SEATTLE — If you can’t seem to find hand sanitizer for sale anywhere, two small Seattle businesses want to help – for free.
Glass Distillery in Seattle’s SODO neighborhood (1712 1st Ave S, Seattle) and Bob’s Lake City Liquors (9824 Lake City Way NE, Seattle,) are making their own hand cleaner and offering it to customers at no charge.
Ian MacNeil, the owner of Glass Distillery, uses distilling byproducts for his mix.
"When you distill alcohol, the first part of the distillation removes parts of the alcohol we don't want to drink, things like methanol and acetone,” explained MacNeil.
Those byproducts can be used for cleaning, so MacNeil is bottling it in small glass containers with spray nozzles.
"Make no mistake, you cannot drink this, but it sure works great for cleaning your hands,” said MacNeil. "This is just a secondary way to keep your hands clean if you don't have access to soap and water."
On Sunday, he donated two gallons to a dental office. Now he’s putting together a big batch for retirement facilities.
"I'm a tiny little company and if I can make a difference for a few people, that's great,” MacNeil said. “If we all can do something little, in a community, that's how communities survive. And we'll get through this."
Across town in Lake City, Bob's Liquors is offering similar help.
"I'd grown frustrated not being able to find hand sanitizer for the store because I'm in contact with the public so much,” said Manager Brent Enloe.
His wife found a do-it-yourself recipe that meets the CDC's 60% alcohol threshold for effectiveness.
"Two-to-one ratio of grain neutral spirits, 190 proof, to one-part aloe vera,” Enloe said.
He invested in a five-gallon bucket of aloe vera and uses alcohol they carry in the store. The mixture is kept in a sports cooler and customers are welcome to fill up their own containers.
"I am no chemist by any means,” he said. "We just wanted to do something for the people that can't find hand sanitizer."
The public is welcome to visit Glass Distillery or Bob's Lake City Liquors during regular business hours for freehand cleaner.
Their products are not approved by the FDA, and hand sanitizer is not a substitute for handwashing.
UPDATE 3/31: About half of the liquor producers in Washington have now joined the effort, making hundreds of gallons of hand cleaner every week following the FDA and World Health Organization's guidelines.
Here are just a few --
- Heritage Distilling - 5 Locations
- Sandstone Distillery in Tenino
- Solar Spirits in Richland
- Shine Distillery in Portland