You may have seen online discussions and suggestions on how to make your own hand sanitiser as a way of helping reduce the spread of Coronavirus. The idea of people making their own hand gels is of great concern to us at CTPA and to experts in hygiene. It is extremely important not to make such products at home.
Confidence in products on the shelf
There are no short-cuts to making antimicrobial hand washes that are designed to support hand hygiene. Where such products are classed as cosmetic products, they come under the strict safety laws that not only ensure they are safe to use but that they do what they say they do. Antimicrobial hand washes and gels will have been tested against international standardised methods and procedures to ensure they are effective against microorganisms and to prove they can deliver what they promise.
Some hand wash or hand cleansing products making claims to kill named bacteria or viruses, and those intended to be used for disinfecting the hands and skin, are not cosmetic products but are classed as medicines or biocides. These products must also comply with the relevant strict medicinal or biocidal legislation and strictly enforced by the regulatory authorities.
Alcohol, that you would normally drink, cannot be guaranteed to reduce or kill germs if used in a home-made handwash.
Public Health England (PHE) advice
PHE advises that:
“The best way to protect yourself from infections like coronavirus is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water. If soap or water aren’t available and your hands are visibly clean then sanitiser gel can be used. But proper hand washing is the most effective method and this should be your first choice.”
Therefore if you are unable to obtain alcoholic hand gels and sanitisers, please take PHE advice rather than try and make your own:
“Our message is clear, simple handwashing with soap for 20 seconds is key to good hygiene and this will make a real difference in stopping this virus spread.”