Vodka Is Not a Replacement for Hand Sanitizer, CDC Says


Getty A man washes his hands at Princess Margaret Hospital in Hong Kong.

Tito’s Vodka has been taking to social media to inform people that vodka is not a suitable replacement for hand sanitizer, as per guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). With news and updates of the COVID-19 coronavirus everywhere people turn, there have also been a number of rumors and claims about prevention and precaution circulating. The vodka-as-hand-sanitizer claim is no different.

This is Tito’s Vodka’s response to one Twitter user:

It says: “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.”

The same response was tweeted to another user who was saying they would go buy vodka to use as hand sanitizer.

It seems as though this began with people suggesting mixing vodka and hand gel or aloe vera, like in this post:

Other users have joked about just taking shots of Tito’s Vodka to feel better instead of using it as a hand sanitizer:

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The CDC Has Published a Full Set of Guidelines For Prevention of the Coronavirus, Including Hand-Washing Tips

The full list of guidelines for the prevention of the coronavirus, and other respiratory viruses, is at the CDC website.

In terms of handwashing guidelines, they say to wash your hands frequently with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds. This is especially important after going to the bathroom, before eating and after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose. The recommendation then continues: “If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.” The full CDC guide on handwashing is here.

There Is Also a Lot of Misinformation About the Use of Face Masks in Protecting From the Coronavirus

Another piece of misinformation that’s circulating is that face masks will help protect people from coronavirus. The CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear face masks to protect from any respiratory illnesses, COVID-19 included. Masks are only required if recommended by healthcare professionals.

The issue with so many people buying face masks is that there is now a risk of shortage, meaning there could be a short supply for those who need them. Surgical masks don’t stop people from inhaling airborne particles, which can be enough to transmit coronavirus. These types of masks also don’t form a seal around a person’s face. The CDC only recommends those masks for people who have coronavirus and caregivers of those who are infected.

The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, tweeted that people shouldn’t be buying the N95 respirators either:

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“Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!” He said. “They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

N95 respirators are tight-fitting masks that are designed to filter out 95% of particles from the air. The full comparison between the two types of masks is explained by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

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