With the COVID-19 coronavirus dominating the news, sales of hand sanitizer have been booming. According to USA Today, as stores across the country have been selling out of the product, people have been forced to improvise, using an alternative many of us already have at home: vodka.
At press time, the first Google autosuggest for the term “can you use vodka” is “can you use vodka as a hand sanitizer.” (Some presumably disaster-prep minded individuals have also been searching “can you use vodka to clean wounds” and “can you use vodka as fuel.”)
The thought of using vodka as an all-purpose sanitizer may be exciting to our inner-MacGyver, but it’s unfortunately not quite that simple.
Feeling the need to jump in and set the record straight, Tito’s tweeted: “Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60 percent alcohol. Tito’s Handmade Vodka is 40 percent alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC.”
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/QNEFOXxYPQ
— TitosVodka (@TitosVodka) March 5, 2020
USA Today later updated its story to note that most vodkas are “not concentrated enough to kill viruses.”
Have Americans been getting the message? Maybe. They’re already searching Google to see if neutral grain alcohol Everclear can be used as a hand sanitizer. (Answer: Everclear’s strength ranges from 60 to 95 percent ABV, so technically, yes.)