Your Money: Hand sanitizer

October 1, 2009 7:08:24 AM PDT
With the swine flu and seasonal flu, hand sanitizer is a $112 million a year industry. However, some people make their own hand sanitizer. But is it safe and cost effective?A search on the internet shows how to make hand sanitizer with all kinds of ingredients, including all kinds of alcohol, cinnamon oil and tea tree oil.

Consistent in almost every recipe, however, is isopropyl alcohol and gel.

Three of the most basic homemade recipes online use isopropyl alcohol, which anyone can buy at any drug or discount store very inexpensively.

The recipes used alcohol and hair gel, alcohol and aloe vera gel and alcohol and a squirt of liquid soap. All of the recipes would be much cheaper to make than their store bought counterparts.

But Dr. Susan Fisher, an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Sciences at Meredith College in Raleigh, says the problem is the alcohol. It needs to be denatured alcohol to keep you safe.

Denatured alcohol is the same as grain alcohol. So a homemade recipe calling for grain alcohol would work, it just wouldn't save you money.

The best bet Dr. Fisher says is to stay with the tried and true store bought hand sanitizer.

It has the right kind of alcohol and a 16 ounce or larger container should last all flu season.

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