Hand Sanitizer - alternatives to aloe vera gel and glycerin

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Astro

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I am wanting to make a hand sanitizer for home and family but have a couple of issues with most of the recipes available.
t seems the main ingredients of all I have seen are alcohol (70%+) - either Isopropyl alcohol or ethanol - for the sanitizer part and aloe vera gel or glycerin for the conditioning/moisturising to counter the dryness of the alcohol effects.
I don't have a problem with the alcohol - I have isopropyl alcohol (85%). It is the moisturizers that are my problem. My sister in law is violently allergic to aloe vera and I totally cringe if someone puts a glycerin based sanitizer on me - yuk - just yuk.
I was wondering if I made an emulsion of Olive oil and water with a dash of borax (maybe including shea/cocoa/grapeseed oils etc) and then thinning with the alcohol to be over 70% - would that work and be sprayable?
Any comments or criticisms would be appreciated
 

atiz

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I would probably avoid putting too much oil in a sanitizer. I think @DeeAnna mentioned earlier citing some sources that oil can envelope the germs and counteract the sanitizing.
It may not be a very common ingredient, but I used some hyarulonic acid solution (1% solution per weight) and it is quite lovely -- it's not tacky at all like glycerin but leaves the skin very soft. If you happen to have it, it's worth a try.
 

DeeAnna

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I am very leery about the idea of adding fats and emulsifiers to hand sanitizer. Alcohol based sanitizer is only effective on CLEAN hands, meaning no dirt, no grease. If you add fats to the sanitizer, I greatly suspect (but do not know) the fats will reduce the effectiveness of the product.

Whether you agree with me or not, what is definitely known and proven is an alcohol-aloe-glycerin-water blend does work as hand sanitizer as long as the alcohol content is high enough. We everyday people do not have the resources (nor the time) to figure out whether adding fats to this mixture will maintain the sanitizer's efficacy or will reduce it.

At this point in the game, it would be wise to stick with what is proven to work rather than try to "improve" a product and find out (too late) that the product doesn't work as well as it should. Dry hands is a far smaller problem than high-risk illness.

If aloe and glycerin aren't acceptable, then use plain water in the sanitizer mixture. And after sanitizing, use lotion. That's a protocol we know will work.
 

dndlyon

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@DeeAnna is correct - fats will reduce the "antimicrobial" ability of the sanitizer. An alcohol molecule has a water loving end and a water hating end. This is, in part, what makes them "antimicrobial". You want the water hating end to bond with the microbe's cell wall, and this is why we don't want to add additional oils to a sanitizer. If the water hating end is bound to an oil, it won't bind to the microbe, and the microbe won't even notice you are trying to kill it. It gets a bit more complicated with viruses (because viruses are protein, not cells), but the same holds true - alcohol in the presence of fat molecules is a much less effective sanitizer.

As a microbiologist, I almost never use hand sanitizer (even with the current public health concern). Soap and water is just so much better. I get having it around when you can't get to soap and water, but as DeeAnna stated, it's not effective if your hands aren't clean in the first place. Like cloth masks, it is a stop-gap to be used when the best protections aren't available to you.

On a bit of a side note, hand santizer efficacy is a tricky thing. Most people don't put enough on their hands, don't rub it around for long enough, and often wipe it off (adding germs to their skin). Here's a bit more info.
 
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