Step 12: Hand-Sanitizer

If you're someone who deals with germy kids all day, you know the importance of having hand sanitizer within arms reach.  Vodka is a natural enemy to bacteria, so reach for that small spray bottle and mist your hands generously.  And if the kids are really giving you a hard time, no one will notice a few spritzes down the gullet too.
No more weird mysterious chemicals, with flamboyant names, I am making my own cosmetic products for years now. !<br><br>I use vodka with ordinary kitchen herbs and/or spices added as an aftershave.<br><br>One of my most successful recipes is with a combination of parsley nutmeg cloves and lemon. I add a bit of alum to take care of little shaving cuts and just a pinch borax to prevent spoilage (both of which I purchased at a local pharmacy, and dissolved in some hot water).<br><br>I even use vodka with nettle tops (Urtica dioica), as a lotion for my scalp and hair.<br>Boil young tops (Urtica dioica), picked just before flowering (use gloves or just plastic shopping bags over the hands when picking), with a little water, then pour through a cloth, add borax (see above) and vodka to the liquid, ready.<br><br>Very refreshing!
<p>Everything is a chemicle. They are only mysterious if you don't research them.</p>
<p>Very well spoken Spokehedz!</p>
<p>besides below&hellip; smelling like an Archway Cookie must attract the fat chicks!</p>
<p>Too bad there's no such thing as cheap vodka in Canada...</p>
<p>Fortunately however cheap 99% isopropyl alcohol is readily available in Canada, I use it for all of my non-potable alcohol needs.</p>
I do as well, but as a university student, I really wish cheap alcohol was a thing in Canada. Going to the bar or partying is just too expensive overall.
<p>I just want to say that in spite of some of the comments, I thought it was an enjoyable read and I learned stuff!</p>
<p>my wife has been cleaning glass with cheap vodka for quite a while. It works great and no streaks.</p>
<p>Nice collection of ideas. I've tried some of these and wanted to offer some perspective. </p><p>Starting on a positive note, infusion are a really interesting and complex process. So much going on there. So many uses. Make your own bitters. Preserve the taste of summer with limencello. Medicine. Et cetera.</p><p>However, the dry cleaning bit is a misnomer. Vodka is half water. So it's not dry. <br> It's not really cleaning, either. However, it does inhibit growth of <br>icky stuff. Same for shoes. Speaking from experience. BTW, dry cleaning is usually not needed at all. It's not a scam, just a high-price luxury laundry service. Almost everything can be washed with water. If you read carefully, dry-cleaning establishments mostly offer non-dry-cleaning services: pressing, alterations, button repair, etc, etc. </p><p>Using alcohol as a solvent for cleaning really works, sometimes. Like all cleaning tricks, it's something to try when the usual methods fail. Nail polish also works. Canola oil comes in handy sometimes and so does oderless mineral spirits.</p><p>Some people swear by vodka in pie crust. But people will swear by anything that results in a pie that's done, whether or not it's good. Standards in baked goods are falling, people. I saw a fallen cake at a church potluck the other year and the baker wasn't even embarrassed---she didn't know it was a failure. Back on point---ethanol makes the crust sticky and harder to work with. I've made lots of crusts and the only thing that really seems to matter is thermal management. Gotta keep the butter from melting, roll it out on a cool surface, etc. Even the ratio of flour to butter isn't consistent across recipes. I'll stop now... Pie crust could be its own category of instructubles!</p><p>Using ethanol to clean wounds definitely works but it stings. Still, it's a good tip.</p><p>The problem with the ice pack is the bag. Bags leak where they bend at too sharp a radius or at the seams. There's no advantage to putting ethanol in the mix over salt or sugar. It's not a bad idea, just different. Maybe double bag it.</p><p>Usually isopropyl alcohol is used as an astringent. I don't know if the effect is different or if it is only customary. Also, there's witch hazel, which is widely available.</p><p>The idea of filtering cheap vodka is interesting and a good learning experience but filters have a cost. Gotta plug the Discovery Channel boys and their vodka show. When you include the cost of the filter, it doesn't make sense. You can also re-distill the vodka to avoid the filter but that's not for everyone.</p><p>Seems that there's only 12 ideas here. Glasses and windows are basically the same. Infusions and vanilla are the same. Cleaning clothing and the cloth lining of shoes is the same. An article about 12 things is good. Trying to inflate the number of items dilutes the awesomeness of the internet. </p><p>Sorry if this feels negative. I thought your article was pretty above average. Thanks for posting.</p>
