Antibacterial hand sanitizers are usually easy to get at your local health food store or online. But in case they’re sold out (or you don’t feel like going shopping), DIY hand sanitizers are a good alternative. Here’s how to make an essential oils hand sanitizer at home.
A DIY hand sanitizer do not cost a lot to make. Especially if you make some in bulk to stash in your purses or backpacks. You can save money while still getting the best hand sanitizer for your needs.
IMPORTANT: Please know that nothing homemade can be truly called a “sanitizer”. I’ve used this word solely for clarity purposes to the reader. Only commercial grade products can truly be called a sanitizer. In the U.S., Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certification is required any time a manufacturer claims sanitizing properties ¹.
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Best Essential Oil for Hand Sanitizer
Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia) has been tested in clinical studies to kill most types of bacteria at a concentration of 1% or less. I recommend that your homemade hand purifier makes use of it. Tea tree is the best essential oil for your hand sanitizer recipe.
It’s an easy essential oil to get, and fairly inexpensive. If you have a starter kit at home, chances are you already have it in your home.
Almost all hand sanitizers contain antibacterial ingredients like a sort of alcohol.
The World Health Organization recommends alcohol-based hand rubs as a quick means to “effectively inactivate a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands” ².
There are two types of alcohol: ethyl alcohol (plant based), and isopropyl (chemical based). When it comes to disinfectant properties, research shows that the two alcohols are the same ³.
This same study also reveals that ethanol tends to dry out skin more than isopropyl alcohol. The preference for skin applications is isopropyl alcohol. Ethanol is the kind of alcohol you’d drink, so it is also found in grain alcohol like Everclear. Isopropyl alcohol is chemically produced, medical grade alcohol and found in products that go by the same name.
How to Make Hand Sanitizer with Essential Oils
There are many great reasons to use a homemade hand sanitizer. The ingredients are pretty easy to get. Pleas make sure to use pure essential oils to ensure maximum potency. Fake essential oils, or stretched ones, will not have the desired effect. In my recipe, I have used USDA certified organic essential oils from Rocky Mountain Oils.
Make as much of this recipe ahead of time as you can. It’ll save you having to run back to the store for more. The alcohol in the recipe will keep the ingredients fresh. And there is no water so there will be no bacterial growth or other deteriorating of your homemade product.
- Small squeeze bottles (like these ones here)
- 1 oz Aloe Vera gel (like this one here)
- 3 oz of at least 90% alcohol. Use Isopropyl rubbing alcohol or Everclear grain alcohol.
- 20 drops Tea Tree essential oil
- 14 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 12 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
- Get a few simple squeeze bottles with an easy-to-open cap.
- Combine alcohol and aloe vera gel in a glass bowl and swirl to mix.
- Add 14 drops Peppermint, 12 drops Sweet Orange, and 20 drops Tea Tree essential oils.
- Shake well to combine.
- Use as needed.
Not only will your hands smell nice, they’ll also be disinfected without the use of harsh chemicals.
If you wish to alter the essential oils used in this recipe, I can recommend the following substitutions:
- 15 drops of Plant Therapy’s Germ Destroyer blend (it’s Kid Safe), plus 20 drops Tea tree. Great if you have little kids around or are going through the cold and flu season.
- 15 drops of Rocky Mountain Oils’ Immune Strength blend, plus 20 drops Tea tree. Great if you wish to strengthen your immune system while keeping your hands clean.
- 35 – 40 drops of Young Living Thieves® or Alternative “Thieves” Blends.
- If you don’t have Sweet Orange at home, you can also use Lemon essential oil.
Because this recipe uses a lot of alcohol, please use this homemade hand sanitizer sparingly. Alcohol can dry out the skin, leaving it susceptible to damage and cracking. If you can, take extra care of the skin on your hands with a natural hand cream. Lotion as frequently as you sanitize.
Also, alcohol is flammable. Please keep it out of reach of the stove, microwave, candles, and similar. Also keep it away from children to avoid accidental ingestion.
Making hand sanitizer is quick and easy. Keep plenty of these bottles around, so you can stash them everywhere you may need them: in the car, by your computer keyboard, or in your purse.
If you’re looking for an easy hand sanitizer base, have a look at Edens Garden’s unscented hand sanitizer spray. You can use it as-is, or add your essential oils recipe into it for an easy, personalized way to sanitize.