How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer: Complete Guide

Did you know you can make your own hand santizer gel with a few simple ingredients? Read on for our full recipe & complete instructions
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With the coronavirus sweeping through countries across the world, we all need to take a careful look at our standards of personal hygiene. Viruses spread through physical contact with infected surfaces.

When an infected person coughs in their hand and then touches a surface, they contaminate it with virus particles. These particles can live on surfaces for up to 9-days. If you touch the contaminated surface, and then accidentally touch your face, the virus particles will enter your mouth and nose.

Using hand sanitizer can eliminate this risk, helping you protect yourself and your family against virus particles.

The Current Hand Sanitizer Shortage

In the wake of the deadly COVID-19 outbreak in the US, hand sanitizer products are tough to find. With supplies of hand sanitizer sold out in stores, they won’t be back in stock anytime soon with the extent of the government shutdown halting manufacture of the product.

So, what the solution? Fortunately, it’s possible to make a hand sanitizer formula at home, that’s as effective as the brands like Purell.

All you need for the recipe are a few basic household ingredients and some time. Considering many parts of the United States are on lockdown for the foreseeable future, this makes for a fun project to complete with your kids to keep them busy at home.

How Does Hand Sanitizer Work?

Most effective hand sanitizers contain some form of alcohol that destroys 99.9% of pathogens on contact. The alcohol dissolves the fatty membrane around the virus-cell, killing it before it has a chance to infect you.

Our hand sanitizer recipe calls for the inclusion of isopropyl alcohol, which is available online, or at your local pharmacy. For hand sanitizers to be effective at killing the coronavirus, they need to have a minimum concentration of 60% isopropyl alcohol.

Isopropyl alcohol is 95% alcohol, but if you can’t find it online or at the store, ethanol is also an option for your recipe. Avoid using butanol or methanol, as they are toxic, and absorb into your bloodstream through the skin.

If you include other alcohol types that contain less than 60% alcohol, you’ll need to increase the quantity in the recipe to ensure it’s effective at killing viruses.

Preserving Your Hands

Alcohol dries out your skin and causes it to crack. Washing your hands in isopropyl alcohol will leave your cuticles and skin feeling sore and dry. It’s for this reason that hand sanitizer formulas include moisturizing ingredients top prevent your skin from drying out during use.

Alcohol also has a sterile and unpleasant smell, and its not a very attractive scent to have on your skin, unless you want people looking at you like you spent the day in a bar downtown.

Adding moisturizing agents and essential oils to your home hand sanitizer recipe ensures that your skin remains hydrated, and you get a pleasant fragrance that masks the alcohol smell.

We recommend adding natural essential oils like chamomile, tea tree, and clove. All of these essential oils have potent antimicrobial properties that boost the efficacy of your hand sanitizer while making it smell fantastic.

We like using aloe vera gel for the lubricant and moisturizer in our recipe. Aloe vera has a clean and refreshing smell, and it feels cool on your skin. It’s the ideal complement to your homer hand sanitizer recipe, and aloe vera gel is widely available from online health retailers.

Aloe Vera
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As mentioned, our hand sanitizer formula contains isopropyl alcohol that kills 99.9% of germs on contact.

However, alcohol is a flammable substance. Therefore, never rub this sanitizer on your hands before cooking. The heat from the stove or oven may cause the alcohol to ignite, resulting in a severe burn to your skin.

This homemade hand sanitizer is ideal for use in every other situation, but make sure you keep it away from heat sources. Educate your kids about its use, and always make sure they apply it under adult supervision.

How to Make Hand Sanitizer Gel

Now that you know how hand sanitizer works, and the safety requirements involved with its use, its time to unveil our secret hand sanitizer recipe.

Kitchen Equipment

  • Wooden spoon and a Pyrex bowl or mixing bowl
  • Funnel
  • Pump dispenser bottles


  • 1/3-cup Aloe vera gel
  • 2/3-cup 99% rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol)
  • Ten drops of your favorite fragrant essential oil (we recommend tea tree and lavender)


Making your hand sanitizer is easy. Mix the ingredients in the bowl using the wooden spoon, and then add it to the empty pump bottle. Screw on the dispenser lid, and it’s ready to use.

We recommend getting a few smaller 1-oz hand pump bottles. This strategy keeps it within easy reach in the car and your purse, for when the lockdown lifts and you need to venture out to the store for groceries.

Can I Make Substitutions to this Recipe?

Sure! You can change up the essential oils and the base moisturizing gel for your favorite brand.

However, it’s best to keep the isopropyl alcohol in the recipe for the best results. Grain alcohol (ethanol) is a suitable substitute, but that’s the only other alternative we recommend for this recipe.

Other lubricants that make excellent substitutions for the aloe vera gel include your favorite hand lotion or glycerin.

The CDC recommends that the minimum alcohol concentration in hand sanitizer needs to be at least 60% to be effective.

Where Do I Keep My Hand Sanitizer?

Keep multiple pump bottles of your hand sanitizer around your home. Leave a dispenser at the front door on the entrance table and leave others in the kitchen, lounge, and outside on the patio table.

There’s no need to keep a bottle in the bathroom, but make sure you keep one in your handbag and the glove compartment of your car.

A Final Tip – Don’t Forget the Lotion

Your hand sanitizer is effective at killing the coronavirus on contact. However, you might find that with frequent application, your hands start to dry out during the day, even with the inclusion of aloe vera gel in the recipe.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to periodically moisturize your hands using your favorite hand lotion from time to time during the day.

Hollie Carter

Hollie is a life-long gardener, having started helping her Dad work on their yard when she was just 5. Since then she has gone on to develop a passion for growing vegetables & fruit in her garden. She has an affinity with nature and loves to share her knowledge gained over a lifetime with readers online. Hollie has written for a number of publications and is now the resident garden blogger here at GardenBeast. Contact her at or follow on twitter

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