Fear of the coronavirus has led people to stock up on hand sanitizer, leaving store shelves empty and online retailers with sky-high prices set by those trying to profit on the rush.
Public health experts advise that cleaning your hands with either soap and water, or an alcohol-based solution, is one of the best ways to avoid infection.
CBS News says that consumer demand for hand sanitizers has soared 1,400% in recent weeks, according to retail industry data. Some sellers are limiting the number of containers customers can buy per visit, while others are jacking up their prices in stores and online.
Experts have a solution for consumers who can't find the personal disinfectant in stores: Make your own. "Homemade hand sanitizers are just as effective as what you buy as long as you used the right percentage of alcohol," CBS News contributor Dr. David Agus told CBS MoneyWatch. "This is a good way to get around people price-gouging for Purell."
CBS News says that do-it-yourself sanitizers must contain at least 60% alcohol, by volume, to work, Dr. Agus said.
Here's a list of required ingredients to make your own hand sanitizer:
- 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol
- 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
- 5-10 drops of essential oil (optional)
- Mixing bowl
- Two-ounce spray bottle or liquid soap container
- Masking tape and pen or marker for labeling the container (or adhesive labels)
- Pour the alcohol and aloe vera in a bowl and stir until blended.
- Add several drops of essential oil and stir to help mask the smell of alcohol.
- Use the funnel to pour the eight ounce mixture into containers, then affix the strips of marked masking tape (or adhesive labels) to identify the bottles' contents.
Hand sanitizer doesn't kill all viruses, but it is effective against the coronavirus, Dr. Agus explained.
Eventually, CBS News says the necessary ingredients to make hand sanitizer could end up in short supply. Until then, "Quick-fix sanitizers do work," according to Dr. Agus.
Dr. Sanjay Maggirwar, professor of microbiology at George Washington University, said homemade sanitizers can last weeks if they are properly stored in closed bottles.