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Does making hand sanitizer from alcohol really work?

Does making hand sanitizer with alcohol from a liquor store really work?

PHOENIX — WARNING: Do not try this at home, as the process to make homemade hand sanitizer can be dangerous. 

Hand sanitizer is getting increasingly hard to find. And if you can find it online, it can go for many times more than it's worth. 

But there's a rumor going around that you can make your own from alcohol at the liquor store. We decided to put that rumor to the test with the Filth Finder. 

According to the CDC, hand sanitizer has to be at least 60% alcohol to be effective, so regular kinds of alcohol like vodka won't work. 

Luckily, there's Everclear. 

Everclear is a grain alcohol that is some of the strongest you can get. We found Everclear at a liquor store that's 75.5% alcohol, or 151 proof.

The recipe calls for one part alcohol to two parts aloe gel from a drug store. 

We mixed it up and applied it to a tabletop that we already tested with the Filth Finder. 

Remember, the Filth Finder measure the amount of living things on a surface. 30 is dirty, 0 is perfectly disinfected. The table tested at 304, more than 10 times the limit. 

Using store-bought real hand sanitizer, we got that number down to 125. that's likely because hand sanitizer is not meant to clean surfaces and has to be a little weaker so as not to damage skin. 

But the homebrewed hand sanitizer made from Everclear dropped the table down to an 83 on the Filth Finder. 

So, technically, making hand sanitizer from grain alcohol...works.

But there are more than a few catches. 

First, you have to get the recipe just right. If you don't, it might not work. Or, the alcohol could be too strong and it could burn your skin or hurt you. 

Also, Everclear and other high-proof liquors are flammable, so if they're exposed to a flame or heat source, they could burn or potentially even explode. It's also far more expensive than real hand sanitizer. 

That's why experts say you shouldn't bother trying to make your own. 

They say just washing your hands with soap and water is cheaper, safer and ultimately more effective. 

CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.


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