<p>redistilling vodka for drinking, is a bad idea unless you know what you are doing. which can produce fusel oils, that results in bad headaches form the toxic butyl's and propanol's formed. resulting in heating the still, by direct flame/heat without a double boiler. so you should never, use this for drinking.</p><p>with the only other option available, being low temp vacuum distillation. but this requires, a little more sophistication using a pressure regulator to only extract the alcohol.</p>
<p>Fusels and suchlike will have been distilled out by the original manufacturer; redistilling won't 'create' these nasties (although it probably won't change the flavour much either!)</p>
<p>do you understand, how the fusel oils are made? it is, the result of heating an alcohol solution with a direct flame. most modern distilleries, use a jacketed double boiler to prevent formation of fusel oils. fusel oils are higher chain alcohols, formed by heating. </p>
<p>Basic still operation is heating slowly so even if this were so, I'm not sure it would be an issue in practice. (This is one of the places where an electric burner is actually better than gas.) Distilling under vacuum sounds like a really interesting task but it's certainly not required to get a good-quality product.</p>
<p>been having trouble posting, so have been gone for a while. but uneven heating in a vessel with high temp spots, can cause chemical reactions. so water baths, oil, or sand baths give a more uniform heat. and it, will keep the temperature even and uniform. and you, do not want to exceed 94*C.</p><p>two things that affect the boiling point of the solution, is atmospheric pressure and the percentage of solution. increase the pressure, and the vaporization increases. lower the atmospheric pressure, lowers the boiling point and increases the vaporization point between water and alcohols.</p><p>at higher alcohol concentrations, the vaporization point gets closer to 72*C. so this is closer to what you would use, for already once or twice distilled vodka or any other distilled liquor. and depending upon, the type of condenser used may effect the atmospheric pressure.</p>
<p>Oh, interesting. I've mainly read about fermentation of pectin-heavy wash resulting in foul heads. Fusil oils are always mentioned but this is the first time I've thought about where they come from. Do you think a heavy aluminium pressure cooker would spread the heat enough?</p>
<p>I simply don't know about aluminium. We use two continuous-flow stills (they used to be travelling Calvados stills that went from village to village around the Normandy region of France!) to distill many thousands of litres of cider annually and they are made of copper (someone else here has said copper is a no-no, not true). Our research still is made of stainless steel. The big stills are heated with a (huge) gas flame and probably have hotspots but they don't cause problems &ndash; the circulating liquid soon dissipates it ... did you know you can boil water over a gas flame in a paper bag and still have no problem with hot-spots? We used to do it as boy scouts in the 50s just to show it could be done!</p>
<p>Copper and aluminium are good conductors of heat, so maybe they're similar.</p>
