How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer in 5 Steps - Public Goods

25% off is in the bag.

Enter your email for 25% off your first order.

25% off is in the bag.

Enter your email for 25% off your first order.

How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer in 5 Steps

Don’t know where to find hand sanitizer? Don’t panic! Here’s an easy step-by-step recipe on how to make effective homemade hand sanitizer.

bottle of hand sanitizer applied to hands

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.

What Do You Need?

Here’s what you need to make your own hand sanitizer.

whisk, bowl with isopropyl alcohol, essential oil bottle, bowl with aloe vera gel
Shop at Public Goods: Aloe Vera Gel ($6.00), Tea Tree Oil ($7.75)


  • 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
  • Whisk
  • 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

adding 2 cup of isopropyl alcohol to bowl

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

adding half a cup of aloe vera gel to isopropyl alcohol

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

adding essential oil drops to aloe vera and alcohol mixture

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

whisk mixing together isopropyl alcohol, essential oil and aloe vera mixture

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

pouring hand sanitizer into a bottle

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.

Comments (25)

    • Hi Sandra,

      We completely understand that aloe vera is in short supply these days. Public Goods will be releasing our own aloe vera gel in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I would recommend looking for a fresh aloe vera plant and harvesting gel on your own, if possible.

      • The aloe vera gel is just coagulating on the steel whisk. Should I heat it a little on the stove? Using a steel mixing bowl.

        • Use a blender not a whisk and strain the mixture through a strainer or seive,then if you have a light piece of clean chiffon material do a second strain

  • Please stress that the alcohol you use MUST by 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol, and not the more commonly found 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol. Your resulting hand sanitizer would NOT have enough alcohol content to kill viruses if you use the wrong one.

  • First off here is the link to the WHO health care guide to making hand sanitizer.

    In the guide it lists the necessary ingredients as being
    Isopropyl alcohol 99.8% or ethanol 96%
    • Hydrogen peroxide 3%
    • Glycerol 98%
    • Sterile distilled or boiled cold water

    “ Hydrogen peroxide: used to inactivate contaminating bacterial spores in the solution and is not an active substance for hand antisepsis.”

    “ and place the bottles in quarantine for 72 hours before use. This allows time for any spores present in the alcohol or the new/re-used bottles to be destroyed.”

    This solution (237mL/355mL)x100= 66.7% x 0.91%= 60.7% final alcohol strength hand sanitizer.

  • Good info on making hand sanitizer, but perhaps you didn’t realize that the items needed to make it are no where to be found.

    • Natural grocers.. herb and essential oil shops sell the aloe and vegetable glycerin all day long. However you don’t need aloe you can use 100% vegetable glycerin also found at the same stores. The aloe and glycerin are used to stop your skin from drying out from the alcohol but you should see my comment about how this recipe isn’t 100% accurate. Check out my website post on how to make the WHO recipe

      If you are looking for the isopropyl alcohol the go to Walgreens or CVS. I just bought another bottle from CVS yesterday and they still had some left and they re stock from their own warehouses.

    • Hi Mary,

      We do realize that these items are in short supply. However, we wanted to offer our readers an alternative due to the shortage of hand sanitizer. But I do have some good news to share!

      Public Goods will be releasing aloe vera gel in the coming weeks. We’re also looking into ways to offer isopropyl alcohol to our customers in the near future.

  • Hello all;
    Or you can use the DEEB sanitizer/skin softener for less cost and effort. Simply fill a squirt bottle to about 75% capacity with 70% rubbing alcohol, add few drops of baby oil or up to 1/4 tea spoon and one drop of mint essential oil (optional). Close and shake real hard each time you want to sterilize your hands. The oil will remain on the skin to soften it and inhibit any bacteria or virus from living on your skin.
    The alcohol is not diluted so you don’t have to use the expensive 95%. The oil does not mix with alcohol; thus you have to shake it each time you use it. The oil get dispersed into tiny droplets, the alcohol sterilize your hands and the oil droplets prevent your skin from drying out. And, you don’t have to buy the Aloe Vera. If you find your skin drying out, use little more oil, OR, apply some hand lotion
    *** just remember the DEEB formula ***

  • What about distilled aloe?

    “100% Aloe Vera fractionally distilled liquid from aloe vera leaves”

    Some one working at a health food store told me to get it…could I use that in place of aloe gel?

    • Glycerin IS a type of alcohol. a clear, colorless, syrupy liquid, used as a moisturizer because it keeps taking moisture from the air. It will mix easely with alcohol and water.
      Mineral oil helps moiturizing the skin by keeping skin own moisture from evaporating. It is akin to petroleum jelly; neither mix with alchohol or water.
      Read the DEEB sanitizer formula above for info on adding mineral oil to alcohol/water. YES 70% alcohol has water in it (30%).

      Glycerin and mineral oil are two different animals

  • Not sure if this was already stated in earlier comments, but is it possible to have both aloe vera plant gel as well as store bought aloe gel in the same mix with 99% alcohol.?

  • The use of aloe vera in any form in hand sanitizer is to stop alcohol from over drying the skin. Imagin using just plain 70% alcohol to sanitize your hands then follow that by using moisturizing hand cream. It is a good practice but rather less practical to carry two containers on the go.
    The practical side to all this is:
    1. 95% alcohol is expensive and not available because all is sold out.
    It’s use is needed because adding aloe gel to it will dilute the alcohol content of the 95%.
    2. Aloe Vera gel is, also, hard to come by due to the great demand.
    3. 60% alcohol is needed to be effective in sanitizing your hands, but it is not sold in this concentration.

    To be practical: use the 70% alcohol plain, follow it by using hand cream of your choice. OR add little baby oil to it, say to 4 oz of alcohol add 1/4 tsp of oil (also called mineral oil)
    The two do not mix, oil will float on top. But if you shake the container several time before you squirt some on your hand, you will end up with both; a sanitizer and a skin softener. Your hands will be “As soft as a baby bottom”.

    Stay safe

  • I have used this alcohol/baby oil mixture as an after shave lotion for several years. Now it is my hand sanitizer. Soon it will also be my forearms sanitizer when the warm weather will allow me to wear short sleeve shirt.

  • What is the exact amounts needed when I have these ingredients 99% isopropyl alcohol 3% hydrogen peroxide aloe Vera Gel 99%and tea tree essential oil ?? I’m confused on each amount. I want to add the peroxide for the sanitation property of the bottles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *