Yes, your mom used to clean your scrapes with alcohol. She wasn't, however, using vodka to do it. Alas, what might be your preferred choice of drink on Saturday night cannot also be your hand sanitizer to protect against coronavirus. The Dallas Morning News reports that Tito's Handmade Vodka has issued a statement warning consumers that vodka won't work as a homemade hand sanitizer.
"While it would be good for business for our fans to use massive quantities of Tito’s for hand sanitizer, it would be a shame to waste the good stuff, especially if it doesn’t sanitize (which it doesn’t, per the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention])," a Tito's spokesperson told The Dallas Morning News. According to the the CDC, alcohol-based hand sanitizers need to contain at least 60% alcohol in order to effectively sanitize anything.
Though vodka might be strong enough to enliven your annual office holiday party, it only contains 40% alcohol and just can't hack it as a hand sanitizer. Tito's tweeted as much when consumers started posting about how they were using the product to supposedly ward off germs by fashioning their own hand sanitizers. With coronavirus spreading globally, there's been a shortage of non-DIY hand sanitizers, leading people to try to make their own at home. (Experts advise against this.)
But there's just no better way to have good coronavirus hygiene than just washing your hands with soap and water. The CDC only recommends using hand sanitizer when soap and water aren't available. According to the CDC's website, "handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands," whereas alcohol-based sanitizers "probably cannot remove or inactivate many types of harmful chemicals."
Tito's Handmade Vodka is based in Texas, where five cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed since March 4. Several Tweets from consumers about their experiments with a vodka-infused hand sanitizer featured hashtags like #Coronavirustexas and #Godblesstexas. Tito's seems to have made an effort to respond individually to each person posting with hashtags like this and tagging Tito's with homemade recipes, The Dallas Morning News reports.
If you've been looking forward to being able to sanitize your hands with a bottle of your favorite stuff, you might want to resist the temptation. Protect yourself from the coronavirus by washing your hands with soap and water, and save the vodka for its intended purposes.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all Bustle’s coverage of coronavirus here.