DIY Hand Sanitizer

Never buy store-bought hand sanitizer again! A super easy recipe for hand sanitizer that actually leaves your skin clean and moisturized.

There are few issues that stir up a group of “crunchy” (naturally-minded, real-foodie, homemade) ladies as much as hand sanitizer.

Okay, maybe vaccines. But, we’re not going there. Let’s stick with dirty hands and the clear liquid found in millions of purses and classrooms across America.

Before kids I had a “thing” (me and my “things”) against dirt, but oh my, how things changed once my first baby entered the picture. Suddenly messes and dirt (and other unmentionables) stuck to my hair, clothes, skin, and house like cheese on a good grass-fed burger. The need to embrace dirt (not being dirty, just a few extra clingy good germs) became apparent.

Here’s the funny thing about dirt: the more I embraced it, the less we got sick. I’m sure a good diet also helped, along with natural preventives such as: probiotic kombucha, elderberry syrup, and homemade chicken broth.

Now, please hear me out. I’m not talking about smothering our bodies in buckets of dirt and rubbing our hands on every public grocery cart in the store. Please don’t do that! Instead, let’s avoid the constant urge to sanitize our living conditions with millions of toxins in a state of paranoia. Cleaning is good, very good! But a little bit of healthy dirt (allowing our kids to run around outside, garden, and get dirty every now and then) is wonderful for the immune system.

Never buy store-bought hand sanitizer again! A super easy recipe for hand sanitizer that actually leaves your skin clean and moisturized.

Before we throw away our soap and hand sanitizer (actually, yes, do that; homemade alternatives are so much better), I would like to tell you that I believe in cleanliness. I believe a good liquid hand soap is important to stock in the kitchen and bathroom, laundry soap has its rightful place, and body wash is mommy magic.  I also believe hand sanitizer has a time and place: after handling money or touching the never washed grocery store carts.

Never buy store-bought hand sanitizer again! A super easy recipe for hand sanitizer that actually leaves your skin clean and moisturized.

For those times when good ol’ soap and water just aren’t available, and hands needs to be washed, I keep a homemade hand sanitizer in my purse, made with a few simple ingredients.

Never buy store-bought hand sanitizer again! A super easy recipe for hand sanitizer that actually leaves your skin clean and moisturized.

Let’s embrace the germs, but also the clean, naturally. I promise it can be done. There’s a balance to everything and this my friend is my crunchy answer to balancing clean and dirty.

homemade DIY hand sanitizer
5 from 1 vote
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Hand Sanitizer

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. To use the hand sanitizer store in a small jar or a squeeze tube (like this). I also use these tubes for homemade toothpaste. Note: This recipe will make 2 fl oz (one tube.)

As always, the “where to buy” links are the ingredients I personally use to make hand sanitizer. Feel free to use the ingredients you trust and love.

This recipe is inspired by countless recipes across the web, which I’ve adapted to make a recipe that works for our family. We’ve been using this hand sanitizer for nearly a year now and have found that it has a long shelf-life of 12 months.

Never buy store-bought hand sanitizer again! A super easy recipe for hand sanitizer that actually leaves your skin clean and moisturized.

 More DIYs You May Like:

DIY homemade liquid hand soap

 DIY Liquid Hand Soap

DIYnatural floor cleaner wipes homemade swiffer

 DIY Natural Floor Cleaner Wipes 

DIY Reusable and Disinfecting Cleaning Cloths

DIY Cleaner Wipes 



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PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


51 Comments

  • Sara says:

    In addition to nasty chemicals in store-bought brands there is also the issue of overuse–folks keeping everything sanitized allowing no exposure to germs. I assume you can do the same with natural ingredients. Hyper-clean OCD-style germ destruction can be the same with EOs as it is with chemicals, right? You’re avoiding the propylene glycol and the FD&C Blue No. 1 but you’re still not giving your body the chance to meet the germs that will help you become stronger. I’m not sure I’m explaining this very well. What do you think?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Sara, I totally agree. I hope I represented my belief well in the post :).

    • Teri says:

      I have read that lavender can cause problems for boys, messing with their endocrine system and inhibiting proper development. Do you know anything about this?

      • Ashley says:

        This revolves around a test regarding synthetic lavender oils (Such as what you would find in a bedtime wash off a walmart shelf or a lavender oil from a health food store. You get what you pay for ALWAYS. ) and does not apply to 100% pure essential oils. Know your farmer, Know your distiller, Know their quality standards.

