ONTARIO — Due to the emerging pandemic related to novel coronavirus COVID-19, hand sanitizer is scarce on local shelves. Unless you’re there early in the morning when items are being restocked, you might not find any by the end of the day. Some local grocery stores have been putting a limit on the numbers that can be purchased per consumer, but not all have followed suit.
The Center for Disease Control recommends the number one way to eradicate germs is to use hot soapy water, washing for 20 seconds. But when that’s not convenient, they recommend hand sanitizer, although with the following cautionary advice: “sanitizers do not eliminate all types of germs.” In addition, they may not be effective on visibly dirty or greasy hands.
Due to the short supply, some consumers have been buying lesser known brands of hand sanitizer, but the CDC cautions people to go for something with at least 60% alcohol to avoid getting sick and spreading germs.
Due to the shortage, some people have turned to making their own hand-sanitizer, which may not be strong enough.
There are several variations of homemade sanitizer recipes online, including ones which utilize 2 parts rubbing alcohol (91% or higher), and one part aloe vera; or the same equivalent with Everclear alchohol that is at least 180 proof (it is noteworthy that other drinkable alcohol is not high enough in percentage to be used).
And the local race is on: According to Jen Wichers, store manager at the Ontario Liquor Store, they had people calling and coming in on Friday, and specifically mentioning that they were buying it to make hand sanitizer. She said one man told her that he drove in from Nampa because he needed to make hand sanitizer for his office.
For those who do try to make their own, be sure to follow the CDC’s recommendations getting the recipe close to 60% alcohol. However, remember, the safest and best advice from leading agencies including the CDC is to properly wash your hands versus sanitizing.