<p>i would be hesitant to use aluminum, for anything with an OH radical. typically stainless steel, or copper, are used in large scale productions. smaller scale, i would consider either stainless steel, an alkali resistant borosilicate, or quartz glass. and do not use rubber as a seal, for any reflux, or fractional distillation towers.</p><p>and aluminum would have hot spots, where it was in contact with the heat source. and the heat spreads from the hot spots. </p><p>and remember when dealing with cheap vodka, they are bound to cut some corners. and the first distillation, from the brew is the most critical. and may include some alcohols with a lower like methanol and slightly higher boiling point butyl's and iso-butyl's. and if you know what you are doing, you can distill off the lower boiling dangerous compounds first.</p><p>generally a good distillery, will throw out the first ten percent of the draw. which contains the lower boiling point alcohols. a second distillation, about one percent or less. and cheap vodka, is usually around 35 to 40% single distillation and may include some lower and higher boiling point compounds. and if you concentrate further from there, you are going to also concentrate those.</p><p>but the requirements get easier, if you are not distilling ethanol for drinking purposes. then some of those other compounds, do not matter if it is not to be consumed. i mean why distill 40% vodka for drinking purpose, since all you are doing is adding to the initial cost? it is not cost effective, to distil consumer bought vodka for drinking purposes.</p>
<p>Not so! Fusel alcohols are formed when fermentation occurs at non-optimal temperatures or abnormally low pH; there are a number of otheror when yeast behaviour is modified by othe environmental conditions that can increase these by products (which we lose in the feints at distillation time). And before you nay-say me, I'm a part owner of a cider farm and distillery so I know whereof I speak!</p>
<p>we, are talking about cheap vodka here. are you sure, they throw away the first ten percent of the draw? which will contain, the lower boiling point alcohols like methanol. which may also contain, some of the higher boiling point alcohols.</p><p>and if you concentrate cheap vodka from there, you are going to be concentrating these undesirables also. plus using too much heat, on ethanol does not do it any good. when even the type of container, can make a difference.</p><p>in as much, as i would say. it is not cost effective, to concentrate vodka for drinking purposes. which just adds to the initial cost, of the vodka. however if it, is not to be used for consumption. then none of these, precautionary things matter.</p>
I have to challenge you on this. Distillation is neither difficult or dangerous. If you really study it, the dangers are over-blown, exaggerated, and often the result of myth and storytelling rather than facts and case reports. <br><br>BTW, legalization of hobby distillation is in the works. Contact your US Representative about H.R. 2903 and your US senator about S-1562. They're identical companion bills that make it easier to do small-time distillation legally. Here's a link for finding the politicians that represent you:<br><br> https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/<br><br>Oh, you need your full ZIP code to contact most of these politicians. Look yours up here:<br><br> https://tools.usps.com/go/ZipLookupAction!input.action<br><br>
<p>neffk, your positive comments on the article were interesting, but to me, the negative ones really amounted to your opinion and reduced the worth of your contribution. The writer doesn't say that spritzing alcohol is the same as dry cleaning, but that it can reduce odors between dry cleanings. While glasses and windows may be made of glass, many may not think of both applications unless they are mentioned separately, and the same with infusions and vanilla. Please accept my opionion, not as an affront, but just another point of view.</p>
<p>I use a soft sponge with isopropyl alcohol in freezer bags to make ice packs. I've never had a problem with leakage. Any of the cleaning hacks can be substituted with isopropyl alcohol. But spritzing your clothing or shoes with vodka makes more sense to me than using a chemical clothing refresher in between dry cleaning. And wool cannot be washed in water without a lot of shrinkage. I do remember recommendations after Ohio's Blizzard of 1978 to keep vodka on hand to put in toilet tanks and to use as windshield washer. I do make my own extracts with cheap vodka because it is so economical. And yes, your comments are very negative. </p>
<p>Wool certainly can be washed with water. I always thought there was some magic in dry cleaning but turns out, not really. Wool is fine as long as you don't do drastic temperature changes and a lot of agitation. (If you do, you get felt!) If you read the interwebs carefully, you'll see that others have found the same. Sorry, I'm just really excited about this cause I figured it out recently!</p>
