How to Make Hand Sanitizer at Home
There’s not enough hand sanitizer to go around right now and it sucks. The store shelves are empty, and unless you bought in bulk a few weeks ago, you’re probably fresh out like the rest of the country.
We’re all a little stressed and anxious at the moment, but having hand sanitizer is one thing you won’t have to worry about anymore. Below you’ll find quick, easy instructions for making a DIY hand sanitizer in the comfort and safety of your own home—and all it takes is three ingredients.
Reminder: Institutions like the CDC and WHO reiterate that hand sanitizers are not a substitute for washing your hands, which remains the most effective approach to preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
A former CDC doctor specializing in viral disease outbreaks, Dr. Rishi Desai, has stated that the below recipe will kill 99.9% of germs after approximately 60 seconds.
- 3/4 cup rubbing or isopropyl alcohol (go with the 99% strength)
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 10 drops of tea tree or lavender essential oil (lemon juice also works)
It’s important to mention that you should not further dilute this recipe, as the CDC advises 60% alcohol content is the minimum strength needed to kill most germs. Increase the concentration to 70% for disinfectant mixtures.
HOW TO MAKE IT
First thing, thoroughly wash and dry your hands (remember: lather your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing them off).
Then, ensure the tools and surface you plan to use to make your sanitizer are also clean. We recommend disinfecting your countertop or tabletop with a diluted mixture of bleach and water or another disinfectant. Wash dishes and utensils as normal before use.
Finally, mix everything together in a bowl, stirring until the solution is completely mixed (a whisk will help you reach the desired gel consistency faster).
As per the World Health Organization’s recommendation, let your DIY hand sanitizer sit for a minimum of 72 hours once it’s finished. This gives germs and bacteria introduced while you were making the sanitizer time to die. For the same reason, be careful not to touch the mixture at any point during the above process to avoid contamination.
Lastly, don’t forget to clearly label the bottle so there’s no confusion later on.
IMPORTANT NOTES ON HAND SANITIZER
- 60 seconds—don’t forget that number. That’s how long it takes for hand sanitizer to kill most germs. After applying, continue to rub your hands together for at least 60 seconds until the sanitizer evaporates.
- If your hands are visibly dirty, do not rely on hand sanitizers alone. When hands are covered in dirt or grease, hand sanitizer is far less effective. In these cases, wash your hands first, then sanitize.
- Again, hand sanitizers are not a substitute for washing your hands, which is still considered the most effective approach to preventing the spread of disease.