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Hand Disinfectant Recipe

Before collecting or processing samples or beginning to handle microbiological testing media, it is important that ones hands are both clean and disinfected.

Cleaning is accomplished with soap and water, as described on the “Preparing for Lab Work” page.

Disinfecting is achieved by treating clean hands with a disinfecting solution. In fact, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “alcohol-based handrubs are the only known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands.”

While it is possible to disinfect using undiluted isopropyl alcohol, it can be very harsh on the skin, causing skin rash, ithching, dryness, cracking, redness and, with repeated exposure, poses a toxicity hazard. (NJDH)

Therefore, it is necessary to buffer the negative consequences of isopropyl alcohol by combining it with glycerol (aka glycerin) before applying to the skin. [see PURELL® Skin Nourishing Gel formula]

Alternatively, here is a list of ingredients, based on a WHO formula, required to make 1 liter of hand disinfectant. Consult their document for the full SOP

Isopropyl alcohol99+%750 ml75
Glycerol98%15 ml1.5
Distilled watersterile235 ml23.5


 More Basic Lab Topics Coming Soon…

> Filling Flasks and Tubes

> Melting Agar

> Pipetting Technique

> Pouring Plates

> Safety

> Swabbing

NOTE: Hydrogen peroxide is used in the WHO formula primarily to inactivate contaminating bacterial spores in storage containers. It is not included in the recipe above since microorganisms in their spore form are not a significant contamination risk in the craft beverage laborartory work described on this site.

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