Fact Check

Can a Homemade Tito's Vodka Hand Sanitizer Help Stem Coronavirus?

As the coronavirus spread in 2020, a fierce outbreak of bad advice took hold online.

Published March 5, 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 12: A view of Tito's Vodka on display as Titans of BBQ presented by National Beef and Pat LaFrieda Meats hosted by Dario Cecchini, Pat LaFrieda and Michael Symon at Pier 97 on October 12, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF) (Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
Image courtesy of Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF
A homemade hand sanitizer made with Tito's Vodka can be used to fight the new coronavirus.

As the coronavirus known as COVID-19 spread around the globe in March 2020, a piece of advice repeated frequently was to wash your hands often. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using soap and water, but the internet had another suggestion: Tito's Vodka.

A popular rumor on social media held that people could fight off the coronavirus by combining hand gel and Tito's Vodka in a homemade hand sanitizer:

This is not true. Tito's Vodka cannot be used to make effective hand sanitizer.

A number of DIY articles on the internet explain how to make homemade hand sanitizer. While some of these articles specified that vodka containing at least 60% alcohol was required to make an effective hand sanitizer, others simply stated that any vodka would do. Good Housekeeping, for instance, published an article on March 2 that told readers they could make homemade hand sanitizer with any "plain vodka."

But that isn't the case. The CDC writes that people can use an "alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol" if soap and water is not available. But most vodkas (including Tito's) only contain 40%.

Tito's has been responding to people on social media informing them that the product is not a suitable hand sanitizer.

This is hardly the first piece of bad advice to circulate on social media during the coronavirus outbreak. Read more in our "Coronavirus Collection." For up-to-date information on the coronavirus outbreak, please visit the CDC website.


Eckelkamp, Stephanie.   "How to Make a Natural Hand Sanitizer Using 3 Simple Ingredients."     Good Housekeeping.   2 March 2020.

Dan Evon is a former writer for Snopes.

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