have been phased out. Acetone is quite toxic.

Isopropyl rubbing alcohol is reasonably non toxic and cheap. But so is soap.

VicinSea said...

To: waehner

I've seen denatured alcohol denatured with acetone, although this may have been phased out. Acetone is quite toxic.

You do know that millions of people use acetone on their hands everyday, right? It's called "Fingernail Polish Remover."

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