Hand sanitizer being made by distilleries amid coronavirus outbreak

Published: Mar. 24, 2020 at 7:24 PM EDT
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A nationwide shortage of handsanitizer has local distilleries churning out a supply to help meet the need.

Mike Bird and Scott Ellis are co-owners of Michigrain Distillery in downtown Lansing.

The company moved to hand sanitizing production mode, switching up their operations and using their supplies of high-proof alcohol to create a much-coveted hand sanitizer.

"One of the issues is there's no more isopropyl in the United States," Bird said. "Since there's no more isopropyl, which is what everybody uses to make hand sanitizer with, we've turned into an essential organization because we have to use ethanol. It has the same properties as isopropyl when it comes to sanitization, we just stepped it up and decided to make more and more of it that we can."

Several businesses have called and purchased 5 gallon buckets for their work and sanitizing, Ellis said.

"Luckily, in the states, we've got these big huge stills that can help out and keep pumping out. I guess Michigan can become the sanitization capitol for now" Bird said.

The business is selling and donating five-gallon buckets to law enforcement and hospitals, and meeting everyone else curbside, offering individual 2 fluid ounce bottles of 70% alcohol sanitizer for $4.

"We're going to make sure we keep this going as much as we can," Ellis said. "We're doing everything we can to keep the price down but we also have to produce and buy the product to make it."

Hand sanitizer can be homemade by using a bottle of 151 proof alcohol and mixing it with one ounce of moisturizing oil, such as baby oil.

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