How do you make a hydroalcoholic solution?
Text updated on 2020-05-03
Recipe to be used only if you can't find the ingredients.
Washing hands with soap and water is the preferred option to avoid transmission of the coronavirus. If soap and water are not (or will not be) available, you can use a hydro-alcoholic solution to decontaminate your hands. If there is a shortage of hydro-alcoholic gels in supermarkets and pharmacies, here are some tips on how to make a hydro-alcoholic solution (liquid, not gel) at home.
Warning, the above instructions are normally intended for professionals (industry, pharmacist...) and not for artisanal production. As it is difficult to control the origin of the basic products and the accuracy of the measurement with household appliances, as well as to check the efficiency and non-toxicity of the final product at home, the production of artisanal hydroalcoholic solutions is strongly discouraged.
Moreover, perfumes, gelling agents or additives can react with the other ingredients in unexpected ways and make the final solution less effective or even toxic to the skin. In France, as it is not possible to obtain 96% or 70% alcohol without additives, it is therefore strongly advised to buy hydroalcoholic gel in pharmacies.
Ingredients (all normally available in pharmacies, 96% ethanol can also be found in supermarkets):
- Alcohol: 833 ml of 96% ethanol or 752 ml of 99.8% isopropanol. Alcohol is a flammable product: be careful!
- 42 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 15 ml glycerol 98%.
- 110 mL of water if using ethanol or 191 mL if using isopropanol (final volume should be 1000 mL, i.e., 1 liter). The water should be distilled or boiled and then cooled to minimize contamination.
- Pour first the alcohol into a container, followed by hydrogen peroxide and then glycerol. When handling glycerol, use a measuring spoon with a large opening due to the high viscosity of glycerol.
- Add distilled water up to 1 L.
- Mix strongly by stirring or with a spatula.
- Wait 72 hours before using the hydro-alcoholic solution (so that it is itself decontaminated).
World Health Organization Protocol.WHO-recommended handrub formulations.
Formulations of hydroalcoholic products recommended by the WHO.
U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesFood and Drug Administration Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER), Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products During the Public Health Emergency (COVID-19) Guidance for Industry March 2020 Updated April 15, 2020.