Request for use of Makerspace - Production of hand sanitiser

Hi all,

I know the makerspace is closed but I have a specific request for its use, which is the mass production of hand sanitiser.

Early last week I ordered 6 litres of ethanol and 10 litres of Isopropyl Alcohol off ebay. This has now arrived and is sitting in my bedroom. I also ordered litre of hydrogen perozide and 300ml of glycerol (which is still on order). This means there is enough to make just over 20 litres of WHO approved hand sanitiser, according to the recipe described here: I’m intending for this to be distributed to the needy, by which I mean those self-isolating due to vulnerability but who may need to go outside, emergency workers in frequent contact with others and generally those who are at risk or deserving; there will be no shortage of demand but this won’t be for sale (not price gouging).

So I have the ingredients, but I’m missing some other bits, notably (but not only):

  • Dispenser bottles
  • Large mixing tubs
  • Alcoholometer
  • Helpers
  • Distribution system

I could in theory mix all this stuff at home, but it’d be better to do it with a bit more space and better resource. It would also be a better and more easily controlled distribution point than my home would be.

I’d be grateful for the directors to consider this; if approved there would be some obvious things to consider like how to limit the number of people involved (max 2 or 3 ideally with appropriate expertise), storage, and how to manage distribution. If you’re happy in principle with the idea I can start working up a plan to do that while I wait for the rest of the stuff to arrive.



This seems a very worthy endeavour. I urge the @directors to consider how this could be accommodated.

A brilliant initiative

I’m in favour in principle

I only scanned the WHO guide briefly, but it would be good to have one of our chemistry-interested members give some oversight @inmandmk and @jan_evetts come to mind

Distribution: locally we’re trying to support local businesses and residents with a free e-commerce site for traders with no online presence, and there’s talk of a pot luck delivery scheme (all up in the air at the moment - food shops are too busy to think, the others don’t know if they’ll have to close) but this could be an outlet in some way

Someone needs to research if there are any labelling rules @iNerdier and @KarlS might have some knowledge here? I believe that anything you sell that cleans the skin needs a H&S cert, but don’t know what the situation is for giving it away. Advice is to check with a pharmacist or public health official

And, yes, any work would need to be carried out under strict social distancing conditions as well as safety around chemicals (and their storage)

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im just making a batch of hand sanitizer !


Yep, any product that’s for consumer use needs to be tested to be sold. My wife makes shampoo for example and she has to have quite stringent tests per SKU for safety.
But I believe if you’re giving it away, all is good.
Here in Bristol for example, a gin distilery has converted their equipment to produce the sanitizer and is giving it away for donations to charity.
Perhaps something could collaborate with the brewery next door if they have appropriate equipment?

Brewdog has also done the same.

what volumes are you thinking of doing?
if we use iso propol alchol we need to make sure its not recycled stuff. idealy we need to find a local gin/wisky distiller to work with

I didn’t eve knew there was recycled one? Why is it bad ?

its cleaned by distallation which is never perfect and you never know what was in it before.

We would need to use stuff that is either food or pharma grade, I think we will have trouble sourceing isopropal alchol of this grade in the uk, for the same reason key workers cannot get masks.

Hi all,


  • Enough chemicals for 18 litres of sanitiser
  • Need to test run formular with 1 atomiser bottle, then order ~200 more
  • People can help by volunteering needed production equipment (see below) and time to help do stuff
  • Distribution important, but easy to figure out


@inmandmk and @emuboy; I have sufficient isopropyl alcohol and ethanol to produce 18 litres of hand sanitiser. For reference, here’s what I’ve got:

. Grateful for your expertise in confirming that this is the right stuff. My uncle (who is a medical doctor) said it was but I wouldn’t want to make an error here.

And here is a spreadsheet with how I arrived at my figure:

As you can see, I’ve used the primary ingredient as the ‘reference’ for the others as the primary ingredient is far harder to get at this point, and assumed a production loss of 5%. But I’m still missing a key component which is a large quantity (~200) 100ml dispenser bottles and atomiser spray tops. I want to test that the liquid isn’t too viscous that it can’t be easily dispensed through an atomiser spray top before ordering loads, and have 1 on order. The WHO make clear that you can reuse dispenser bottles if they are properly cleaned and sanitised first. This would also be cheaper given this has been quite an expensive project already.

For the production equipment, I still need the following:

  • Large mixing tub or large plastic tank
  • Measuring cylinders
  • Alcoholometer

I can order or acquire these items but I’d love it if members here could either confirm that these things can be found in the space OR offer to lend me them - I’m sure people who need to receive these items would be grateful as well…

As this is not intended to be sold, I don’t think the regulatory approval applies. But labelling should definitely be a thing; describing the contents and origin of the bottles. A small avery label printed in the space should be sufficient, I think? Does anyone have small avery labels to hand?

On safe storage, I’ll confess I’m not up to speed on exactly what’s required here. But to note that the WHO manual requires that the formula be left for 72 hours after being dispensed in small bottles. This page seems to have some useful guidance: . I’d be happy to write up a risk assessment on this basis.

Assuming we can workaround the safe distancing requirements, develop a proper risk assessment and I can do a test run of the formula at home I think this can go. Grateful for volunteers of equipment or time from people sometime late next week if the directors are in agreement the space can be used for this

I’m less worried about distribution at this point; there are loads of mutual aid groups/networks this could happen through though use of the space as a point that it could happen from would be ideal (i.e. not my house).


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Two ideas for you to consider

age UK visit many of the elderly and vulnerable so could distribute.

Also Deliveroo, Uber Eats and Just Eat who have a household delivery capability and may appreciate a social activity to be associated with. Or you could simply register with them and advertise availability for local delivery - Uber eats just waived delivery fees.

You might consider contacting local micro breweries such as the Fox and Firkin etc who have large scale tubs/mixers, safety procedures for dealing with alcohol and whose main outlets have just been closed down so capacity may become idle soon.

Good luck.

Is it only me or many of the materials involved are highily volatile and flammable?

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For now if you are storing that material at home can I suggest you consider finding somewhere safer to store it, normally you’d use a metal flame cupboard, but ideally anywhere away from where you live would be a starting point.

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I would recommend that you do the work outside in small matches of 5l or less and store outside. At the mo outside is just above the flash temperature which will make working with the stuff a bit less dangerous. plus you will not end up breathing the fumes, which is the case of IPA are not very good for you and you are less likely to have to deal with an explosive air mix… which is the kind of thing that turns houses into match sticks. if memory services me correctlly IPA explosive mxi range is 2-12% which you could acheive without too much difficulty in a kitchen. idealy you want to store the stuff in a metal container that can hold a leak, as you don’t want rivers of flame should the worse happen

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