How to Make Natural Hand Sanitizer

I’m not a fan of commercial hand sanitizers (no surprises there!). This may sound a little strange but I’m not one to use antibacterial soaps, sprays, or strong cleaners at home because I’m a firm believer that having a little bacteria around is a good thing (particularly for immunity!).

But since the rise of COVID-19, almost anything and everything you touch has been soaked in antibacterial sprays, not to mention our constant hand sanitizing and washing every 20 minutes or so (don’t worry, I’ve become one of those people lately, for the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long I’ve started to really become aware of the germs on my hands, and actively try to avoid touching my face all the time).

But, rather than use commercial hand sanitizers (which contain chemicals like triclosan, a common ingredient found in antibacterial soaps and sanitizers, that has the ability to disrupt hormones and contribute to a rise in resistant strains of bacteria), I’ve developed my own natural (but still strong) hand sanitizer at home which works just as well, minus the chemicals!

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Homemade hand sanitiser made with all natural ingredients!

What’s more, it’s a great alternative if you’re someone (like most of the population at the moment) who is likely having a tough time finding ANY sanitizer at a store or online right now. Due to the rapid spread of coronavirus, most retailers can’t keep up with the demand for hand sanitizer. So, you’re ahead of the curb making your own as you’ll have a constant supply coming through, and all it requires are a few natural ingredients.

So, with this virus season upon us, I am being a little more proactive than usual, and have been taking some small precautionary measures to help keep myself and my family well. Here are my go-to hand sanitizer recipes (which I discovered from Wellness Mama and DIY Natural! Thanks guys!!)

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A natural way to keep hands clean and germ-free.

Why We Should Reconsider the Hand Sanitizer

Thanks to my own and my family’s generally strong immune systems, we never used to really worry about germs, and even still, in this COVID-19 era, will only tend to use this hand sanitizer when we can’t wash our hands or are especially concerned about exposure to harmful bacteria (say if we’ve been out and about – we rarely use it if we’re just at home).

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Made with aloe vera, rubbing alcohol, and essential oils.

I can understand the appeal of killing “99% of germs and bacteria” when you have your family’s’ health in mind, and illness for one usually means illness for all. However, I thought I’d share just a little on why using soaps, wipes, and cleaners labelled “antibacterial” may not be the best choice (just so you have a greater understanding on what you’re putting on your body).

  • Reason #1: Washing your hands regularly might be just as effective and should be a first line of defence. It has been advised that washing with warm water and soap for at least 30 seconds is just (if not more) important as simply just using sanitizers. They still have their place but ensure you wash your hands as well!
  • Reason #2: Exposure to different types of bacteria, especially in earlier life in children, helps kids’ immune systems to develop. Some evidence has shown that kids who grow up in an environment that is overly sterile have higher rates of allergies and asthma compared to children who don’t use antibacterial products as often.
  • Reason #3: Triclosan, the chemical I mentioned before that’s often found in antibacterial soaps has been shown to be a hormone disruptor, particularly in children. What’s more, when this chemical comes into contact with chlorine in the water, it can form chloroform gas.
  • Reason #4: While it may be true that 99.9% of germs are killed by antibacterial products, what happens to that .1%? This is where it has the potential to become harmful (since it can cause resistance of antibacterial agents later on in those bacteria). This small percentage of bacteria that survive then go on to breed and pass on their antibiotic resistance to their offspring, creating “super bugs” that resist antibiotic use.

Now, just so we’re on the same page, I’m not saying shun the sterilizers and soaps completely. I just want us as a population to be more conscious of what we put on our bodies, and how often we use products like antibacterials (and whether it’s necessary to use them in those situations, or would plain soap and water be just as effective?) It’s all about making mindful decisions.

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Many commercial antibacterial products use chemical antibacterial agents to keep bacteria away, which is not good for your body. 

In my household, we focus on eating a nourishing whole food diet with plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and fermented foods and drinks (for the good bacteria they provide), as well as reducing our sugar intake, to ensure we keep our immune systems strong. Also, encouraging kids to play outside in the sun (for vitamin D intake) and in the dirt can ensure they’re receiving healthy bacteria from soil microbiome.

