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How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

by Kimberly Fischer
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As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to sweep the globe, panic buying has led to a nationwide shortage of hand sanitizer. While handwashing is the preferred method of reducing the spread of the Coronavirus, hand sanitizer is good to have on hand when taking care of essential activities. Maybe you’re shopping for groceries, going to the pharmacy, or taking care of other critical activities outside the house, where you don’t readily have access to soap and water.

According to a study by Adobe Analytics, sales of hand sanitizer has increased by more than 1,400 percent. With this shortage, price gouging is making it so that even if you manage to find hand sanitizer it’s disproportionately expensive. Also, many of the elements you need to make it are generally available and may already be in your medicine cabinet.

If you are planning on selling your home, or if it’s on the market already, you’re going to spend more time cleaning than ever and have to leave more frequently while potential buyers are taking their tour. Having hand sanitizer on hand whenever you need to go outside of your home is a must.

No More Panic Buying! Make It Yourself.

In this article, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions to make your own gel or spray hand sanitizer in minutes, so you can save money and stay safer when hand washing is not an option. There are numerous recipes out there on the Web. However, we are relying on proven and reliable resources, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for guidance. That being said, there are ways you can spruce up your recipe, and we’ll show you how. It only takes a few minutes!

The main ingredient that makes up hand sanitizer is 60-95+ percent alcohol. It’s important to note that the lower the alcohol content in your hand sanitizer, the less effective it is at combatting unseen bacteria and viruses. Despite what many home recipes on the Web or even retailers are currently advertising, vodka, gin, and other drinking alcohols are inadequate. So, put those back in your liquor cabinet and save them for those shelter-in place cocktails.

How to Make Gel Hand Sanitizer

This recipe follows CDC guidelines and will yield twelve ounces. However, we can’t express enough the need for the highest alcohol percentage you can get your hands on. Keep in mind that the alcohol percentage of the end product will be diluted by the other ingredients. For example, when using 70 percent alcohol, your final mixed product will only be about 47 percent alcohol due to the aloe vera.

Our advice: If you unable to purchase a high alcohol percentage, you’re better off skipping the aloe altogether. Yes, you’ll need more lotion, but you’ll also be safer when you must perform those essential activities outside of the house.


  • One cup of 60+ percent isopropyl alcohol or ethanol alcohol – remember, the higher the alcohol percentage, the better!
  • One half cup of aloe vera gel to counteract the drying effects of the alcohol
  • Optional! 15-20 drops of antibacterial essential oils if you have them on hand

Making sure that you are using the correct proportions of your ingredients is vital to ensure that your hand sanitizer is effective. Also, while not a must-have, those antibacterial essential oils can make your finished product smell as you bought it in a fancy boutique.  Keep in mind that while essential oils have natural antibacterial and antiviral qualities, they are not a substitute for the alcohol.

Some naturally antibacterial and virus-battling essential oils include:

  • Tea tree
  • Lemon, lime, or grapefruit
  • Lavender
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Peppermint
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove
  • Pine

You can play with combinations of the above, such as lemon and rosemary or lavender and thyme. Who says you can’t fight germs, while smelling great, simultaneously?

Other Supplies:

  • A mixing bowl with pour spout
  • A whisk or blender
  • Squeeze containers
  • A label – this can be as simple as a piece of tape!

When it comes to containers, the squeeze variety is essential for on-the-go activities. The typical size you’ll find is three ounces. If you’re following this recipe without increasing it, you will fill four containers perfectly.

Make Your Sanitizing Gel in Less than Three Minutes.

In your sanitized bowl (or blender), add your alcohol, aloe vera, and antibacterial essential oils if you are using them. Whisk it well to ensure that all ingredients are combined. Visually, you’ll be able to tell when the aloe vera gel has no areas of separation from the alcohol. This will take only about one minute of vigorous whisking.

Once combined, carefully pour your newly prepared hand sanitizing gel into your containers. Lastly, add your labels. You are responsibly ready to go!

How to Make Spray Hand Sanitizer

The WHO developed this spray hand sanitizer recipe; however, it has been adapted by Popular Science to be a more household-friendly proportion. The original method makes gallons, which the average household doesn’t require. However, maybe you want to make it for all your friends, family, and neighbors, or potential buyers if you are selling your home.

This recipe will yield just under eleven ounces.


  • One cup of 99 percent isopropyl alcohol
  • One tablespoon of three percent hydrogen peroxide
  • One teaspoon of 98+ percent vegetable glycerin – this is your moisturizing ingredient and is surprisingly easy to find
  • One-quarter cup of distilled water or water that has been boiled and cooled

Again, making sure your measurements are accurate is essential. That may be the hardest part of this recipe – which is to say, it’s not hard at all.

Other Supplies:

Remember that any supplies you use need to be thoroughly sanitized before making your hand sanitizer.

  • A mixing bowl with pour spout or a container and a funnel – if you don’t have a funnel, you can make one out of tin foil in a pinch
  • A whisk or a blender – a whisk alternative could also be a jar or container with a secure lid
  • Approximately four three-ounce spray bottles
  • A label

This recipe comes just shy of filling four, three-ounce spray bottles. Remember that effectiveness is based on proportions. Resist the urge to add more of anything. 

Make Your Sanitizing Spray in Just a Few Minutes!

Unlike the hand sanitizing gel where you can just throw three ingredients in a bowl, this one has an order you should follow in sequence. First, add your alcohol to your mixing bowl. Next, add your hydrogen peroxide and whisk those two ingredients.

Next, add your glycerin. This is the one ingredient in your recipe that is a thicker component. If you’re using essential oils, you can add them here. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Finally, add and whisk in your distilled or cooled boiled water.

As an alternative to the whisk, you can follow the same directions as above, instead, with a jar. Simply add the ingredients in order, secure the lid, and shake vigorously in between to incorporate.

Now it’s time to fill those spray bottles. Pour carefully into your sterilized containers, secure your tops, and you are good to go.

Fear Not: The Real Estate Market is Still Vibrant

It’s a hard time for everyone, and we’re here to help in any way we can. With options for virtual showings and open houses, REX can create that first impression for selling or buying a home without needing to unnecessarily leave your house.

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