STORRS, CT (WFSB) -- A team of UConn students and professors are on a mission to fill 20,000 bottles of hand sanitizer.
Their ultimate goal is to hand out the product for free at senior living communities, to first responders, soup kitchens, and food pantries.
“It's something that we're happy to do and is our privilege to do,” said Noah Ferguson, a PhD student at UConn.
Ferguson is among the team of other volunteers focusing on at risk communities during the pandemic.
“Many people, especially the elderly, or if they're on fixed income, they just can't afford these things, and so those are the people we're trying to reach,” said Jeffrey McCutcheon, associate professor of Chemical Engineering at UConn.
It’s called Husky Hand Sanitizer, and they’re using science and a recipe to help.
“We've re-appropriated some old brewing equipment as our mixing vessel,” Ferguson explained.
The team follows the four-ingredient World Health Organization formula – “That is isopropyl alcohol, glycerin, hydrogen peroxide, and distilled water,” Ferguson said.
The alcohol tester confirms the right proportions were mixed.
The hand sanitizer sits for three days to ensure any bacteria is killed off.
The size of the hand sanitizer bottle varies, sometimes it's a 1 oz bottle, other times it's a 10 oz. It all depends on how much product they can get their hands on.
“Last week, for instance, we didn't have enough bottles, so we didn't fill last week,” McCutcheon said.
“When we started, we basically just bought hydrogen peroxide and glycerin from CVS. We would make a run every day to get some more bottles,” said Mayur Ostwal, assistant research professor at UCONN.
The group made 200 hundred to start and is now at nearly 1,400.
They’ve since received donations of the four ingredients and containers, but are asking for more.
“As Connecticut reopens, it's going to be very important that we maintain our cleanliness and sanitizer is part of that. Especially as companies reopen and people go back out into the world,” McCutcheon said.
But they’re also reminding folks that hand sanitizer should be used as a substitute.
The CDC recommends the best method is to wash your hands as often as possible.
Let hand sanitizer serve as a back-up.