With the spread of COVID-19 all around the world, many products have simply flown off the shelves. The list includes random items, like Nintendo Switches and dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, to hygiene essentials like toilet paper, and of course, hand sanitizer

Are you having a hard time finding hand sanitizer at stores? You can make your own at home instead! DIY hand sanitizers may not be as fancy as the store-bought variety, but they can get the job done when you’re in a pinch.  

Use any of the following to make your own hand sanitizer at home:

  • Aloe vera
  • Sea salt
  • Witch hazel
  • Glycerin
  • White vinegar

Aloe Vera

You can make sweet-smelling hand sanitizers with aloe vera and a few drops of essential oil. This is great DIY project if you want something that’s not only effective, but also fragrant.

What you’ll need:

  • Aloe vera
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Essential oils in any scent of your choice
  • Measuring cup
  • Bowl
  • Tablespoon
  • Empty container

Here’s how to make your own hand sanitizer using aloe vera:

Step One:  Mix Aloe Vera & Alcohol

In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of aloe vera and 1 tablespoon of isopropyl alcohol. Be sure to mix thoroughly so it’s all blended together.

Step Two: Add Drops of Essential Oil

Choose your favorite essential oil and add about 8 to 10 drops into your mixture from step one. Note, you can also skip this step if you want an unscented hand sanitizer.

These are the best essential oils for making homemade hand sanitizer:

  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Tea tree
  • Lemon
  • Eucalyptus
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Sweet orange

Step Three:  Mix All the Ingredients Together

Now that you’ve added in the essential oil, the next step is mixing it in with the aloe vera and isopropyl alcohol. Take a whiff and add more drops of essential oil until you get your desired fragrance.

Step Four:  Pour the Sanitizer

Pour the mixture into a travel-sized bottle. Look for a container with a pump for the easiest access to your sanitizer.

Step Five:  Use the Sanitizer

Your scented sanitizer is ready to go! Make sure you have it with you whenever you go to germy places like public restrooms or airports.

Sea Salt

For those who love to cook, you may have used sea salt in a few recipes in the past. This seasoning also happens to be a great ingredient when it come to making DIY sanitizers.

What you’ll need:

  • Sea salt
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Distilled water
  • Essential oils in any scent of your choice
  • Spray bottle
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Cooking pot with lid

Here’s how to make your own hand sanitizer using sea salt:

Step One:  Mix Sea Salt & Alcohol

Start by mixing a ½ teaspoon of sea salt and 1 tablespoon of isopropyl alcohol into a clean, previously unused spray bottle.

Step Two:  Add Drops of Essential Oil

Add about 8 to 10 drops of essential oil into the mixture from step one. Use any scent you’d like, mix-and-match for a unique fragrance, or skip this step altogether if you want an unscented sanitizer.

Step Three:  Distill the Water

The next step is to distill your water. You will do this by filling a pot partially full of water and bringing it to a boil. Next, you’ll want to turn the pot’s lid upside down on the top. Throw in a couple of ice cubes on top of the lid and the melted water that forms is your distilled water.  

Step Four:  Pour in the Distilled Water

Add the distilled water to your mixture. Start by pouring about a ¼ cup of the water into your spray bottle, and add more if you feel as though the sanitizer is still too thick or strong.

Step Five:   Use the Sanitizer

Once your homemade sea salt sanitizer is ready to go, you’ll want to make sure you keep it stored in a cool, dry area. Use this sanitizer whenever you need to sanitize a surface like a table or doorknob. 

Witch Hazel

Witch hazel is a plant that has healing properties. It’s a great ingredient to seek out if you’re looking for a fragrant sanitizer that’s made with a mix of alcohol and natural, organic ingredients.

What you’ll need:

  • Witch hazel
  • Aloe vera
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Essential oils in any scent of your choice
  • Tablespoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Bowl
  • Empty container

Here’s how to make your own hand sanitizer using witch hazel:

Step One:  Mix the Ingredients

Mix a ½ cup of aloe vera, 2 tablespoons of witch hazel, and ½ cup of isopropyl alcohol in a bowl. Witch hazel works great as a disinfectant and works just as well as rubbing alcohol.

In fact, you could technically leave the alcohol out of the mixture, but keep in mind that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.

Step Two:  Add Drops of Essential Oil

Choose your favorite essential oil and add 8 to 10 drops into the mixture. Many recipes recommend using sage, thyme, or tree oil as they pair nicely with the witch hazel.

Step Three:  Pour it In a Spray Bottle or Container

The next step is transferring your mixture into an empty container, preferably one with a pump.

Step Four:  Enjoy Your Sanitizer

Your sanitizer is now ready to go! Keep it right by your front door so you can use it every time you come home, or leave a few bottles at your desk so you stay germ-free at the workplace.

Glycerin

Do you love cosmetics and beauty supplies? If so, you probably contain at least one product that contains glycerin. You can get this ingredient over-the-counter on Amazon or at certain retail stores.

What you’ll need:

  • Glycerin
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Distilled water
  • Essential oil in any scent of your choice
  • Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Measuring spoons
  • Measuring cup
  • Cooking pot with a lid
  • Plastic storage jug
  • Funnel
  • Empty containers

Here’s how to make your own hand sanitizer using glycerin:

Step One: Mix the Ingredients

Measure out 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol, 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, and 1 teaspoon of glycerin. Mix it together in a bowl using a spatula.

