Most commercial hand sanitizers contain harsh chemicals like artificial fragrances and stabilizers. Make your own homemade hand sanitizer with essential oils!
Disclaimer: In light of the current COVID-19 virus, I’ve made some updates to this post. The original recipe contained a small amount of alcohol (or no alcohol, if using an alcohol-free witch hazel), and relied on tea tree oil for it’s antibacterial properties. However, in order to kill viruses like COVID-19, the WHO and CDC recommend at least 60% alcohol-by-volume to be effective. I’ve reformulated the original recipe accordingly. You can jump straight to the recipe by clicking HERE.
And as always, the best defence against germs is proper hand washing with soap and water!
Wouldn’t it be great if we lived in a world without germs?
Just imagine…No spoiled food. No common cold. No viruses and bacteria at every corner waiting to attack any living thing in sight.
Disease would be eradicated, and people would be healthy!
Or would they?
Utopian dreams aside, we of course know that a world without germs wouldn’t be a world at all…at least not one that would sustain any sign of life.
So love them or hate them, germs are a necessary part of life, and we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for those smart little buggers.
The only problem?
As beneficial as they are to life on this planet, sometimes they can be a nuisance, or an unwelcome (even deadly!) invader. So we have to take precautions and protect ourselves from the bad germs that can actually harm us.
Super simple…just wash up! Plain soap and water are more than enough to kill the “bad” germs, but gentle enough to not bother the “good” germs that we actually need.
But sometimes? Sometimes you just don’t have those extra few minutes it takes to drop what you’re doing, run to the bathroom, and give your hands a good wash and scrub in the sink.
When I was a teacher, with 20 kids in my class, and no sink in our classroom, I couldn’t just walk down the hall whenever I needed to wash off the gooey, sticky, germ-laden gunk that managed to populate my hands at any given time of day – par for the course when you’re working with a bunch of 8 year olds. 😉
And forget about cold and flu season!
So in comes hand sanitizer to the rescue!
That stuff rocks, it really does.
But I’ve had a love/hate relationship with it since forever. It’s super useful in places with lots of people and lots more germs being passed around, like schools, hospitals, or those carts at the grocery store that never, ever get cleaned. <shudder>
But here’s the deal…
Commercial hand sanitizers contain harsh chemicals like artificial fragrances and stabilizers, which come with their own list of health risks.
And the main ingredient in these store bought products is ethyl alcohol, and require a minimum concentration of at least 60% in order to be effective at killing all those germs.
With that much alcohol content, hand sanitizers can be harsh on the skin, especially if you suffer from allergies and other skin sensitivities.
What’s the alternative?
When looking for a natural hand sanitizer that’s safe to use, but still effective against viruses, make sure they do not contain ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum’ in the ingredient list.
And you want something moisturizing to counteract the drying effect of the alcohol, so look for nourishing oils and gels in the ingredients as well.
But making a homemade hand sanitizer is actually very easy and requires only a few simple ingredients. Plus, I’m hearing a lot about shortages across the globe because of the COVID-19, so learning to make your own homemade hand sanitizer could help you if you’re in a jam!
So let’s get started…
Natural Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe
Here’s what you’ll need:
- aloe vera gel – this will form the base gel, and aloe is very nourishing for the skin.
- isopropyl alcohol 91% – make sure it is 91% (and not 70%) in order for the final product to have the correct concentration required by the WHO and CDC.
- essential oils – Tea tree oil has potent antimicrobial properties (use at least 0.5% concentration), and lavender helps round out the strong tea tree oil smell. You can also use thyme oil, which has been shown to be effective against even drug-resistant bacteria.
- vitamin E oil – acts as a natural moisturizer for the skin, to counteract the harshness of the alcohol.
This is the type of alcohol you need, make sure it is at least 91% so that your hand sanitizer meets the minimum alcohol content required by the World Health Organization to kills viruses.
If you use an alcohol with less than 91%, the ratio of the ingredients in this recipe will be all wrong, and your sanitizer will not meet the minimum required by the WHO.
Here’s how to make homemade hand sanitizer:
Start by adding the vitamin E oil and essential oils to a glass bowl, and mix them very well. Then add the alcohol, and stir to mix. Finally, add the aloe vera gel, and mix again.
That’s it! Wasn’t that simple?
Now you’ll add them to your containers and get on with your life, because you just made homemade hand sanitizer and you’re feeling pretty awesome right now. 🙂
You can use these squeeze tubes that you can get online, or you can check the travel toiletries section at your drug store for similar bottles or tubes.
Just throw them in your purse or backpack so you always have it on the go. Or you can use a pump bottle to keep on your desk at work.
Natural Homemade Hand Sanitizer
Most hand sanitizers contain harsh chemicals that are drying to the skin and smell very strong. Make your own homemade hand sanitizer with essential oils!
- 1 cup 91% isopropyl alcohol (do NOT use 70% as that will change the concentration)
- 1/2 cup aloe vera gel
- 45 drops tea tree oil (optional; adds antibacterial properties)
- 15 drops essential oil (to round out the scent; rosemary, lavender, cinnamon are great)
- 3/4 tsp vitamin E oil (optional; for moisturizing)
- squeeze tubes or bottles
In a small glass bowl, add the essential oils and vitamin E oil and stir.
Add the alcohol and stir again.
Add the aloe vera gel and mix very well.
Using a funnel, pour the mixture into your container of choice.
Shake well before using.
- As always, use caution and care when working with essential oils. Keep in mind that some oils are not recommended for use while pregnant or breastfeeding. So please, research the oils you wish to use before you add them to your recipe. A good resource on safety is Using EOs Safely.
- Although this recipe is safe for adults and young children, I wouldn’t use this (or any sanitizer) on children younger than 2 years of age.
- Alcohol is highly flammable! Please do not use this near an open flame.
- As always, the information on this blog is for educational purposes only, and is not meant be used as a substitute for medical advice from a licensed professional physician.