WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — With hand sanitizers selling out at stores across Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast, some people are creating their own to protect themselves from the spread of the coronavirus.
"Anything over 60 percent alcohol is generally good to kill the virus," said Dr. David Dodson, an infectious disease specialist in West Palm Beach.
Problem is, over-the-counter hand sanitizers and soaps are hard to come by these days.
"Unfortunately, there's actually a shortage going on where you cannot find any bacterial soap or any bacterial gels," said Linzi Martinez, a nutritional therapist and personal trainer who owns Linzi Martinez Enterprises.
Martinez said if you find store shelves empty, fear not. With a few inexpensive household items, you can make your own hand sanitizer in minutes.
"This is a wonderful alternative, it's a safe alternative, and it's effective," said Martinez.
MAKE YOUR OWN HAND SANITIZER:
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Coronavirus
It all starts with the main ingredient: ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.
"You have to find an alcohol that's over 60 percent," said Martinez. "And then you need some gel, aloe vera gel. It's really important that you find it pure. On the label it has to say just aloe vera gel. I prefer to buy organic and all-natural because we're putting it on our skin. And this thickens the formula."
Up next is Vitamin E oil.
"The Vitamin E oil is very good for moisturizing so we can avoid getting our hands cut, or our hands being too dry," said Martinez.
Martinez then likes to add five to 10 drops of essential oils: lemon, rosemary, cinnamon, eucalyptus, orange, or tea tree oil.
"These are actually anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. So we're adding additional coverage and additional protection to us," said Martinez.
- 2/3 cup ethanol or isopropyl alcohol (at least 60 percent concentration)
- 1/3 cup pure aloe vera gel
- 5-10 drops Vitamin E oil
- 5 drops of essential oil (lemon, rosemary, cinnamon, eucalyptus, orange, tea tree oil)
- Mix the alcohol and aloe vera gel together in a sterilized bowl, then add in the Vitamin E and essential oils and mix everything together.
- Pour the mixture into sterilized glass spray bottles.
"The most important thing if you have children is to label [the bottle]," said Martinez. "This has alcohol in it. It is toxic with alcohol. So you want to make sure you put a label on it."
Despite the concern over hand sanitizers running out, Dr. Dodson and Martinez agree that your best protection against coronavirus is good old fashioned handwashing.
"Really soap and water, hand washing for 20 seconds is really the best way to clean your hands," said Dr. Dodson.
"It is really, really important to wash your hands. That is your first defense," said Martinez. "You gotta wash your hands for 20 seconds."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agrees. A statement on the agency's website reads:
"Soap and water are more effective than hand sanitizers at removing certain kinds of germs... Although alcohol-based hand sanitizers can inactivate many types of microbes very effectively when used correctly, people may not use a large enough volume of the sanitizers or may wipe it off before it has dried."
The CDC said an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with between 60 to 95 percent alcohol are "more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers."
You can also follow Martinez on Instagram by clicking here.