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Coronavirus: Don't use vodka to sanitise hands

A couple prepares for air travel with masks, hand sanitiser and wipes Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption A couple prepare for a flight by buying masks, hand sanitiser and wipes.

A rush on hand sanitiser to protect against the coronavirus has seen homemade versions spring up, including one based on a handmade vodka.

But vodka maker Tito's quickly shot down a tweet suggesting the use of its spirits is strong enough for that purpose.

Some people are combining rubbing alcohol and aloe for a sanitiser.

That can work as long as the version is at least 60% alcohol.

But posts on social media that suggested Texas-based Tito's Handmade Vodka could be used instead saw the company cite the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to quickly refute the idea.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption A tweet from Tito's Handmade Vodka in response to a customer who suggested using vodka as hand sanitiser

"Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol," Tito's tweeted in reply on Thursday. "Tito's Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC."

The company did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.

As the coronavirus spreads globally, demand for face masks and sanitiser products has soared. There are no official figures available for global sales since the infection rate soared in February.

But offices, schools and crowded public spaces such as airports routinely screen passengers for high temperatures and often provide hand sanitiser at entry points.

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Sales of hand sanitiser saw a year-on-year increase of 255% in February, according to UK research firm Kantar.

Interest in homemade sanitiser products has become a hot topic on social media with store supplies running low in some countries.

Guidance from health and medical authorities such as the CDC have suggested scrubbing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

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