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Making your own hand sanitizer if there is none left in the shops.... Answered

For some unknown reason around here all shops are out of hand sanitizer.

My sister needed some as three kids just make it a requirement thanks to Corona.
Had to be cheap and plentyful she said....

Methylated spirit is still freely available in bulk at the hardware store, so I grabbed some.
Had no Calcium Acetate at hand so I ordered 200g online, it E263 if I recall correctly, a food additive.
To give it a nice smell I added some natural pappermint oil to the list.

The making is dirt simple....
For every 100ml of alcohol add about 20ml of filtered water - you don't want it full strenght.
Give a few drops of your favourite scent to it.
Then slowly add some Calcium Acetate and keep stirring.
Once the mix reaches the desired consistency of a more or less runny gel you are set to go.
How easy is that for a change?

Oh, in a hurry and no Calcium Acetate available anywhere? No problem!
Use egg shells and vinegar.
About 70g in egg shells should do for a good amount of sanitizer.
Use a large (high) pot and add about 400ml of vinegar to it.
If you can get the cleaning strength then better.
Add the crushed egg shells and keep stirring.
It will foam up, so add them slowly!
You need to keep stirring as the shells tend to float up with the produced CO2.
If no shells dissolve anymore add some more vinegar.
At the end you want to have some leftover shells but no more bubbling to indicate all the acetic acid from the vinegar was used up the reaction.
Filter through a coffe filter, or several layers of it to get a clean solution.
Bring it to a boil to get rid of the water.
Once you get a paste in your pot turn the heat off and remove the stuff from your pot to air dry.
If in a hurry, then spread it out on some baking paper and place at about 120°C in your oven to fully dry.
Crush up in a bag once cool and you have the Calcium Acetate you need ;)


The forums are retiring in 2021 and are now closed for new topics and comments.

10 months ago

People wouldn't have to worry about being poisoned by hand saniizer if the government would stop making manufacturers poison the alcohol to "protect" people from drinking it. If poison needs to be added to hardware store alcohol to "protect" people by poisoning them, then why not add it to alcohol from the liquor store to poison people to "protect" them from drinking that alcohol, also? How does this make any sense? Letitia Fendley


Reply 10 months ago

Comes down to money, all alcohol brings tax, the "industrial" stuff not so much, hence made undrinkable.
Fun fact: In most countries Bitrex is used but no longer Methanol or actually poisonous things.


1 year ago

Hola otra forma de fabricar el desinfectante es con alcohol, peroxido ( agua oxigenada ) y glicerina.

La receta es :
– 250 ml de alcohol de 96º
– 90 ml de agua
– 25 ml de glicerina líquida

Lo mezclas todo y lo añades a la botellita en difusor, y ya lo puedes llevar donde quieras


Reply 1 year ago

Se podría sustituir la glicerina por jabón? (obviamente jabón que contenga glicerina)
El alcohol y el agua oxigenada son de facil acceso en cualquier farmacia o supermercado, pero la glicerina pura no tanto.

Jack A Lopez
Jack A Lopez

1 year ago

Edit: I am going to advise against using products labeled "Denatured Alcohol" as a substitute for ethanol. The reason why is I just looked at the data sheet for the can I took a picture of yesterday, the SDS for "Klean-Strip (r) brand Denatured Alcohol" reveals it contains large amounts of methanol (30% to 60% by mass), which is
much more toxic than ethanol.
I know hand sanitizer is a topical product, but still. I am not sure putting that much methanol on one's hands is safe. However, I am not going to delete this post, but rather just edit it, with this warning at the top.

This solvent, "methylated spirits" is called, "denatured alcohol,"


at hardware stores in my home country, the Former United States (FUS). For real, that is what they call it here. The words, "denatured alcohol" are printed on the can.

Also I noticed in the Wikipedia article for "Hand Sanitizer"


links to an open source recipe for hand sanitizer, published by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a PDF, and I will attach that PDF to my post.

For both Downunder35m's recipe, and the WHO's recipe, the main ingredient is ethanol,


and presumably that is the main ingredient in the "denatured alcohol" sold in hardware stores in the FUS, or "methylated spirits" sold in hardware stores in other English speaking countries.

Edit: I should include some words about SDS (safety data sheet) and MSDS (material safety data sheet) documents.


Especially after looking at the SDS for "Klean-Strip (r) brand Denatured Alcohol" reveals it contains large amounts of methanol (30% to 60% by mass), which is much more toxic than ethanol.


Is this stuff safe to use as a hand sanitizer ingredient? I don't know for sure. Certainly drinking it could be deadly, but how large of a dose can be absorbed through rubbing it on hands?

What follows is just an intro to what these data sheets are, and what to look for in these documents.

The words printed on consumer chemicals (e.g. solvents, cleaning products, adhesives, et al.) in most circumstances, do not explicity describe what chemicals are present in the mixture.

The reasons why are twofold. (1) Usually the buyer is not interested in chemical names, but rather in the function and effectiveness of the product. (2) Explicit description is tantamount to just giving away the secret recipe.

Basically the words printed on the label, especially the name of the product, are just flowery purple prose, totally disconnected from the material reality of what is actually in the bottle.

Back to the topic of finding ethanol, at the hardware store, that ?might? be safe to put on your hands...

We realize the words on the can are vague. What is "denatured alcohol" anyway? Is it really a mixture that is predominantly ethanol?

Well let us look up the safety data sheet, for this "Klean-Strip (r) brand Denatured Alcohol." In this case it was easy to find.


and here:

The section we are looking for is usually titled "composition," or "ingredients," or similar. I took a snapshot of this section, and attached it to this post. I drew a red oval around the information we're looking for.


Reply 1 year ago

I guess that's my bad then as around here they use this bitter agent to make the alcohol undrinkable, methanol isn't allowed to be in it for year.
Guess different countries mean different rules :(
I prefer gloves and hand washing anyway ;)


Reply 1 year ago

Good additional info there! The PDF of WHO has some good pointers in about safety as well. Nice find.


1 year ago

You could substitute the Meths for Vodka I guess 40% proof should do it. To be honest soap works better as it disrupts the fatty layer on the outside of the Virus. Even a soapy cloth would work. You have to wash the whole hand though, in between the fingers front and back.


1 year ago

For real, if so I am sure that will help people out especially this pandemic.