How to Make Hand Sanitizer
An easy, essential DIY disinfectant to keep on hand — pun intended.
Convenient hand sanitizer pumps, foams and gels aren’t new to our world, but as we adjust to a new normal, we know they’re definitely here to stay. Keeping a powerful personal disinfectant handy is now essential for work, school and nice to have available anytime you’re in public without the convenience of soap and water. It couldn't be easier to always have sanitizer on hand (literally) if you follow the steps in this quick tutorial.
Effective hand sanitizers must contain over 60% isopropyl alcohol, so it’s important to remember that homemade solutions should not be overly diluted with other ingredients. If your skin can tolerate it, aim for a 75% ratio of alcohol to other ingredients. You can go higher, too, but keep in mind that the stronger the ratio, the less friendly your sanitizer will be to your nose or your skin. And contrary to what you might have heard, vodka and other high-proof alcohols aren’t actually strong enough to get the job done well (leave those in the bar — you’ll need them for happy hour).
Here’s a Gel-Based Hand Sanitizer You Can Count on:
- isopropyl alcohol (91% or greater)
- essential oils (optional — to improve the scent)
- mixing bowl (or a jar with a lid that you can shake-shake-shake)
- bottle with a spout or pump
Combine approximately 6 parts isopropyl alcohol with 1 part glycerol (glycerin). Some people use a mixture with 1 part aloe vera gel, but anecdotally, aloe vera is what usually makes your hands feel sticky after using some disinfectants. We love the properties of aloe but not when it leaves us feeling like we actually need to wash our hands. That’s why we favor glycerol in this solution.
Stir it thoroughly or shake it up.
If you want to improve the smell of your disinfectant, add a few drops of essential oils. Tea tree oil, lavender and citrus oils, such as orange and lemon are also often used in combination with homemade hand sanitizers. A few drops go a long way, and you won't have to worry about diluting your solution.
Funnel the disinfectant into a bottle. We love reusing empty sanitizer bottles with pumps for everyday use, but opt for recycled hotel toiletries bottles when we need a portable solution — they work well because they’re small, easy to fill and usually close securely to prevent leaks.
Keep your hand sanitizer conveniently located, and rest at ease knowing that you always have a way to reduce and eliminate germs and bacteria while you're on the go.