Hand sanitizer is not as effective as washing your hands but will suffice in situations where hand washing is not possible. Most people are not aware that commercial hand sanitzer uses just three simple ingredients – alcohol, aloe vera gel, and scented oils. You can easily make your own.
Isopropyl alcohol usually comes in two strengths – 70%, 91%, and 99%. All are available at drug stores. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends hand sanitzers contain at least 60% alcohol. This is the concentration of alcohol that store-bought hand sanitzers have. More alcohol is better but is harsher on the hands and tends to dry them out.
The ratio to shoot for in your hand sanitizer recipe is 60% alcohol and 40% aloe vera gel. This means you must use at least 91% alcohol in the recipe below. 91% alcohol will result in a hand sanitizer containing exactly 60% alcohol, the amount recommended by the CDC.
To make your own alcohol-based hand sanitizer:
- Take 2/3 cup 91% (or greater) alcohol
- Take 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
- Add 5-9 teaspoons of essential oil to mask the alcohol scent.
- Mix well
Yes, it’s that easy.
Note: Recipes using Vodka in place of alcohol are not effective since 80-proof vodka contains less than 40% alcohol, far less than recommended.
Note: Do not mix alcohol with liquid soap to make an antiseptic soap. Alcohol changes the soap properties and cause it to not lather properly.