        • Kristin Marr says:

          Hey Ashley, Thank you for sharing. It’s always good to know where your products are coming from. Thankfully, there are a number of very reputable essential oil companies out there, including a couple from the health food store.

  • Erica says:

    I made this this afternoon and my hands feel so soft! However, I really struggled to get the gel into my squeeze container. Maybe this is just a novice problem and a stupid question, but I ended up wasting some of my precious essential oils (although I must say, my countertops smell very nice now!). I tried piping it through a ziploc with a hole cut in the corner, but it wasn’t ideal. Suggestions?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Erica, I’m so glad you’re hands feel soft! I’m sorry you lost some oils. Are you using the tubes? If so, I use a funnel to pour the hand sanitizer into the tube. I hope that helps :). I usually get a bit more than a dime size amount (more like the size of a nickel) when I squeeze the tube (once sealed and ready to use), so I just share the love with the kids :).

  • Linda R says:

    Thanks so much for all your great information and “recipes”.

    I’ve seen recommendations that when buying commerical hand sanitizer that it have 60% alchol at a minimum. Do you know how much alcohol is in witch hazel? In other words, would this (really good sounding formula!) have enough to be truly effective? Thanks!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Linda,

      You’re welcome :).

      The main ingredient in store-bought hand sanitizer is water (along with alcohol, aloe vera, and other ingredients.) The witch hazel doesn’t contain as much alcohol as a pure alcohol does, but it’s still highly effective, particularly when paired with the tea tree and lavender. You can also use rubbing alcohol or even vodka, just reduce the amount by a tablespoon because it’s a bit more harsh on the skin.

  • Kristine says:

    I am slightly allergic to lavender. Would I be able to substitute the lavender essential oil for a different scent?

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Kristine, I would use something like orange essential oil if you have it or you could just add a few more drops of tea tree. The lavender is more for the beneficial properties than scent, but those two oils can be substituted.

      • Scoobie says:

        I would be careful with adding any Citrus Essential Oils. Citrus EOs are photo-sensitive; which mean they can cause burns when exposed to direct sun light.
        Some EOs like Lime can be safe to use depending on how they are produced.

        • Kristin Marr says:

          Hey Scoobie, The only two oils needed for this recipe are: lavender and tea tree. So you won’t need any citrus oils. 🙂

          • ashley jane tojoy says:

            is their another cheaper and easy-to-find materials/ingredients to use?
            oh,and i’m planning to use this as our investigatory project in science

          • Kristin Marr says:

            Hey Ashley Jane Tojoy,

            I can’t recommend different ingredients in this particular recipe as I haven’t experimented with any other ingredients. The best option may be to pick up the majority of the ingredients from a CVS or Walgreens. And then find a local store or Amazon for the essential oils. That would probably be the cheapest way to make this recipe.

  • Christina says:

    Hi, what is the benefit to using essential oils in this sanitizer? I have a sensitivity to most smells and would prefer them not to be on my hands for hours…could I leave out all essential oils and have this still be an effective germ killer?

  • Ariana says:

    Can tea tree oil be subbed for the tea tree essential oil? Is there a difference? Thanks.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Ariana, I would stick with tea tree essential oil. They may be the same depending on the brand as some just say “tea tree oil.” I would double check on the ingredient list to make sure the only ingredient is tea tree oil.

  • rosa says:

    Hi :3 i have a question, can i change the witch hazel for rose water?

  • Jo says:

    I made this sanitizer and love it! I am wondering however if it has to be refrigerated as the aloe Vera gel bottle says to refrigerate after opening. I mainly keep the sanitizer in my diaper bag and I know I will forget to grab it from the fridge and hence not have it when needed. Any info you can share on this would be great.

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Jo,

      Most homemade hand sanitizers are used fairly quickly (a few weeks to a month), so I don’t refrigerate my hand sanitizer, but the leftover aloe vera should be stored in the fridge for long-term use. If you plan on making enough hand sanitizer to last long-term, I would store the extra in the fridge until needed. Hope that helps :). Aloe vera is a plant and can be used a dietary supplement which is why most pure aloe vera brands recommend the refrigerator for storage (in my opinion and experience).

  • Jones says:

    Hi, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for, so thanks. 🙂 I am wondering how you determined the dilution rate for the essential oils? Every chart I can find shows 24 drops of EO per 2 ounces of carrier is more like a 2% dilution. Which I’m fine with; just wondering.

