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Tito's Vodka: Please don't use our booze as coronavirus hand sanitizer

Save the spirits for sipping, not splashing on your hands.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, generational studies. Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
2 min read

Vodka is for sipping, not sanitizing, Tito's tells its customers.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images for NYCWFF

Here's a sentence you never thought you'd read: Don't use Tito's Handmade Vodka as hand sanitizer. It seems odd that the Austin, Texas-based liquor company had to tweet that out on Thursday, but such is the world we live in as the coronavirus outbreak continues.

It all started when a Twitter user wrote, "I made some hand sanitizer out (of) your vodka. The hand sanitizer doesn't taste bad either. Cheers to Tito's vodka. Keeping me germ-free and feeling good at the same time."

OK, that's kind of funny, but the coronavirus is serious business, and Tito's had to do its corporate due diligence and warn readers away from drinkable vodka-based sanitizing.

"Per the CDC, hand sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol," the company said in a tweet. "Tito's Handmade Vodka is 40% alcohol, and therefore does not meet the current recommendation of the CDC."

The link provided by Tito's goes to the Center for Disease Control's guide to when and how to wash your hands. That guide says handwashing with soap and water is best, but if that's not possible, choose an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

That might be easier said than done if you haven't already stocked up on Purell and other brands. Store shelves are emptying quickly, and many online retailers such as AmazonWalmart.comBath and Body Works and Walgreens are out of stock, too. But it's not smart to make your own sanitizer -- if you don't have any, try to just wash your hands the normal way as much as possible.

And sanitizer isn't a magical cure. The CDC says it's not as effective as handwashing because, for one thing, people often wipe it off before it dries. One tip: Keep your hands to yourself, and substitute the Spock Vulcan salute for the old-fashioned handshake. Live long, and stay sanitary.

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