How Hand Sanitizer is Made

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ProQuip Doubly-Pitched HiFlow™ Impeller Ideal for Production of Hand Sanitizers, Many Other Personal Care Products

The use of hand sanitizer and other antimicrobial products typically rise during the cold and flu season. Their use is especially prevalent during the 2020 season due to the Covid 19 virus.

First sold in Europe in the 1980s, hand sanitizers are a quick and convenient way to help kill infectious agents on the hands in settings where hand washing is impossible or difficult.

This In The Mix blog takes a closer look at what hand sanitizer is and how it’s made.

What is Hand Sanitizer?

Most hand sanitizers come in liquid or gel form and are made from isopropyl alcohol (ethanol is also sometimes used), agents to prevent skin drying (e.g., glycol) and several other ingredients which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Alcohol content also varies but is typically 60% or greater per FDA recommendations. The alcohol content in hand sanitizers makes them flammable.

The time period in which isopropyl alcohol, the main component in hand sanitizers, was discovered is debated. Some say it was centuries ago, perhaps even the 1300s. Regardless, most sources say isopropyl alcohol first became commercially available in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

Propene is a basic material used in isopropyl alcohol. It is derived from fossil fuels, typically petroleum and natural gas (Sciencing).

How Hand Sanitizer is Made

The production of hand sanitizer is a liquid blending application. Ingredients are miscible and mix easily. Mixing tanks for commercial production typically do not require baffles, but an impeller like the ProQuip Doubly-Pitched HiFlow impeller is recommended as viscosity often changes during the mixing process (especially for hand sanitizer gels).

Isopropyl alcohol production combines propene with water using direct or indirect methods. Distillation removes compounds used to facilitate the combination process (Sciencing).

For More Information

Personal care companies use ProQuip tank agitators to manufacture a wide variety of products like hand sanitizer, soap, body wash, shampoo, deodorant, makeup, lipstick, hand lotion, moisturizer, perfume, cologne and shaving cream. For more information on ProQuip mixing solutions for manufacturing personal care products, email or call us at 330-468-1850.