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 5 March 2020

Claim

A homemade hand sanitizer made with Tito's Vodka can be used to fight the new coronavirus.

Rating

Origin

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.