The rideshare and delivery driver’s guide to making hand sanitizer for under $2 a bottle

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Washing your hands with soap and water is the most effective way to stop the spread of germs.

But as a rideshare and/or delivery driver, you’re on the go a lot and (obviously) aren’t always in close proximity to a sink. So when you’re out and about and not near a sink, hand sanitizers are a good alternative—as long as the formula has an alcohol content of at least 60%, according to the CDC.

Unfortunately, hand sanitizer has proved to be hard to come by, and when you can find it, it’s insanely expensive and runs out quickly.

If you find the cleaning aisles of your local stores bare of hand sanitizer, and you don’t want to shell out ridiculous amounts of cash, you can make hand sanitizer at home that meets CDC guidelines for about $2 per batch.

So in today’s blog post, we’re going to tell you exactly how you can make your own.

Specifically, we’ll be covering:

  1. Whether drivers can expect Uber, DoorDash, Instacart, and other gig-service companies to give drivers hand sanitizer;
  2. If homemade hand sanitizer is as good as the store-bought variety;
  3. What ingredients drivers need to make hand sanitizer;
  4. How to mix the ingredients to make hand sanitizer;
  5. Other ways drivers can protect themselves.

Wait—Weren’t Uber, Lyft, and other gig-service companies supposed to give drivers hand sanitizer?

Well, yes! Yes, they were! And many of them, after a lot of coaxing and begging from workers (in some cases) did indeed announce that they’d send out hand sanitizer, or make it available at their hubs … many of which are now closing for good.

However, most rideshare drivers STILL have not received their free hand sanitizer. And many of those that have received free hand sanitizer have already ran out.

Maybe the companies are having their own issues procuring this extremely popular and in-demand product, or perhaps they can’t afford to distribute it, or maybe they just (conveniently) forgot. Whatever excuse they have, they you still need it, and we want you to have it.

Is homemade hand sanitizer as good as the store-bought variety?

You may have seen warnings about making your own hand sanitizer, and most of them pertain to the errors you can make when mixing ingredients, particularly when it comes to using alcohol. 

Nothing lethal is involved; but you could wind up with cracked skin on your hands, if you use too much alcohol. And if you don’t use enough, your potion won’t work. Alcohol destroys the RNA portion of the virus, and it also kills off COVID-19 completely. So it’s important to follow our instructions to the letter. 

Another problem you could run into is getting the wrong concentration of alcohol. At the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, alcohol was another item that was disappearing from store shelves at quite a clip, and it might still be scarce in some places. 

To get the right mixture, you need isopropyl alcohol, in a concentration between 91% and 99%. 

With isopropyl alcohol, a concentration of less than 91% is not going to work for you. 

So much for the idea of making hand sanitizer out of bottom shelf vodka. 

If you use that kind of alcohol (which is usually 80 proof) and then mix it with something to offset the burning effect (like aloe), your hand sanitizer is only going to be a 40% concentration of alcohol, and it won’t be very effective.

Another important factor is the cleanliness of the container(s) you use to make your own sanitizer. You’ll want to make sure they’re sterile. You can purchase sterile containers, or use various techniques (like boiling them in water or administering ultraviolet light treatments) to make them so.

If these issues haven’t turned you against making your own (and we don’t see why they should), we’re here to offer ways for you to create a mix and do it right. 

How to make homemade hand sanitizer

Keep in mind, using too much alcohol-based sanitizer can create cracks in the skin of your hands and fingers. With COVID-19 still rampant, no one needs extra places to pick up germs of any kind. So do your best to not use too much.

When using alcohol, you’ll need to know a few things. 

  1. Alcohol is potent, and doesn’t sit well in containers made of some types of plastic. Also, it can evaporate easily and quickly. Make sure your container is not going to melt if you put alcohol in it, and ensure that it can be capped tightly.
  2. Use a funnel to pour the mixture from the bowl into the container. It sounds like we’re being fussy, but it’s really smart. You’ll thank us for that suggestion, even if you have to go to the trouble to buy a funnel.
  3. Most important, measure your ingredients, and make sure you stick to the formulas we give you.

Step #1: Gather your ingredients

Before starting, gather the following:

  • 1/2 cup 99% rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol or 190-proof grain alcohol (do not substitute other concentrations of alcohol. $.24
  • 1/4 cup pure aloe vera gel (preferably without additives) – $.50
  • 8 to 10 drops essential oil, such as lavender, clove, cinnamon, or peppermint (if you want your sanitizer to be scented) $.20
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Funnel
  • Plastic container

Step #2: Begin mixing your ingredients in a bowl

Start by stirring together your aloe vera gel, and essential oil.

When you add the oil, put in a few drops at a time, and then test for smell, continuing to add more (or not), until you’re happy with how it smells 

You can then add in your alcohol into the mixture.

Step #3: Bottle your mixture

Now, place the funnel over your bottle, pour the mixture through the funnel, and … VOILA! You’ve got hand sanitizer to go.

If you want to store some of this for later, just put it in a tightly sealed jar or a second bottle you can use later.

How else can drivers protect themselves?

Sanitizing your hands is a good start, but there’s more to think about than just that. 

If you’re going to stay healthy, you have to avoid touching your face. This can be really hard when you’re wearing a mask, but you have to try. Pretend there’s a police officer behind you, or a driving instructor, watching you like a hawk to ensure both of your hands are on the steering wheel at all times.

We can’t stress enough, do whatever it takes to stop bringing germs, including the novel coronavirus, near your eyes, nose, and mouth, via your hands. 

Also, if you touch any surface that could potentially have virus particles on it, re-sanitize your hands. You might want to also carry a small vial of  coconut oil or another moisturizer with you to counteract the drying effects of sanitizers. 

Help at the tips of your fingers

At Gridwise, we like to help drivers solve problems and make their lives easier. You’re surely going to be less frustrated if you make your own hand sanitizer than if you wait for your company to deliver. We hope our quick and easy formula will work for you.

Remember, when your area reopens and you once again start to expand your business, Gridwise is the #1 assistant for rideshare and delivery drivers. Record your earnings, track your mileage and other deductions, and get all the latest news and advice from our blog posts and podcasts. And if you haven’t downloaded the Gridwise app yet, download it now!

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