Experts say it is easy to mistake the concentration of alcohol to other substances when making homemade hand sanitiser, which could damage your skin, kidneys and liver.
D.I.Y. hand sanitiser guides are flooding the internet as retailers face coronavirus-related shortages – but should you be tempted to make your own?
Pharmacies have reported a rising demand for hand sanitiser and some consumers have turned to the internet for advice on homemade concoctions that could protect them against the corona virus, or will it. I don’t think so!
Specialists have warned that these recipes are not always easy to follow and if not done correctly could cause more harm than good. People have reported skin conditions and other health related problems from the use of homemade hand sanitisers.
Professor Dingwall said it was easy to mistake the concentration of alcohol to other substances when making hand sanitiser, which could damage the skin and pose certain health risks; as much of the alcohol is absorbed through the skin, you run the risk of condition that will ultimately effect the liver and the kidney as well – and children will become sick from overuse.
“There is also a risk you put it on and then turn on a gas stove and then your hand goes up like a Christmas pudding,” he said.
Professor Dingwall said thorough, regular hand-washing was even more effective than a lot of store-bought hand sanitiser – and that the average person should be washing their hands six-to-nine times a day.
“We need to re-enforce the message to wash hands as soon as you come into your house and have been holding hand rails on the bus, used the toilet and eaten food,” he said.
“If you’re out and about, around lots of people or touching surfaces you don’t know what may be on them, you should be washing your hands more often,” Professor Dingwall added.
Other experts around the world have similar concerns about homemade hand sanitiser, especially those coming from distillers that don’t have any back ground in the healthcare industry.
Biophysics Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Dr Karen Fleming, explained why simple hand-washing is so effective.
The “Coronavirus is an ‘enveloped’ virus, which means that it has an outer lipid membrane layer,” she stated.
“Basically, it’s surrounded by a fat layer. Washing your hands with soap and water has the ability to ‘dissolve’ this greasy fatty layer and kill the virus.”
The world health organisation guidelines show hand sanitiser can also help if it is has an accurate ratio of alcohol (above 60%) to other materials.
The EPA also show that surface sprays or hand sanitisers with more than 1% hydrogen peroxide will also eliminate germs and viruses and has continually reiterated the importance of hand-washing also.
As many people know the importance of washing your hands is paramount and using products like alcohol based hand sanitisers and hand and surface sprays (like the ones below) that contain hydrogen peroxide help to keep the germs and viruses away, keeping us safe from the nasty effects of corona or influenza type viruses.
By Clare Sibthorpe, news reporter