Are you worried about the new coronavirus but unable to procure hand sanitizer? You’re not alone. Hand sanitizer is in short supply at retailers around the country and on the internet, where vultures looking to prey on your fears are jacking up the price to absurd amounts. Are you invested in trying to find a substitute? We would like to spare you the risk both of spreading germs and of wasting perfectly good liquor on something dumb that will not work: do not pour vodka on your hands in the hopes that the alcohol in it will sterilize them against the coronavirus.
Who would think of such a thing, you might ask? A lot of people, apparently. Whoever runs social media for Austin-based beverage titan Tito’s Handmade Vodka has spent the past few days warning people on Twitter that, despite recipes circulating online that claim to create homemade hand sanitizer out of vodka and aloe vera, it will not actually kill the germs you’re looking to get rid of.
Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol. Tito's Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC. Please see attached for more information. pic.twitter.com/BxLUPjWFAA— TitosVodka (@TitosVodka) March 5, 2020
Why did that end up floating around the Internet? Who knows. Probably because it happens in movies like Braveheart and From Russia With Love and Death Proof. Whoever wrote those posts probably didn’t think to check the alcohol content of the booze they were suggesting against the CDC’s recommendations; they just assumed that Mel Gibson and James Bond knew what they were talking about.
Don’t trust James Bond, definitely don’t trust Mel Gibson, and don’t mix your booze and aloe vera unless you’re making a cocktail. It won’t keep you or anybody else from getting the coronavirus.
If you have to make homemade hand sanitizer, do it with rubbing alcohol or, like, some really heavy moonshine you’ve got going in the backyard (actually, don’t do this either). And join the 31 percent of men and 65 percent of women who actually wash their hands every time they use the bathroom as functioning adults. We’d say to try to touch your face less, but nobody is actually capable of that. More than anything, though, don’t dump perfectly good vodka on your hands thinking that you’re fighting disease (and if you’ve already poured your vodka into little squeeze bottles of goo, alas, you’ll have to hit up a liquor store for more—the new Tito’s retail store, which opens Saturday in downtown Austin, sells “brand wearables” but no booze). So hang on to that vodka. Lord knows you might need it for its intended purpose in times like these.