Remember that time when hand sanitizer was in short supply? That was only eight months ago! Now that we are in cold and flu season (and the COVID-19 pandemic continues on), it would be great to know that you will always have hand sanitizer, well, on hand, right? Here is a homemade hand sanitizer recipe that uses items you might already have in your bathroom.
Ingredients for Homemade Hand Sanitizer:
- Isopropyl alcohol – This comes in a variety of alcohol contents, from 60 percent to 99 percent. The CDC recommends that hand sanitizer includes at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective at killing germs, but when you mix the isopropyl alcohol with the aloe vera, it dilutes the alcohol content. So for the most effective homemade hand sanitizer, you will want to start with an alcohol content higher than 60 percent. Many recipes online use a 2:1 ratio of isopropyl alcohol to aloe vera gel no matter what the starting alcohol content, but really, the lower the alcohol content, the more you will have to use when mixing it with aloe vera gel. To make things easier for you, the DIY hand sanitizer recipe we are sharing today uses 91 percent isopropyl alcohol.
- Aloe vera gel – This keeps your skin from drying out.
- Essential oils – These are optional, but some people prefer using them to give their homemade hand sanitizer a more pleasant smell. Some nice options to make your own hand sanitizer smell good are lavender, cinnamon, tea tree, oregano, rosemary, thyme, and clove. Some oils, such as tea tree, have antibacterial properties so you might want to use that one in your homemade hand sanitizer recipe, but if you do not like its scent, just choose an essential oil with an aroma that is pleasing to you.
- Bowl and mixing spoon
- 1/3 measuring cup
- 2-ounce or 3-ounce bottle – An ideal vessel for your homemade hand sanitizer would be a clear travel-sized shampoo/conditioner/lotion bottle. Just make sure that your container is empty and clean. You do not want your handmade hand sanitizer to be contaminated by germs before it has a chance to get rid of any. In fact, you really want to make sure all of your supplies – bowl, spoon, funnel, measuring cup – have been thoroughly washed before you make hand sanitizer.
Directions for Making Homemade Hand Sanitizer:
- In a bowl, mix 2/3 cup 91 percent isopropyl alcohol with 1/3 cup aloe vera gel. (As stated above, the general ratio of alcohol to aloe vera gel is 2:1. So if you need to make a bigger batch, this ratio will guide you as long as you are using 91 percent isopropyl alcohol.)
- If you want to use essential oils in your homemade sanitizer, add eight to 10 drops of your preferred oil now.
- Pour the mixture into the clean and empty bottle. If you have a funnel, use it for this step. This yields about one cup of hand sanitizer.
The best practice for applying hand sanitizer, according to the CDC, is to squeeze some hand sanitizer into the palm of one hand and then rub it over every surface of your hands until your hands are dry. Properly using hand sanitizer reduces the number of microbes on your hands and prevents you from spreading those germs to other surfaces and people.
Keep in mind that using a homemade hand sanitizer is not a substitute for washing your hands. Commercial hand sanitizer is always going to be preferable over handmade hand sanitizer. And if soap and water are available, use them! (Soap and water are actually more effective at removing certain types of germs.) But for those times when you cannot get to a sink or the store shelves are totally void of hand sanitizer, just whip out your DIY hand sanitizer gel and wipe those germs away.
Laurie Leahey is a Midwest transplant living on the East Coast with her triangle family: mommy, daddy, and daughter. She is a passionate toy and baby gear product review writer for TTPM.com and writes about crafting, gluten-free food, books, and #momlife at her blog, http://cookscrapcraft.blogspot.com/. When not writing and blogging, you can find her in her craft room trying to get caught up on scrapbooking all the photos she takes.