How I Made My Own Hand Sanitizer

A man uses hand sanitizer while working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic
Photo by Deliris /

The first line of defense against the coronavirus recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is to wash your hands often, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.

But if you can’t wash your hands, the next best thing is a hand sanitizer that is least 60% alcohol, the CDC says.

But try finding hand sanitizer in stores right now. Some stores are sold out or have it back-ordered. And even if you can find it, though, why pay what may be an inflated price when you can easily make it at home for less?

When I shopped for hand sanitizer earlier this month, my small-town pharmacy was out of stock. They did, however, have pint bottles of rubbing alcohol and big tubes of aloe. So, I got those and decided to make my own hand sanitizer.

The recipe

I used a recipe from CBS News, mixing together:

  • 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol (aka isopropyl alcohol) or ethanol (aka ethyl alcohol): I used rubbing alcohol that contains 91% isopropyl alcohol as the active ingredient — you need at least 91% alcohol to ensure your finished hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol.
  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel: Aloe adds thickness and makes it easier to apply your sanitizer to your skin.
  • 5 to 10 drops of essential oil (optional): A fragrance keeps you from smelling like rubbing alcohol.

You’ll also want some small bottles and a funnel to help with filling them. You could reuse empty sanitizer bottles or other small bottles.

I bought a package of three new bottles — purse or desk-sized — at a drugstore for less than $4.

Shake before using

I set up my equipment and assembled my ingredients on the kitchen counter. It took only a few minutes to concoct my batch of hand sanitizer. I poured the alcohol and aloe gel together in a bowl with a bit of ylang ylang essential oil and mixed.

Mixing wasn’t as easy as it sounds. The gel and alcohol don’t mix easily. So, I used a kitchen whisk to vigorously beat the mixture and then quickly distributed it into the bottles, before the aloe could separate from the alcohol.

Be sure to shake your hand sanitizer bottle before using it, so the ingredients are well mixed.

Have you ever made your own hand sanitizer, or would you try making it yourself? Share with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

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