By PAOLA NAVARETTE
Alarm over the novel coronavirus disease has caused a run on hand sanitizers. With the shelves empty and online supermarkets out of stock, people have resorted to making their own. Recipes for DIY hand sanitizer are popping all over the internet. A quick search reveals news articles, YouTube how-to’s, and step-by-step visual guides. The World Health Organization even has an official guide to making hand sanitizer. If made correctly, DIY solutions could be helpful and even effective.
But think twice about making your own rubbing alcohol—experts are wary and even caution against the idea. Early this week, a social media post of a man mixing Tanduay Rhum liquor, Zonrox bleach, and a small amount of hand sanitizer to make his own rubbing alcohol went viral.
As a response, Tanduay Distillers, Inc. issued a statement, urging people not to use its product in DIY sanitizer solutions.“We implore the public, with regard to content distributed online, to exercise better judgement for everyone’s safety,” it said.
Anthony Val Gary Gotanco, a chemical engineer and the chief executive officer of manufacturing company Laquigo Eco Kemviro, said liquor is not a good substitute for—or ingredient in—hand sanitizer.
“I do not recommend people to mix alcohol and bleach because the resulting solution has toxic products such as chloroacetone, hydrochloric acid, and chloroform, among others,” he said. “Besides it does not produce alcohol as claimed. Usually, the proof is double the percentage of alcohol in a spirit. Rhum is only 80 proof, only 40 percent alcohol—you need at least 70 percent to effectively kill viruses and bacteria.”
Gotanco said acute inhalation of chloroform can cause nausea, vomiting, convulsions, and even death.
“It’s still the best to buy alcohol from reputable manufacturers and dealers duly approved by the FDA. Quality and efficacy are assured,” he added.
Just wash your hands
Keep in mind that the best way to prevent the spread of viruses is still with good old water and soap. (Here’s a fun list of choruses that work if you’re tired of singing the “Happy Birthday” song). Do wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds, cover your mouth when sneezing or coughing, and avoid touching your face.