Ever since the world got thrown off into the doldrums of corona virus pandemic, there have been widespread speculations about the possible (home) remedies to fight it. The fact that we are still to find the cure or vaccine to COVID19 leaves a vacuum in the market for its possible alternatives.
As per World Health Organization (WHO), washing your hands with water for 20 seconds using a hand wash/ sanitizer is good enough to keep your hands clean and break the cycle of further infections. While many scientists and health experts maintain that as long as you are using some soap and regularly washing your hands, it should suffice as a precautionary measure. Thus, sanitizers, hand washes and your humble soap are your best bet to quip yourself against this infection.
Science behind Sanitizers, Hand-washes & Soaps and how they help
Without going much into details, a simplistic understanding of this novel virus is that the fat and oils present in a regular soap disrupt the molecular structure or protein membrane of the virus, thus rendering it useless or destroyed in most cases. Experts believe a little rigorous cleaning of hands well over 20 seconds gets the work done. Now that we got the soaps covered, let’s move on to sanitizers. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) are said to be effective in killing the novel coronavirus. If soap and water are not readily available, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends consumers use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol (also referred to as ethanol or ethyl alcohol) to do the needful.
The market for Hand-Sanitizers
- It won’t be wrong to say that hand sanitizers are a front line of defense against any infection and more so in the case of COVID19, especially for medical front liners, health care facilities and domestic consumption. Vendors have naturally seen a significant increase in demand in these specific markets during the pandemic. Thus, a continuous supply cycle needs to be in place for meeting such strategic needs.
- Even though there are some major key players of hand-sanitizers in the market with a greater brand recall and a larger market share, there is a large network of independent wholesale suppliers and retailers for hand sanitizers, hand washes and soaps readily available to meet global demands.
- The surge in demand has also prompted some third-party sellers to inflate their prices on platforms like Amazon and eBay. Demand for hand sanitizers in the U.S. alone spiked by 1,400% between December ’19 and January ’20. While in Italy, hand sanitizer sales soared by 1,807% in the month of Feb. Malaysia reportedly hit 1 million in sales of hand sanitizers in January which was 800% more than usual. Thus, in order to deter consumers from stockpiling, many stores began to ration the number of units sold to customers limiting it to 2 or 4 per person
- Panic buying and uneven global demand and supply chains for hand-sanitizers have even forced governments to open up on DIY methods to make their own alternatives. For instance, in US, to help increase the availability of hand sanitizers, FDA issued guidelines for the temporary preparation of alcohol-based hand sanitizers by some companies and pharmacies. Similarly, in India, owing to the shortage of hand sanitizers in the market had led many state governments to issue licenses to native manufacturers, thereby taking care of the domestic demand.
- Given the hullabaloo, about Hand Sanitizers – this Industry as per studies is pegged to grow from $2.7 Billion in 2019 to $36.6 Billion by 2026 – hinting at a sustainable market growth over the course of next 5 years post the COVID-19 pandemic era.
How are hand sanitizers made?
Reading about the sustainable growth pattern as well readily issued Govt. licenses to make more hand-sanitizers, it wouldn’t be wrong if you as an MSME (Micro, small & medium scale enterprises) want to get into the hand sanitizer business? Here’s how you can prepare your own batch.
- 99.8% isopropyl alcohol or 96%ethanol
- 2% hydrogen peroxide,
- Sterile distilled or boiled cold water
- Disposable plastic bottles.
For Industrial preparation you can use a steel bucket with a capacity of 80-100 litres and fill it with sterile distilled or boiled water. Regular water boiled and cooled down to room temperature gives you distilled water.
To the bucket add 7515 ml of 99% isopropyl alcohol aka rubbing alcohol. This contains the highest concentration of alcohol with no water. In case you do not have that then you can also make do with 96% ethanol and add 8,333 ml of concentration into the mix.
Add 417 ml of 2% hydrogen peroxide easily available at your local chemist
Add 145ml of 98% glycerine to the solution. Note: As glycerol is very viscous and sticks to the wall of the measuring cylinder, it should be rinsed with some sterile distilled or cold boiled water and then emptied into the steel bucket.
Package the mixed solution now into plastic bottles, and place the bottles in quarantine for 72 hours before use. This allows time for any spores present in the alcohol or the new/re-used bottles to be destroyed. You can take 100 plastic bottles of 100ml each for the same purpose. And there you have your very own batch ready to sell in the market.
There have now been more than 4 million documented cases of COVID-19 across the world. So far, many international health organizations have explicitly asked to practice social distancing and self-quarantining to self-contain the virus and mitigate any possible outbreak/s. However, recognizing the serious socio-economic impact of the lockdowns, that have also had a detrimental effect on people’s lives, many countries are in the wake of lifting lockdowns. It thus becomes even more imperative now than ever to practice hand hygiene when people are back in the public domain. Thus, hand –hygiene or hand sanitation as you may call it has definitely become the new normal-a lifestyle change that people have already very well adapted to and hopefully will continue to in the future.