Surgical Hand Hygiene for Animal Shelters

Surgical hand rubs are solutions that surgeons can use to prepare their hands for surgery. A commonly used commercial brand is Avagard; another one is Sterillium. But there are also formulas for making your own surgical hand rub for use in your clinic. This formula is based on the World Health Organization’s formula ( modified based on the results of this article studying the formula’s effectiveness ( that meet the European standards for effectiveness. For more information about the adaptation of this formula see this post on the Ergovet website: 

Here is the recipe for a surgical hand rub solution:

Modified World Health Organization isopropyl alcohol surgeon hand rub

  • 1 quart (946 mL) 91% isopropyl alcohol
  • 1 pint (473 mL) 70% isopropyl alcohol
  • 62 ml hydrogen peroxide
  • 10.8 mL glycerol (also called glycerine)
  • Mix all ingredients together–I use a clean gallon jug for mixing and storage of the formula, and dispense into a repurposed hand sanitizer dispensing bottle for daily use.
  • Yield 1492 mL 79.9% (v/v) isopropanol with 0.1246% H2O2 and 0.724% glycerol