Erika Bragdon is a Certified Essential Oil Coach from the Essential Oil Institute.
Hey thanks for visiting! In light of recent events, I can see why this post is so popular!
Important 2020 Note:
This original natural homemade recipe we shared several years ago was a way to specifically avoid using alcohol – so it is more natural and less drying to the skin for our family. I do not make ANY claims as to how effective it is.
There is a reason why traditional hand sanitizers use alcohol and other ingredients; because those ingredients are more effective at killing germs and there are more studies and research done with those.
I have updated this post to include a more traditional hand sanitizer recipe that uses alcohol for your convenience. You can find that here too.
In a time where traditional hand sanitizer and ingredients like rubbing alcohol are in short supply, I am using the first natural recipe with my family, but it does NOT replace hand washing, avoiding touching the face, etc.
The best way to protect your family is to follow the CDC recommended guidelines.
Here is an excellent video that shows children (and us adults) just how easy it is to spread germs and how basic handwashing does help. My children found this fascinating (and it encouraged my husband to wash his hands more often too!)
Hand sanitizer can be a mom’s best friend in the winter, right? With germs everywhere and kids touching everything all the time, it can be a good defense against illness (though it never replaces good old fashioned hand washing!) But what happens if you just want to make your own?
Did you know you can make homemade hand sanitizer?
I have two recipes for you today – one is a traditional alcohol-based recipe and the other is a more natural, non-alcohol recipe.
It’s much easier to make homemade hand sanitizer than I ever would have imagined, and I think it smells so much better than the store stuff.
Please note that I am not a medical professional and the information presented here is merely for educational purposes and not intended to replace medical advice. I am simply sharing my own family’s experience in the hopes that it might help you too. Check with your doctor or find a qualified aromatherapist if you have questions or concerns.
Also remember that when it comes to essential oils, a little goes a long way. Start with less in the beginning and if you’re not seeing the desired results, you can choose to slowly increase the number of drops.
Alcohol-Based Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe
If you are looking for a more traditional alcohol-based hand sanitizer recipe, you can try this:
For a 4oz bottle:
- 1/3 cup rubbing alcohol (99% is best)
- 2 Tbsp aloe vera gel
- 15 drops essential oils – try lavender for soothing and calming or this Immune Support blend
Add all the ingredients into a glass measuring cup or small bowl, mix well, then pour into an empty bottle.
And that’s all you have to do to make your very own homemade hand sanitizer!
What You’ll Need to Make Homemade Natural Hand “Sanitizer”:
- 1 tbsp Witch Hazel – Use a brand with alcohol for better ‘sanitation’ or if you prefer a gentler, less-drying option, try one without alcohol, like this Thayers witch hazel
- 2 oz Aloe Vera pure 100% gel – I got a 2 oz bottle in the travel section so that I could re-use it and put the handmade natural hand sanitizer in it for my purse or car.
- 10 drops Tea Tree Oil or a blend like Thieves or Immune Strength (I always use Immune Strength as the combination of essential oils are more beneficial than tea tree alone.)
*This makes approximately 2oz
Related Posts: Check out this DIY immune support essential oil roller blend and this Homemade Foaming Hand Soap recipe with immune supporting essential oils.
How to Make Homemade Natural Hand “Sanitizer”:
The first thing I did was to squeeze out all of the aloe vera gel into a small bowl for mixing.
I then added 10 drops of tea tree essential oil. You could also use oil blends such as Thieves or Erika’s favorite Immune Strength blend from Rocky Mountain Oils. (Read more about that on her favorite cold & flu remedies for kids post.)
Then add a tablespoon of witch hazel and stir up your concoction until well blended.
If you want to re-use the aloe vera bottle, then you have to get your mixture back in the bottle – which turns out can be quite messy (but sanitary!).
I found the easiest way was to scoop the sanitizing mixture into a plastic bag, cut out a bit of plastic in the corner, then use it like a frosting bag to squirt it back into the bottle.
