Recipe to refill alcohol mister?
September 27, 2019 9:31 AM   Subscribe

I got a slim pump-mister for dispensing hand sanitizer (mostly alcohol?) at an event, and loved it. What can I refill it with, and in what proportions? Is it just rubbing alcohol and water, mixed at 3:1 or something?

The misters are about the same size & shape as a fat pen -- exactly the same as this product:

I see a bunch of recipes online using essential oil and/or aloe, but I don't care about that: I really just want to kill all germs with a couple of sprays. (I have pure shea butter around to pamper myself afterwards.)

It is ethyl alcohol or some other stuff?
posted by wenestvedt to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Isopropyl, aka rubbing alcohol, is a standard element of liquid hand sanitizers, typically at a 70% dilution in water. Ethyl alcohol works about as well at similar concentrations. Isopropyl's significantly more toxic to humans, although at the quantities you'll be spraying out, neither of them should present serious toxicity risk. The main advantage of isopropyl is that it's considerably easier to find in high concentrations (ethyl in the 40-55% range, of course, can be gotten at your friendly neighborhood liquor store, but 95% isopropyl is at any pharmacy) and cheaper.
posted by jackbishop at 9:46 AM on September 27, 2019 [3 favorites]

as jackbishop stated just use drugstore isopropyl alcohol. concentrations between 60 and 90 percent are the most effective disinfectant concentrations, because the water acts as a catalyst in the process, so you can use them straight out of the bottle. Interestingly according to the linked article isopropyl and ethyl alcohols have different virucidal activities depending on the type of virus.
posted by Dr. Twist at 10:10 AM on September 27, 2019 [2 favorites]

...isopropyl and ethyl alcohols have different virucidal activities...

Could I mix them, do you think?

(Dang, I like the word "virucidal"!)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:21 AM on September 27, 2019

Just replace with 70% undiluted isopropyl alcohol.
posted by quince at 2:10 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

If your state allows it, you can find like 95% ethyl alcohol (Everclear (alcohol)). I don't think there would be any problem mixing them. But agree that high percentage isopropyl is easy to find. You really can't get much higher than 91% because it absorbs moisture out of the air. It will dry your skin as well. This is why the commercial products have some moisturizing agents added. I'd add a bit of something to counteract that, maybe some glycerine or vegetable oil. Read the ingredients of a bottle of hand sanitizer. But yeah, high percentage isopropyl.
posted by zengargoyle at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

In terms of killing all the germs: stomach bugs are not touched by (most?*) alcohol-based hand sanitizers. So if you’re working to avoid a gastrointestinal illness, there is no substitute for water and soap (or bleach, but that’s not great on hands).

*But these three formulas (1, 2, 3) claim to include norovirus in the germs they kill, so maybe those ingredients will be useful.
posted by witchen at 12:29 AM on September 28, 2019 [1 favorite]

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