Are Hand Sanitizers Safe & Effective?

Are Hand Sanitizers Safe & Effective?

The most asked question these days

“Are hand sanitizers effective?”

Hand Sanitizer - Tei Spa Beauty

The simple answer is, soap and water are still more effective at removing certain kinds of germs from your hands. For various reasons, you might not have access to soap and water and it is in those circumstances, hand sanitizer is incredibly useful for helping to disinfect and prevent illness.

Hand sanitizer is recommended by the CDC and WHO as the next best thing if you are unable to wash your hands with soap and water. In the event of a shortage, it is good practice to know how to make your own sanitizer using safe household ingredients.

For more information from the CDC.

We have heard that alcohol is a skin care ingredient to avoid. But often it comes to fighting bacteria and germs, alcohol based had sanitizer are a lot more effective than ones that use essential oils or witch hazel as their sanitizing ingredient. We do have to take into consideration not all hand sanitizers are equal. Homemade and named brands use different ingredients and measurements for their formulation.

Hand Sanitizer - Tei Spa Beauty

Alcohol comes in different varieties. Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol or isopropanol. It is a cheap ingredient and readily available. We have all heard of Ethanol or ethyl alcohol. Another option is high proof grain alcohol such as Everclear.

If you prefer to avoid rubbing alcohol another option is high proof vodka or hydrogen peroxide. If using hydrogen peroxide, it needs to be stored in an opaque bottle to protect it from light. You also have the option of adding essential oils to your recipe. The alcohol or hydrogen peroxide are already effective sanitizers on their own so the essential oils are not actually required for disinfecting. However, they do have antibacterial properties and will leave behind a fresh scent.



  • Vinegar is often a common ingredient in homemade cleaning sprays. However, vinegar is not an effective broad spectrum disinfectant, so it should not be used in place of powerful disinfectants such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or bleach.
  • Witch hazel is not a substitute for alcohol. The strongest extract is only 14% alcohol.


Here are some things to consider when choosing the type of alcohol you use for your hand sanitizer.

Prolonged exposure to rubbing alcohol can cause headaches, vomiting, nausea and migraines for some people. If a loved ones has these symptoms, it is best to avoid rubbing alcohol. It may also cause redness, rashes and/or extreme dryness and cracking of the skin. Just to clarify, small amounts are generally fine for most people, however during these unprecedented times we find ourselves reaching for the hand sanitizers quit often.

Some say we can’t use vodka to make homemade hand sanitizer, however if you find high proof vodka with at least 60% alcohol, it is safe to use. Vodka contains pure ethyl alcohol or ethanol rather than isopropyl alcohol. Pure ethanol is not toxic to skin and doesn’t have to be used in a well-ventilated area.


Below are some brands of high proof vodka:

  • Spirytus Rektyfikowany (192 Proof)

         Vodka: 96% Alcohol By Volume (strongest bottle of liquor sold in the world)

  • Everclear (190 Proof)

         Liquor: 95% ABV liquor (made in the United States) 

  • Pincer Vodka

         Vodka: 88.8% ABV

  • Balkan Vodka (176 Proof)

         Vodka: 88% ABV

  • Good ol’Sailor Vodka (170 Proof)

         Vodka: 85% ABV

  • Devil Springs Vodka (160 Proof)

         Vodka: 80% ABV

  • Bacardi 151 (151 Proof)

         Rum: 75.5% ABV

Please note, you have other options available to you depending on where you live. But kind in mind, most vodkas are typically only 40% alcohol and will not be effective for disinfecting.

You can add a few drops of an antibacterial essential oils for frangrance, such as eucalyptus, tea tree or cinnamon, make it a fresher scent. Yu may also want to add a humectant to moisturize your skin and keep your hands from drying. A good example would be vegetable glycerin which you can use to make a spray hand sanitizer or aloe vera for a gel form.


Our end thoughts, there are tons of DIY Homemade Hand Sanitizer recipes out there. We are giving you tips on how to make sure you are choosing the best, safest and effective hand sanitizer you can.

We hope this information was helpful and gives you a better understanding of choosing the best ingredients for your DIY Hand Sanitizer or even what to look for when purchasing a brand name.

Until next time keep safe and stay healthy

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