Looking for more ways to use essential oils? Check out these posts:
- Homemade Foaming Liquid Hand Soap
- Easy Lavender Goat Milk Soap Recipe
- All Natural Homemade Shampoo for Kids
- All Natural Homemade Cleaner with Castile Soap
- How To Make Wool Dryer Balls
- Natural Homemade Carpet Deodorizer
Carlee C says
I think I would much rather have something like this made from scratch. Sounds like this combination would smell wonderful and it is with minus chemicals!
Danielle K says
How awesome is this! I always worry about the stuff in hand sanitizer from the store. So glad I can now make my own.
Heather Johnson says
I keep hand sanitizer in my purse because my preschooler touches EVERYTHING! I like the idea of making my own.
All over this! I am so happy I discovered this post. I can’t wait to try it and I love that it’s easy and homemade.
wendy d wheeler says
I am having a tough time trying to find the 2 oz empty bottles. (he ones that look like the perel bottles) Where do you find your empty bottles from? I want to make them in the 2 oz sizes.
I re-used the aloe vera bottle – and just removed the label. You can find the smaller Aloe Vera bottles in travel sections.
Is there anything I can use INSTEAD of disgusting tea tree oil? I absolutely cannot stand the smell of it!
I need a totally fragrance-free natural hand sanitizer, as I am highly sensitive to fragrances (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities or MCS).
Can you add another essential oil on top of the tea tree to make it smell nicer? Are there any you would recommend (or not recommend) to compliment the smell?
Yes, absolutely. I now make this with Rocky Mountain Oil’s Immune Strength – it has a lot of immune-supporting essential oils and it smells nice too – this is my affiliate link: http://shrsl.com/22vhb
How come the mixture looks transparent but when i make my own following this recipe its not?
Are you using the exact same ingredients we used? Different brands can make a change.
I’d use a washable funnel instead of a plastic bag. Push with the back of a spoon, and make sure you leave a little space between funnel & bottle, to let the air out of the bottle. I have two funnels about 1″ in diameter, for small bottles. On one, I cut the tip off to leave a wider opening.
That’s a great idea, Karey!
Lisa W says
This is an awesome idea!! With a shortage of hand sanitizer this can make life a little easier! Thank you!
Jen Francois says
Good day, I tried your recipe and it was amazing. I made my own aloe vera gel. Thank you.
Never use such a strong essential oil without a carrier oil!
I never said to use this undiluted!
I cannot find the amounts—specifically how much aloe Vera. Thanks. Could you post just the ingredients and amounts?
Hi Cindy, for a 2oz batch, you’ll need 1 tbsp witch hazel, 10 drops essential oils (like Thieves or Immune Support from Rocky Mountain Oil), and about 2oz aloe vera. Hope that helps! Thanks for reading. 🙂
This is a decent recipe, but the CDC currently recommends sanitizer that has 60% alcohol content or higher. This is because any weaker dilution of alcohol will not kill as much. Also, essential oils are only effective at sanitizing when used full strength! A few drops diluted in solution does not make a big difference.
I just updated the post to clarify and added a second recipe with higher alcohol content. Thanks for reading and your comment!
I thought if you use essential oils they should be placed in a glass bottle instead of plastic. The oils will eat away the plastic.
Most essential oils don’t eat away at plastic, it’s the citrus oils that can cause issues. And even then, in my experience, you typically need to have a high amount of citrus oils in a not very diluted blend and allow it to sit for a time before you see issues with the plastic.
This recipe is very low risk for any eating-away-at-plastic which is why I didn’t mention glass. Also because it’s simpler and cheaper to reuse a plastic bottle we already have on hand.
But of course, if you are more comfortable with glass, by all means, go for it. 🙂
My aloe ended up “ropey” and my mixture was like water….help?
Can you tell me more about the ingredients you used (how much exactly) and what you did? I can try to help you troubleshoot then.
You have to mix the aloe very slowly into the alcohol will whisking very fast.
Where do you buy the aloe gel from?
Amazon but you can find it in most stores.
Unfortunately the brand of aloe vera gel probably contains .01% of actual aloe vera. The rest of the ingredients being Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Gel, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Carbomer 940, Tetra sodium EDTA, DMDM Hydantoin, Diazolidinyl Urea. Althought this recipe seems natural it is not because of the brand of aloe vera gel chosen. Instead we should use pulp from fresh aloe vera to avoid all these chemicals.