Friday, 13 March 2020

Home Made Hand Sanitizer

Yesterday when I went to the pharmacy, Claire the pharmacist was just labelling up her new display of hand sanitizer. And it was just what I had come in to buy. I had a good sized container of hand sanitizer with a pump dispenser in the bathroom, and a mini squeezy bottle for my hand bag, but Simon had requested a small bottle of the stuff for his backpack.

Emergency hand sanitizer supplies, made in-house by the pharmacist.
Hand sanitizer made by the pharmacist in-house during the COVID19 crisis.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Commercial supplies of hand sanitizer having run out, Claire had made the product on the shelf herself, using the official World Health Organisation recipe so the labels were hand written. She reckoned the quantity she made would last a morning. She wasn't confident that she would be able to get more pharmaceutical alcohol immediately, so stocks won't last. She has also run out of little bottles, so if you need a refill, bring your own bottle.

She had spent part of yesterday participating in an hour and a half webinair led by a virologist and another senior health professional so she was keen to pass on her top tips. My friend Michel arrived at that point so we had a discussion about all the things we needed to wipe with disinfectant around the house, as well as all the handwashing required. Claire advised bleach for wiping door handles, car steering wheels and stair rails. 

Hand sanitizer made by the pharmacist in-house during the COVID19 crisis.  Indre et Loire, France. Photographed by Susan Walter. Tour the Loire Valley with a classic car and a private guide.

Despite being in the least affected 'county' (département) in the country, with only five cases so far, most people are taking the COVID19 outbreak seriously. Kissing and handshaking on meeting has more or less stopped and people are joking about doing elbow or ankle bumps. You still can't get away with just generally waving at a group and saying 'bonjour!' You need to wave at each individual and greet them individually.

If you want to make your own hand sanitizer, I suggest two parts 70% alcohol, one part aloe vera gel or glycerin. Should you need to know, hand sanitizer is 'gel hydro-alcoolique' in French.

Once all this is over and you still have litres of hand sanitizer, this link gives you a way of using it up that is much more fun.

Also yesterday we had our first unequivocally COVID19 related cancellation -- an American couple due to tour with us for three days from 24 March. Whilst we regret the loss of income, we are more sanguine about not meeting people who've spent time in airports and on public transport recently. Simon is in the 'at risk' group and we need to be careful.

Update: Simon says to tell you not to spill this hand sanitizer on anything that has been dyed. We now have a ring mark on one of our leather armchairs.


For details of our private guided tours of chateaux, gardens, wineries, markets and more please visit the Loire Valley Time Travel website. We would be delighted to design a tour for you.

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Carolyn said...

We're glad your area has been spared so far. Same here, though without any testing being done, who can tell? We've been practicing safe procedures on our days out and we found out that we're inept. I keep touching my face and forgetting to use the sanitizer when we get back in the car. I set my handbag down any old place. We tried the supermarket self-checkout thinking it would limit handling of our groceries but that didn't work well. It's such a relief to come home and wash our hands with soap and water. Guess I'd better wash my handbag too. I hope you stay well.

Susan said...

I know -- it really makes you aware of how rubbish you are at this sort of supposedly routine hygiene. I come back into the house, touch about 50 things then remember I should wash my hands.

Katie Zeller said...

I've never used hand sanitizers - although I now have a small one in my bag that was a gift which I've been using when I'm out.
I've always been a soap & water person... which, according to something I just saw, is more effective than a sanitizer, assuming you have access to it.

Susan said...

We've never used hand sanitizers either. The reason I have a supply of it is for something completely unconnnected with hands or sanitization. It makes a great medium for displaying insects in glass tubes. Soap is much more effective against viruses because it sort of dissolves them, breaks them up, as well as aiding the water to rinse them away. Hand sanitizers are a bit hit and miss and need to be equally thoroughly applied, then allowed to dry. Sanitized towellettes I would take to be a complete waste of time. Chlorine/bleach works well, so that's great for hard surfaces, plus I think I'll just move to the swimming pool for the duration :-)

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