Homemade Natural Hand Sanitizer Recipe

Here are my go-to hand sanitizer recipes I make for my family and myself. I’ve listed them from strongest to gentlest (for times when you don’t need a super strong hand sanitizer to do the job). Also, the most gentlest hand sanitizer recipe can be used on kids, while the other two I would advise not to (they’re too strong for little ones).

hand sanitizer

You can adjust and change the ingredients to make it stronger or gentler on hands.

Rather than using chemical-filled bacterial agents, I use essential oils that help inhibit bacteria naturally (just ensure you choose ones that are safe for use on children if you’re making sanitizer to use on them). An important note to keep in mind is that the gentler hand sanitizers are more like waterless soaps than proper hand sanitizer. It is said that a product must be at least 60% alcohol to be a hand sanitizer and only the first recipe really achieves that percentage.

Super Strong Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe

  • 2/3 cup rubbing alcohol (70% or higher)
  • 2 tbsp aloe vera (or glycerine can be used as a substitute if unable to find aloe vera)
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 30 drops tea tree oil
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil (optional)

Instructions:

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a spray bottle or small bottle of any kind. Use as needed.

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Finished and ready to use! Pop sanitizer in squeezy bottles like this for easy application.

Strong Hand Sanitizer Recipe

Not to use on kids!

  • 1 TBSP rubbing alcohol (70% or higher)
  • 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerine (optional)
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 5-10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 20-30 drops tea tree oil
  • 1 TBSP distilled water
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin E oil (optional)

Instructions: 

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and pour into a spray bottle or small bottle of any kind. Use as needed.

Kid-Safe Hand Sanitizer Recipe

  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

Instructions: 

Mix all ingredients and store in a reusable silicone tube. Use as needed. Always test a small amount of sanitizer on a tiny bit of your child’s skin before use to make sure there are no adverse reactions.

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I hope you like it!! It’s a great natural way to keep your hands clean.

Keep in mind that you should adjust the recipe depending on the strength of the alcohol you’re using. For instance, if you’re using 99% Isopropyl rubbing alcohol, you’ll need a different amount of aloe vera than say if you were using 70% alcohol. Here are some guidelines I found from Wellness Mama:

Option 1 with 99% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol:
2 parts alcohol
1 part aloe vera gel
(For example: 2/3 cup alcohol + 1/3 cup aloe vera gel)

Option 2 with 70% Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol:
9 parts alcohol
1 part aloe vera gel
(For example: 90 mL or 3 ounces of alcohol + 10 mL or 2 tsp of aloe vera gel)

Option 3 with 91% Isopropyl or Rubbing Alcohol:
3 parts alcohol
1 part aloe vera gel
(For example: 3/4 cup alcohol + 1/4 cup aloe vera gel)

Notes

  • Always check with a doctor or healthcare provider before using essential oils, especially on children or if you have a medical condition.
  • Using fresh aloe vera gel isn’t advisable for storage on counter; a commercial brand is recommended.

I hope you like them! XO

If you’d like a little live run-through of how I make this hand sanitizer, see my video below for a quick demonstration.

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Have you made your own sanitizer before? How did it go?! Share the recipe with us below! It’s great getting new ideas.

Lots of love,

🖤 Vanessa

Sources:

Wells, Katie. (March 10, 2020). How to Make Natural Homemade Hand Sanitizer. Wellness Mama. Retrieved from https://wellnessmama.com/281/homemade-hand-sanitizer/

Jabs, Betsy. How To Make Natural Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer. DIY Natural. Retrieved from https://www.diynatural.com/homemade-hand-sanitizer/

Lindberg, Sara. (March 13, 2020). How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer. Healthline. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-make-hand-sanitizer?fbclid=IwAR1lGJ5ZyGlihZfNVKbrq0D7A-6XpGiTi4cNh8U_Of_nrOVjMM2Do3Yrt6U