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Homemade hand sanitizer? Don’t do it, experts say

While store-bought hand sanitizers are flying off shelves due to COVID-19, experts are saying DIY sanitizers can be dangerous

While hand sanitizer can be helpful, the CDC says the best way to slow the spread of coronavirus is by washing your hands with soap and water.
While hand sanitizer can be helpful, the CDC says the best way to slow the spread of coronavirus is by washing your hands with soap and water.
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Hand sanitizer is hard to come by these days.

As fears surrounding COVID-19 increase, people are buying hand sanitizer in massive quantities, increasing sales by more than 70% compared to last year, the Associated Press reports.

In light of the shortage, many outlets are coming out with recipes for homemade hand sanitizers, with rubbing alcohol, essential oils or even vodka. The World Health Organization even has an incredibly detailed sanitizer recipe on their website, and while theirs is likely the safest and most effective recipe, it is primarily meant for those without access to store-bought products or even clean water, KHQ reports.

But experts are now warning against the DIY practice, saying that homemade recipes can be overly complicated to make, as they require at least a 60% alcohol content to work, and can be ineffective or even harmful if done wrong, CNN reports.

“It’s very unwise, dangerous even,” said Sally Bloomfield, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine, in an interview with The Guardian.

Bloomfield’s biggest concern is that while most store products have ingredients called emollients that make the alcohol softer on the skin, DIY products may not, and could hurt your hands.

So what is the fix to the hand sanitizer shortage? Hand washing, which according to the New York Post is actually more effective against COVID-19 than hand sanitizer anyway.