Optional: If you want the sanitizer to be extra soothing, add ¼ cup of aloe vera gel into the mixture.

Step Two:  Add Drops of Essential Oil

Get ready to make your sanitizer smell amazing! Choose your favorite essential oil and sprinkle in 8 to 10 drops. You can add more if you are going for a particular aroma, or skip this step if you don’t want a fragrance.

Step Three:  Add Distilled Water

Add about ½ cup of distilled water to the mixture. Glycerin is a bit sticky, so you need the water to make it less thick. You can distill the water by bringing a pot to a boil and adding a lid upside down on top of the pot. Put ice cubes on the lid and wait for them to melt and then use that as the distilled water.

Step Four:  Pour the Mixture Into an Empty Jug

Now that your sanitizer is ready, transfer it to an empty jug for storage and leave it alone for 72 hours. You can use an empty water jug, or get a separate one specifically for your sanitizer.

Step Five:  Pour Into Individual Containers

After 72 hours, use a funnel to pour the sanitizer from the jug into empty containers. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that you wait the full 72 hours before you use the sanitizer so that any contaminants found in the jug can be killed prior to use.

Step Six:  Sanitize Your Hands

The glycerin hand sanitizer is good to go! Keep the individual containers in an easy-to-reach area and refill them from the jug every time you need more.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner that can kill a high percentage of bacteria. This ingredient is good for making not only bottled sanitizer, but also disinfecting wipes.

What you’ll need:

  • White vinegar
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Water
  • Essential oil in any scent of your choice
  • Tablespoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Spray bottle

Here’s how to make your own hand sanitizer using white vinegar:

Step One:  Mix the Ingredients

In a clean spray bottle, mix together 2 tablespoons of white vinegar, ¼ cup of isopropyl alcohol, and 6 ounces of distilled water. If you’re not sure how to distill water, see Step Three under “Sea Salt” or “Glycerin.”

Step Two:  Add Drops of Essential Oil

Sprinkle in 8 to 10 drops of essential oil into your mixture. You can add more if you want the sanitizer to be very aromatic, or less if you just want a light scent. Many white vinegar sanitizer recipes recommend using lavender, tea tree, or lemongrass.

Step Three:  Shake the Bottle

Once you’ve got all the ingredients in the bottle, give it a good shake to really mix it up!

Step Four:  Spray Away

Your sanitizer is all set! Feel free to spray it on your furniture to keep germs at bay, or spray it directly on a washcloth or towel to create a makeshift wet wipe.

Do Homemade Hand Sanitizers Work?

According to Dr. David B. Agus, a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, “Homemade hand sanitizers are just as effective as what you buy as long as you use the right percentage of alcohol.”

Whether you use aloe vera, sea salt, witch hazel, or some other ingredient to make your sanitizers, you should use at least 60% alcohol in order for them to work effectively. Luckily, you can buy isopropyl alcohol over the counter at most retail stores!

Final Thoughts

The recipes featured above are all super easy to make and excellent at sanitizing! Be sure to use alcohol for the best results and have a few essential oils nearby if you want a pleasant fragrance.

You don’t need a background in medicine to make these right in your kitchen, which is important during times when the spread of viruses is particularly rampant. Get going on your homemade sanitizers and stay safe out there!

References

Achwal, A. (2019, January 8). Fight Germs On the Go with These Easy DIY Hand Sanitsers. Retrieved from, https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/fight-germs-on-the-go-with-these-easy-diy-hand-sanitizers/

Lewis, S. (2020, March 12). Hand Sanitizer Spray with Essential Oils. Retrieved from, https://oneessentialcommunity.com/diy-hand-sanitizer-spray-essential-oils/

Helmenstine, A. (2020, April 2). How to Make Distilled Water at Home or While Camping. Retrieved from, https://www.thoughtco.com/making-distilled-water-609427

Listotic. (2020, March 19). Delicious Smelling Essential Oil Hand Sanitizer Recipe. Retrieved from, https://listotic.com/delicious-smelling-essential-oil-hand-sanitizer-recipe/

Wilson, K. Easy DIY Hand Sanitizer with Simple Ingredients. Retrieved from, https://safety.lovetoknow.com/household-safety-tips/easy-diy-hand-sanitizer-simple-ingredients

Figueroa, J. (2020, March 5). DIY: How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer. Retrieved from, https://blog.smallflower.com/diy-how-to-make-your-own-hand-sanitizer/

Gutierrez, S. (2020, April 22). How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer and Help Fight COVID-19. Retrieved from, https://www.popsci.com/story/diy/diy-hand-sanitizer/

Beacon Mercantile. #DIY Natural Hand Sanitizer, Counter Spray, & Disinfecting Hand Wash. Retrieved from, https://beaconmercantile.com/blogs/news/diy-hand-sanitizer-counter-spray

Cerullo, M. (2020, April 3). Can’t Get Your Hands on Hand Sanitizer? Make Your Own. Retrieved from, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hand-sanitizer-coronavirus-make-your-own/

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.