When a new pandemic or natural disaster threatens our way of life, humans have a tendency to scramble into stores and clear out the shelves at the slightest hint of a health crisis.
As concern mounts over COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus disease, it’s critical that we stay calm and take the proper precautions to keep the most vulnerable people in our society from catching the virus.
Now that coronavirus appears to have spread into the U.S., the Center for Disease Control [CDC] has urged people to constantly wash their hands with soap or use hand sanitizer to kill germs and thwart the disease.
“If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry,” the CDC states on its coronavirus disease page.
Unfortunately, due to the ensuing panic surrounding coronavirus, hand sanitizer has already become nearly impossible to find both in stores and online. But there’s no need to fret. If you’re worried about keeping your hands clean and germ-free, it’s actually quite easy to make your own DIY hand sanitizer right at home.
So take a deep breath and try to calm down. There’s no need to scour the barren convenience store shelves where hand sanitizer was once bountiful. Making your own homemade hand sanitizer that is just as effective as the store-bought version is surprisingly easy. All you need are a few ingredients, the right supplies and a couple of minutes to spare.
Here’s an easy step-by-step recipe on how to make effective homemade hand sanitizer.
What Do You Need?
Here’s what you need to make your own hand sanitizer.
- 1 cup of 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol (you could also use ethanol or grain alcohol)
- ½ cup aloe vera gel
- Optional: 12 to 15 drops of essential oil (we’d recommended tea tree oil or another antibacterial essential oil)
Note: We recognize that isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera gel are in short supply at these times. Public Goods has released its own aloe vera gel. We’re also looking into ways to offer isopropyl alcohol to our customers in the near future.
- Measuring cup and/or spoons
- Empty container
How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer: A DIY Recipe
Now that we’ve gathered our supplies, it’s time to make our own hand sanitizer. This hand sanitizer recipe is relatively straightforward, but be sure to follow closely to ensure you produce an effective germ-fighting concoction.
Step 1: Prepare the Alcohol
Start by pouring one cup of isopropyl alcohol into a medium or large-sized container, preferably through a pouring spout. Don’t substitute the isopropyl alcohol with other types of alcohol such as methanol or butanol, as they are highly toxic.
Step 2: Add the Aloe Vera Gel
Next, measure out a ½ cup of aloe vera gel and pour it into the container with alcohol. You can use fresh aloe vera plant or store-bought natural aloe vera gel.
When using raw aloe from the plant, the rubbing alcohol will actually act as a preservative, keeping the aloe vera from going bad. However, natural gel from an aloe plant is also thicker than the store-bought variety, making the resulting sanitizer stickier on your hands.
Step 3: Add a Few Drops of Essential Oil
For an extra protective measure and satisfying scent, you may want to consider adding a few drops of essential oil into the mixture. Add between 12 to 15 drops of essential oil, but make sure not to overdo it.
You should use essential oils with antibacterial properties, like tea tree oil or peppermint oil, if you want an extra germ-fighting punch. Or, if you’re seeking out a specific scent, select your favorite type of essential oil and add it to your homemade hand sanitizer.
Step 4: Mix it All Together
To mix the isopropyl alcohol, aloe vera and essential oil droplets into one uniform hand sanitizer gel, you’ll need a whisk for the job. Take a whisk and fully beat all of the ingredients together until the mixture is completely homogeneous.
If you find that the aloe vera is too thick for a whisk to do the job, try a blender. To ensure everything is mixed up and free of clumps, you can even shake the blender.
Our natural aloe vera gel, for example, is a bit denser than the synthetic products you might be used to buying at a drug store chain. So far some of our members have succeeded with a whisk, while others have needed a blender.
Step 5: Pour the Hand Sanitizer Into Your Bottle or Container
Lastly, you’ll need to pour the homemade hand sanitizer into a container or bottle. Make sure the container itself is completely clean before putting the mixture inside of it. You can use leftover isopropyl alcohol to sanitize the bottle. After filling up the container with your homemade hand sanitizer, be sure to add a label to prevent it from being mistaken for something else!
Wait, Will This Homemade Hand Sanitizer Really Work?
Yes. If you make it correctly, that is. Isopropyl alcohol is the active ingredient that serves as a disinfectant. However, it must make up at least 60% of the hand sanitizer to actually be effective, according to the CDC. If you end up using lower percentage alcohol, you’ll need to compensate for that ratio by adding more liquid to the recipe. In turn, this addition could impact the consistency of your hand sanitizer gel.
Including a few drops of tea tree essential oil or another antimicrobial oil, such as eucalyptus or peppermint oil. This inclusion will provide your homemade hand sanitizer with a pleasant aroma and additional protection from germs. We recommend tea tree oil, as there are several studies that demonstrate the antibacterial and antiviral properties of this particular essential oil.
For those with sensitive skin, it might be wise to start with a lesser amount of essential oils. Too much can cause skin irritation.
Remember, as we eagerly wait for the coronavirus to pass, we urge you to remain calm and make the smart decision to keep your immediate family and community safe. Aside from keeping your hand sanitizer close by, be sure to clean your hands as often as possible and keep your distance from other sick people. If you feel sick yourself, stay home and do your best to stop the coronavirus from spreading further.
Download Our Free Guide to Sustainable Living.
From reducing waste to recycling and upcycling, our e-book shows simple ways to make choices you can feel good about.Get Your Free Guide