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If you’ve been searching the store shelves in vain for hand sanitizer, then I have a recipe for you! An easy DIY hand sanitizer with only two ingredients that you probably already have in your medicine cabinet. It’s so fast, cheap and easy to make, you’ll wonder why you’ve been buying it all these years!
We all know washing with soap and water is the best way to keep your hands clean and germ free. But sometimes that isn’t an option. That’s where hand sanitizer comes to the rescue!
It’s something we all like to keep in our purses, book bags, diaper bags, the car, basically everywhere! It’s great for taking to work or school, the grocery store to sanitize shopping carts, a back yard barbecue, or the playground/swimming pool to keep dirty little hands clean.
DIY Hand Sanitizer Ingredients
There’s only two basic ingredients in this simple recipe: rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel. If you want a scented hand sanitizer, you can also add a few drops of essential oils. Many of them also add an extra germ-fighting boost.
Rubbing alcohol, also called isopropyl alcohol, is cheap and easy to find at almost any store. Look for it in the first aid section. Rubbing alcohol normally comes in three strengths: 70%, 91%, and 99%.
This recipe uses 91%, but you can also use 99% if that’s what you have. Don’t go any lower or the finished product will not have a high enough alcohol content to be effective.
According to the CDC, alcohol based hand sanitizers must contain at least 70% isopropyl alcohol to be effective. This recipe has been formulated to be above 70% alcohol (using 91% isopropyl alcohol), so don’t use the 70% rubbing alcohol or you will end up with a mixture that’s too diluted to effectively kill germs.
Vodka can be substituted for the rubbing alcohol, but don’t use just any old vodka. Most regular vodka is 80 proof, or 40% alcohol. You need a very high proof vodka, something like Everclear that’s 190 proof.
But that’s hard to find and pretty expensive. So I would stick with the rubbing alcohol. Unless of course you already have a bottle of Everclear lying around.
Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera gel is the other cheap, easy to find ingredient in this DIY hand sanitizer. I’m talking about that bottle of green gel you use to soothe a sunburn. In the summer you can find it just about everywhere, usually with the sun screen. But even in the off-season you can still find it at drug stores or places like Walmart.
There are two reasons for the aloe gel. First, it helps to moisturize skin so the rubbing alcohol doesn’t totally dry out your hands.
Second, it makes the hand sanitizer a little thicker so it’s easier to rub into hands. The final product is still pretty runny, but please resist the urge to add more aloe. Adding more will dilute the alcohol below 70% making it less effective against germs.
While totally optional, you can definitely add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to make scented DIY hand sanitizer. You can safely add 10-20 drops without diluting the alcohol too much.
Some great choices are lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, peppermint, orange, rosemary, or tea tree. They all have disinfecting properties, plus they smell great!
Pick one or a few that smell good to you. I love the scent of lavender and lemon together. Orange and peppermint smell great too!
Not only do essential oils add a nice scent, they also add an extra germ fighting boost. Most essential oils have at least some antimicrobial properties. If you’re just getting started with essential oils
DIY Hand Sanitizer Directions
In a bowl use a whisk to combine:
- 1 cup 91% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol)
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 10-15 drops essential oil (optional)
Pour into bottles using a funnel. An old hand soap dispenser or any bottle with a pump work great. Little travel size bottles are great too. You can usually find them at the dollar store in two or three packs for a dollar. Look in the travel/trial size section at stores.
Alternatively, you could just pour all of the ingredients directly into your final container and shake to combine everything. This works great if you’re not planning on dividing it into smaller bottles.
Following this recipe will give you a hand sanitizer that is 72.8% alcohol. Or a tiny bit less if you add essential oils. Safely above the CDC guidelines of 70% for isopropyl alcohol based hand sanitizers.
If you loved this recipe, don’t forget to share it on Pinterest!