Words: Danielle Williams
Photo Credit: The Natural Home Issue
Common cleaning supplies have become harder to find and purchase at reasonable prices, including hand sanitizer. Manufacturers are doing their best to restock these goods, but in the meantime, we can learn to make our own supplies. Hand sanitizer is easy to make at home and can be effective at eradicating certain germs, as long as you follow a few specific guidelines. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hand sanitizer must contain at least 60% alcohol. And if you’re including ingredients like aloe vera gel or essential oils, those additions will dilute the alcohol. We recommend using 99% isopropyl or rubbing alcohol; you can also use grain alcohol with high alcohol content. Avoid using other types of alcohol, which can be toxic if used incorrectly.
Our friend Kari Peters shared her homemade hand sanitizer recipe with us in The Natural Home Issue of Willow and Sage, and below I’m giving you a peek at an adapted version of her recipe. To see more, check out the issue or follow along with Kari on Instagram (@get.inspired.everyday). And don’t forget to check out our upcoming Autumn 2020 Issue, where my colleague Johanna Love will unpack the ins and outs of hand sanitizer with more detail.
-1 part aloe vera gel
-2 parts isopropyl alcohol/grain alcohol: high alcohol percentage
-15 drops lemon essential oil
-15 drops lavender essential oil
-15–30 drops tea tree essential oil
Combine all the ingredients together. You can do this by using a funnel to pour them directly into the squeeze bottle, or mix them together in a small bowl and carefully pour them into the container with a funnel. If you’re using a clear container, be sure to store it in a dark place to help preserve the properties of the essential oils. Essential oils can separate over time, so shake the hand sanitizer before each use. This sanitizer will be runnier than commercial options and
might look slightly different than the picture.
If you have any questions or concerns about essential oil safety, always contact your medical professional for more information.
A Word of Caution:
-Hand sanitizer recipes are intended for use by professionals with the necessary resources and expertise for safe creation.
-Only use homemade hand sanitizers in extreme situations when handwashing isn’t available.
-Don’t use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin, as they may be more prone to improper use, which can lead to a greater risk of injury.
-According to the CDC, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that meets the minimum alcohol volume requirement can reduce the number of microbes on your hands. Even the best hand sanitizers, however, have limits and don’t eradicate all types of germs. For example, hand sanitizers won’t get rid of potentially harmful chemicals, according to the CDC. It’s also not effective at killing the following germs: norovirus; Cryptosporidium, which causes cryptosporidiosis; Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff.
Please refer to these Safety Tips when making natural products at home:
Danielle Williams is the assistant senior managing editor for Stampington & Company. She lives in Costa Mesa, California, with her husband, Casey, and opinionated cat, Holly Golightly.