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Article: Can whisky be used as a hand sanitizer?

Can whisky be used as a hand sanitizer?

Can whisky be used as a hand sanitizer?


We’re all washing our hands a lot these days. And there is no substitute for soap and water. Does whisky kill germs? Yes. Can whisky be used as a hand sanitizer? Yes. It can! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that hand sanitizer should have a minimum of 60% ethanol to be effective. That means you’d probably need cask strength whisky. But you could do it. 

Cask strength whiskies have not had any water added to them before bottling. They go straight from the cask and into the bottle. Cask strength whisky usually has a higher alcohol by volume (ABV) than other whiskies. That means it has more ethanol.   

Will whisky kill germs?

Will pouring whisky on your hands kill germs? Absolutely. Can whisky be used as a hand sanitizer? Yes. Should you use it as a sanitizer? Maybe not. First, The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends hand sanitizers with a minimum of 80% ethanol. That’s more alcohol than just about any whiskey you can buy. Second, let’s be clear; it’s a terrible waste of whiskey!

If you are in desperate need of hand sanitizer, you could pour cask strength whisky on your hands. But even that might not be the best idea. Most commercially produced hand sanitizers are gels. They use gels so the alcohol will evaporate slower. It makes it more effective. If you want to make whisky hand sanitizer; you should mix it with a gel.   

How to make whisky hand sanitizer

How to make whisky hand sanitizer

  • Take your whiskey and mix it with aloe vera gel. It should be in a ratio between 3:1 and 4:1. The higher the alcohol content, the less gel you’ll need.
  • Leave your whiskey hand sanitizer to sit for 72 hours. You’ll want to kill any germs or bacteria that might have crept in when you were making it.    

The Who (not the band) has some handy instructions on this brochure.  

Our cask strength scotch

At The Single Cask, we think that the best whiskies should be opened, shared and enjoyed. I recommend our cask strength high ABV whiskies for drinking! But, if you plan to drink a scotch and use a bit to make whisky hand sanitizer, I’d recommend the Ruadh Maor 10-year-old whisky. You can buy it here.

It is cask strength (like all our whiskies), but our Ruadh Maor comes in at a massive 62.3% abv! That’s enough alcohol to meet the CDC’s recommendation. Also, our Ruadh Maor is delicious!

For more information, check out this article by Ted Simmons at The Whisky Advocate

Photo by Kelly Sikkema and on Unsplash

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