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In this post: How to make homemade hand sanitizer for when you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands.
Hand sanitizer can be helpful when you can’t do a good handwashing. But you may not love the ingredients found in store-bought versions, or in the case of some sort of flu outbreak, it may be in short supply or priced ridiculously high. Our homemade hand sanitizer with alcohol and essential oils recipe means you can feel good knowing exactly what’s in it – and scent it any way you like, naturally!
Why Use Hand Sanitizer
Properly washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 or more seconds is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. But if water and soap aren’t available, your next best option, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Our homemade hand sanitizer includes essential oils which means you can tweak the amount of each ingredient to make it as custom as you like!
I find I use it most in regular life when I’ve been grocery shopping and touching the cart. Or after other shopping, if I’ve had to handle money or touch the debit machine that everyone else has touched.
How to Use Hand Sanitizer
Place a dime-sized amount of hand sanitizer in the palm of one hand. Thoroughly rub your hands together, getting hand sanitizer all over the surface of your hands and fingers. Be sure that you rub the hand sanitizer in until your hands are dry.
Note: Please be very cautious using hand sanitizer with children. It can be harmful to them if not used appropriately.
Why Use Rubbing Alcohol in Homemade Hand Sanitizer?
Isopropyl alcohol has apparently been used as a sanitizer as early as 1363, according to Wikipedia. It’s been more commonly used in hand sanitizer since the 1980s.
Homemade hand sanitizer needs to contain at minimum 60% alcohol.
Where to Find Rubbing Alcohol
I know that a lot of places have recently been sold out of rubbing alcohol, so even making your own disinfectant wipes can be tricky.
Here are some suggestions of places to look for alcohol:
- your local grocery store
- the drugstore/pharmacies
- your corner store
- online places like amazon (they have been working to reduce price gouging and to increase stock of essential items)
- office supply stores, like Staples
- hardware stores
What About Essential Oils?
Some essential oils are said to have antiviral properties, along with antibacterial and antifungal properties.
An article in the American Journal of Essential Oils and Natural Products suggests that some essential oils may help fight flu viruses, though more research is necessary [source1, source2].
However, I’m including a list of possible antiviral/antibacterial/antifungal essential oils here, in case you’d like to add them to your wipes for their scent or potential anti-germ properties:
- bergamot oil
- eucalyptus oil
- red thyme
- cinnamon leaf
- tea tree oil
How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer – Scented with Essential Oils
Making your own hand sanitizer is actually super easy!
- small pump bottle
- 2/3 cup 99% rubbing alcohol
- 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
- 10 drops of essential oil of choice for scent
- There are varying reports of how much alcohol is needed to make an effective hand sanitizer. Online sources report anything from 60% alcohol or more is the best at killing germs. So, you can increase the amount of rubbing alcohol in this DIY recipe to make the hand sanitizer more “potent” if you feel the need.
- This hand sanitzier has not been lab-tested. It is based on the principle of 60% alcohol hand sanitizer killing germs like the flu, etc. Use good judgment and always practic good hand-washing hygiene.
To make sure your homemade hand sanitizer is effective, use a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts 99% rubbing alcohol and 1 part aloe vera).
- Stir or whisk rubbing alcohol and aloe together in a bowl until well combined.
2. Add essential oils and mix again.
3. Using a funnel, pour the mixture into the bottle.
4. Add lid, shake and use as needed.
How Long Does This Homemade Hand Sanitizer Last?
Homemade hand sanitizer can be effective for up to a year, in a sealed container. But don’t use it as a substitute for washing with soap and water when possible.
How Does the Homemade Hand Sanitizer Differ from Store-Bought Hand Sanitizer Gel?
You may find that you need to shake the homemade hand sanitizer more often than you do store-bought. That’s because there are no additional ingredients that help to keep the aloe vera gel mixed with the other ingredients. But as long as you remember to shake it, the homemade version should work just fine.
A Note From Shannon
Okay, so here’s the thing. I’m not a scientist or a doctor. I’m just a wife and mom. My heart is to provide what help I can.
This hand sanitizer recipe was originally created years ago before everything got turned upside down. I’ve updated the “recipe” with the latest info: if made correctly, they contain the recommended 60% alcohol.
Does that mean they will kill every germ out there? Not necessarily.
But they can help if you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands properly with soap and water.
I know we are all confused and stressed and doing the best we each can. Please use common sense and use what resources you have well. If that means you increase the alcohol in this homemade hand sanitizer to make yourself more comfortable, by all means, do that.
Regular soap and warm water is said to destroy the current bug, so that could work too.
I really don’t have all the answers. But I hope the projects and things I have created here help you.
Printable Homemade Hand Sanitizer Directions
Homemade Hand Sanitizer with Essential Oils
Our homemade hand sanitizer with essential oils recipe means you can feel good knowing exactly what's in it - and scent it any way you like!
- small pump bottle
- 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol
- 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
- 10 drops of essential oil of choice
- Mix rubbing alcohol and aloe together until well combined.
- Add essential oils and mix again.
- Using a funnel, pour the mixture into the bottle.
*Please note: this hand sanitizer has not been lab-tested. It is based on the principal of 60% alcohol hand sanitizer killing germs like the flu, etc. Use good judgement and always practice good hand-washing hygiene.
If you’ve made this homemade hand sanitizer recipe, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below!