<p>Since your post did not add anything but be critical it did not feel negative it WAS negative. Thanks to scoochmaroo for thinking outside of the box and giving great tips.</p>
<p>The above critique was constructive. Hence, not a negative piece. Distinction between negative criticism and constructive - one learns as one reads for (which I did on the above comments), and negative is just a venting of feelings that are a put down as a reply. </p>
<p>Wow. Small world. I was trying to make ricotta last night and stumbled on your article, sliversofttail. Anyway, criticism isn't always negative. I mean, it's probably great to never receive criticism because you're perfect. But in my experience, there's always opportunities for improvement. Also, reading all the way through someone's article and leaving a comment about the content is a compliment, even if it's not 100% thumbs-up awesome. </p>
<p>I've made my own vanilla with vodka for years. I don't even bother using another jar; I just open up the bottle, toss in the vanilla beans, close it up and let it sit. Every few days I give it a gentle mix and in about 6 weeks, voila! Awesome vanilla.<br>I leave the beans in the bottle until the vanilla's gone, then take them out and letting them dry out before popping them in a jar of sugar. Give it a mix every day or so and within a couple of weeks, you have vanilla sugar. It's great to bake with.</p>
<p>Habanero Infused Vodka:</p><p>Take a few (or more, I use about 5) habanero peppers, pull off stems, slice in half and add/stuff into a bottle of vodka (remove a few shots first to make room for peppers). Let sit a few days and then pour vodka through coffee filter to remove any bits of pepper, clean remaining peppers out of the bottle and pour vodka back in.</p><p>Using about 5 habanero peppers as I do creates very hot vodka, so hot when you take a shot you only taste the habanero and not the vodka.</p><p>Store in freezer and use for shots. Also great for a Bloody Mary!</p>
<p>Habanero Infused Vodka??? This is the best idea! I wish all drinks could be hot and spicy. Can't wait to do this for a bloody Mary! Had one huge failed attempt at trying to make a bottle of champagne spicy. Don't ask.</p><p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/member/wfidrock" rel="nofollow">wfidrock</a> and Instructables win the internet! </p>
<p>Hey LoriL10,</p><p>If you like Habanero, another (off topic) infusion I make is Habanero oil. Take you favorite cooking oil and heat it in a pan with 6 to 12 cut Habaneros. Simmer about 10 to 20 minutes (but don't burn the peppers). Cool, filter with a coffee filter (takes a while) and put back in clean bottle.</p><p>Use the Habanero oil as a starter for making Chili (frying onions, peppers, beef, etc).</p><p>Also great for old fashioned pan-popped popcorn!</p><p>TIP: If others in the household don't like very spicy food then make and use the oil on an outdoor burner (like the one on the side of a gas grill) as it gives off spicy fumes (my wife was coughing and had to leave the house the first time I made this indoors).</p>
<p>Excellent ideas! I love everything hot. I've been putting the pepper flakes in oil, heating it up, letting it sit and then using it to cook. I would put pepper flakes on chocolate if I could. One of the spice companies sells ground spicy coco powder. It's excellent in brownies.</p>
<p>With the European Union legislating against &quot;chemicals&quot; other than tap water, you have to look to other sources. &quot;Cheap&quot; vodka really isn't that cheap with roughly &pound;9.80 out of &pound;10 going to the government, but for some purposes, vodka, which is no more than watered down ethanol, is fine - I clean my glasses in it before the tomato juice goes in. For the adventurous, meths can be un-denatured (i.e. take out the napthalene, pyridine, gentian violet) with activated carbon to leave a mix of ethanol and methanol, or as suggested elsewhere, do a home brew. In my opinion, meths is a much underrated cleaning agent.</p><p>A fine malt whiskey is too pricey for stain removal and makes you smell like a member of the Royal family.</p><p>In the UK, even propanol is difficult to get and going to B&amp;Q to get some &quot;rubbing&quot; alcohol is a no-no - however, look elsewhere - windscreen additives/de-icers are usually propanol based.</p><p>Fortunately, years ago, I managed to get my hands on a 2.5-litre bottle of absolute alcohol 99.9% pure ethanol - it's the drinking equivalent of a habanero pepper, 175 degrees proof. It won't be seeing one drop of water.</p>
