How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Some commercial hand sanitizer contains ingredients as scary as the germs they protect you from, so why not make your own hand sanitizer from ingredients you select? This is an excellent project for kids as well as adults since the project can be expanded to include a discussion about hygiene and disinfection. You’ll save money, protect yourself from germs, and can customize the scent of the hand sanitizer so it doesn’t smell medicinal.

The active ingredient in this hand sanitizer recipe is the alcohol, which needs to comprise at least 60% of the product in order to be an effective disinfectant. The recipe calls for 99% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (grain alcohol, most commonly available at 90%-95%).

Please don’t use any other types of alcohol (e.g., methanol, butanol), as they are toxic. Also, if you use a product that contains a lower percentage of alcohol (e.g., 70% alcohol) then you need to increase the amount of alcohol in the recipe or it won’t be as effective.

In addition to adding fragrance to your hand sanitizer, the essential oil you choose may also help protect you against germs. For example, thyme and clove oil have antimicrobial properties. If you are using antimicrobial oils, only use a drop or two, since these oils tend to be very powerful and might irritate your skin. Other oils, such as lavender or chamomile, may help soothe your skin.

What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
  • Bowl and spoon
  • Funnel
  • Bottle with pump dispenser

Materials

  • 2/3 cup 99 percent rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
  • 8 to 10 drops essential oil, optional

Simply mix the ingredients together and then use the funnel to pour them into the bottle. Screw the pump back onto the bottle and you’re ready to go.