    Also, what do you think of f subbing 1 Tbs of vegetable glycerin for one of the Tbsps of aloe? More softening, or more sticky?

    Thanks!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Jones, I used a basic dilution chart, but also catered the recipe toward our scent preferences. You’re welcome to add more or less of the essential oils, if desired and based on the 2% dilution. Adding more glycerin may cause the hand sanitizer to be runny, but that’s just my initial thought…I haven’t tried making the substitution. If you try it, let me know how it goes.

      • Jones says:

        Hi Kristin, thanks for the update. I guess I was confused because the instructions said “based on .5% dilution.” Anyway, I did try adding glycerin. Initially I used 2 Tbsp Aloe gel, 1 Tbsp glycerin & 1 Tbsp alcohol (instead of witch hazel), and you’re right, it was runnier. Interestingly, and unlike the original batch, there was room in the container for an additional Tbsp. of Aloe, so I added more. It’s full to the top, but it solved the runniness issue. 🙂 That said, I’m not so sure I like the feel of it as well as the batch without glycerin. It’s doesn’t leave my hands feeling sticky, exactly, but something. Thanks again, this is a great recipe and I see a number of others on your site that I’m looking forward to trying.

        • Kristin Marr says:

          No problem, Jones :). I apologize for the confusion. Thanks for sharing your experiment…it’s always fascinating how one or two little tweaks can change a recipe.

  • Jeanna Craft says:

    thank you for this recipe! I made it tonight. Works great! Also pumps through a pump bottle.

  • Glennae says:

    I stumbled upon your blog this morning (along with Humblebee) and am so glad I did – lots of great ideas and recipes. My youngest son has an immune deficiency and for a year and a half he could not even go outside due to potential fungus blowing in the wind and pathogens lurking in the ground. While his situation is not nearly so precarious, germs are still an enemy and we sanitize frequently at home – I’m also an RN, so sanitizing is my job! I’ve been looking for something more natural and am grateful for this recipe. Thank you!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Hey Glennae, I’m so glad you found Live Simply and the Humblebee this morning! Welcome! My mom is an RN and every time we visit her at work, we always carry our homemade hand sanitizer. I think you’re going to love the homemade version. Enjoy!!

  • Coral says:

    i accidentally used aloe Vera juice instead of gel, is there anyway to fix what I have mixed. I hope I don’t have to throw it away!

  • You're the best says:

    Where did you buy that storage for the sanitizer? I really like it

  • Shelley says:

    Just found your site through Pinterest and I can’t wait to try this hand sanitizer along with some of your other recipes! I made the switch to homemade cleaners last year in an effort to reduce waste. I’m excited to see recipes for laundry detergent and several other things that I still buy but hope to make. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Josie-Lynne says:

    Love this recipe! I did add one teaspoon of coconut oil. My hands feel so soft and smell lovely!
    Thank you!

  • Jennifer says:

    I am planning on making this using Young Living’s Thieves Essential Oil, since it is great for immune support! I was wondering one thing. I bought a couple of the little 2oz bottles of Aloe Vera, would it mix together well if I just emptied out some of the aloe into another container, and add the other ingredients into the bottle and shake well?

  • Melissa says:

    I’m in the process of changing over to all natural, and mostly homemade products. I was excited to stumble across this post, as I never considered making my own hand sanitizer! This sounds like a great recipe-I can’t wait to try it! The only thing that doesn’t add up is that you stated the amount of EOs are based on a 0.5% dilution, but 24 drops of EO in 2 ounces of finished product is actually a 2% dilution. Just thought you might want to change that so people aren’t thinking they’re using a more dilute formulation, especially if they’ll be using it on kids.

  • This is great. It has also been pinned so many times that it made the list Cariloha published on the most popular environmentally friendly pins!

  • Pamela Caldwell says:

    I was just wondering what made this a hand sanitizer? Is it the witch hazel or the essence oils? I’m asking because I would like to use a different scent.

  • Michelle Puopolo says:

    Hi Kristin,
    My son’s class wants to make this recipe in 50ml foaming bottles. Could you please tell me if the recipe needs to be adapted to foam? Thank you..

  • Ang says:

    we have an aloe allergy in our family, so I was wondering if there is a sub for the aloe in the recipe? Thanks.

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