<p>The strongest proof you can achieves is 190, IIRC. That is 95% alcohol. That's as good as you can distill a spirit.</p>
<p>Without going into US and UK definitions of proof and ethanol content, 95% is as high as you are going to get by boiling the stuff - you can't get the last traces of water out - but 5% is nit-picking. If you want 99.9% pure, you have to use other means to get the water out, probably selective molecular sieves or production scale chromatography. As well as IMS at 90% (164 proof), I have a bottle of Absolute Alcohol from James Burroughs (Gin distillers of London) rated at 99.9% Ethanol. It tastes foul and only finds use now as a skin swab prior to glucose finger pricking</p>
<p>Running it through a carbon filter will, indeed, remove the things that are there to put us off drinking it, but it <em>won't</em> remove the methanol (what we used to call 'wood alcohol') which has the clever little party trick of turning people blind when drunk in quantity.</p><p>In the UK, 99.9% propanol (or iso-propyl alcohol) <em>is</em> easily available on eBay at about &pound;12/litre. I buy it twice a year without any difficulty.</p>
The basic premise of this article is to do with with finding uses for for a water-ethanol mix i.e. something that is a good solvent for some things at a reasonable cost. Getting stuff on eBay doesn't always mean that it is a legitimate route and I have been staggered at the sort of chemicals - concentrated nitric acid, hydrofluoric acid, no questions asked, which should not fall into the hands of the general public. Legitimate users of Propanol, MEK, Xylene, etc. can get buy them provided you can prove a a plausible end use.<br>If you want a stain remover, then &quot;mineralised&quot; meths is not a good starting point, because you remove one then add another plus the nasties - however, cleaning it up a bit gives you a good, water miscible solvent. A little bit of methanol won't make any difference - but, if your intention is to drink the stuff, that's a whole new can of worms.<br>Meths is the real rough stuff, only good for cleaning paintwork - you can get &quot;Industrial methylated spirits&quot; which only has methanol added to ethanol (I have a bottle in front of me, total aclohols 90%, 64 degrees Over-Proof), but you will pay duty up front then have to claim it back.<br>One of the main problems contributing to the clampdown on things like hydrogen peroxide and all the other things you could get down the High Street, is a small minority of the population intent on turning acetone and hydrogen peroxide into explosives.<br>If you can get IPA, then good luck, until then, cheap vodka is a good alternative.
<p>I recall B&amp;Q used to sell &quot;BioEthanol&quot; fuel for about a fiver for two litres, which was mostly ethanol plus a bitterant to make it unpalatable. Unsure if they still sell it now, but may be worth looking into. (I used to use of for PCB cleaning, being cheaper than IPA)</p>
<p>I must admit I've never seen it in B&amp;Q despite being a &quot;regular&quot; customer. What is it fuel for? Vehicle? If you lived in Brazil, you could get a tank full of ethanol. I'm quite certain that if the EU got a sniff of B&amp;Q selling something as dangerous as bioethanol, it would be off the shelves in seconds.</p><p>As an ex-chemist, I find it fascinating that without exception, all the &quot;ols&quot; are toxic apart from ethanol when used in moderation. One carbon atom either way (methanol, butanol, propanol) - instant blindness, death etc.; until you get to tetrahydrocarbinol (THC) as found in the most famous member of the hemp family (weed?). Plants only produce stuff like THC as a deterrent or an attractant - must be a lot of stoned caterpillars in Afghanistan.</p>
<p>In the US, fuel ethanol is spoiled with gasoline. Is that the case in Brazil?</p>
<p>I think you mean Tetrahydrocannabinol - there is no such substance as tetrahydrocarbinol.</p>
<p>Another cleaning tip using vodka - when you buy a new electric drip coffee maker (like a Mr. Coffee) it can be hard to get that plastic taste out of it. Running clear water or vinegar through it doesn't work. But wiping down all accessible parts (especially the plastic ones) with vodka and then rinsing it does the trick beautifully. </p>
