Can You Use Vodka As A Hand Sanitizer?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for hand sanitizer has spiked considerably, per Financial Express. This spike was accompanied by an increase in the price of hand sanitizers and even a shortage, this led to the rise of a trend — DIY hand sanitizers, per The Spruce.

Several recipes for DIY hand sanitizers flooded the internet, as people rushed to the possibility of getting hand sanitizer in the midst of a shortage. However, the DIY hand sanitizer trend wasn't without its flaws, as a batch of incorrectly made hand sanitizer could prove to be not just ineffective, but it might also be harmful, per CNN.

Vodka is a surprisingly versatile drink, it can be used for house cleaning, it can also be used to get rid of mildew and weeds, and that hasn't even covered half of it, per This Old House. When people started looking for recipes for DIY alcohol-based hand sanitizer, they soon turned to spirits like vodka as an alternative to rubbing alcohol, per A Life Adjacent.

What's the truth about vodka as hand sanitizer?

Although vodka is a strong spirit, it typically cannot be used as hand sanitizer. The CDC's guidelines for hand sanitizer specify that the best kind of hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol in it, anything less would be ineffective.

The CDC adds that hand sanitizer isn't completely effective against all germs, so sanitizing your hands with vodka, which has only 40% alcohol, would merely be a waste of good vodka. It would actually be close to impossible to find a bottle of vodka suitable for that purpose, per Taste because most brands sell vodka with an alcohol content of 20-30%. That would be suitable for human consumption but unsuitable for disinfection, per Cleveland Clinic.

Vodka with 70% alcohol in it would be suitable for sanitizing your hands if it can be found. If not, it would be wiser to stick to hand sanitizer and hand washing, per Good Housekeeping.

If you find a high-proof vodka with an alcohol content of over 70%, simply pouring alcohol on your hands isn't advisable. Even the recipes for hand sanitizers usually have aloe vera or something else to dilute the harsh drying effects of the alcohol, per Aloe Labs.

In place of vodka, there are other products you can use. However, washing your hands with soap and water will always be the best option, per NBC News.