<p>#8</p><p>after the neighborhood hooligan kids egged our windows on freezing cold winter nights</p><p>my mother used a good dash of moonshine as antifreeze in her washing water in order to wash the windows in less than 10 Degrees Celcius(14F) freezing temperatures.</p>
I've been using vodka a lot this year. I've got a beautiful bottle of vanilla extract sitting here, several jars with herbs in vodka making tinctures &amp; bases for liniments &amp; several tubes of non toxic gel hand sanitizer made with a base of vodka (which smells amazing, rather than nasty) which is very effective without destroying the skin on hands. I know several people so OCD about hand sanitizers that their fingers &amp; palms are splitting &amp; cracking, so I made a much better version.<br><br>I don't see much cheap vodka in our area, so I have little choice but to get the regular stuff. Trying to buy everclear in our area without getting *seriously* rogered is difficult. Our government 'liquor control board' mafia jacks up the prices so high on the stuff under the guise of 'taxes' - $95 for 1.14 litres they quoted me when I contacted them, thieving buggers - that they're no different than gangs holding drug monopolies in their neighbourhoods. Time to take a trip south to load up on the stuff because I'm gonna be using a lot of it over the coming year. <br>
<p>Can't believe how old this topic is,...here is one. In Canada a 1L bottle of Khalua is about $75.00. I buy a 1L bottle of cheap Vodka for $50.00 and I can make 4 1L bottles of Khalua. Here is the recipe. </p><p>Buy some instant dark roast coffee and brown sugar and have some vanilla extract. </p><p>Add three cups of water to a pot on the stove,....add 3 cups brown sugar and 5 heaping tablespoons of instant coffee. Bring to a boil and then just simmer for 3 minutes and then let cool. Get something large to mix all the ingredients in. </p><p>Put 2 cups of the vodka in a large thing which is not quite half the bottle you bought, (I use a plastic beer pitcher, pub style). Add a tablespoon of vanilla extract to it. Once the rest is cooled,...add it and it should fill 2 1L bottles. Do it again for four and you will still have enough vodka for some bloody mary's or you can spike your khalua a bit more than normal. </p>
<p>I have sleep apnea for which I use a breathing machine every night. the machine has a water tank to moisten the air along with a flex hose leading to the mask I ware at night. For me to avoid cleaning everything every night which is over kill I use a very fine mist sprayer of vodka to keep things sterilized. the tank, hose and mask have a large volume flowing thru them which even though the machine has a filter there is still bacteria, mold spore and other such goodies getting thru the system so every night just before use I spay the tank enclosure, the hose and the inside of the mask with vodka. I only spray the hose at the machine end which when the machine is turned on the vodka vapors are blown completely thru the hose. the vodka vapors dissipate in just a few seconds after the machine is turned on. Every now and then I will short fill the tank with water then top it of with a goody amount of vodka and left to sit all day. This keeps the inside of the tank very clean and free of any buildup. There is never any odor in the tank, hose and mask I do wash everything with boiling water on occasion just to be on the safe side. Just what I do, your mileage may vary. </p>
That is an excellent suggestion. As a sleep physician I see some people bring their machines into the office and they are disgusting looking. A few people with immaculate machines mentioned something about alcohol, but I never investigated further. I will now.
<p>that's so helpful as a fellow sleep apnoeic .I have been told to use dishwashing detergent but wonder about the chemicals used.....it's amazing as you on the other side of the world why I am in Tasmania ,Australia yet you can solve my problem</p>
<p>&quot;Everclear&quot; grain alcohol (95%, or 190 Proof) is much better than vodka for cleaning purposes. The same is true for Polish potato alcohol, the same stregth. For hygienic application could be diluted with water to any concentration - I prefer ~60%.</p>

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Bio: Former Living & Food editor here at Instructables, now running Sousvidely.com! Follow me @sousvidely
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