I am not a big of using hand sanitizers on a regular basis. But, a hand sanitizer comes in very handy when I travel. I can’t tell you how often I have been in a bathroom without hand soap, a gas station toilet that is disgusting, or even had to use a portable toilet. There are also times visiting a public tourist attraction or jumping on and off a tour bus that I want to make sure my hands are clean. Travel is when a hand sanitizer can be necessary and definitely comes in handy.
I learned about spray hand sanitizers made with essential oils on a recent trip to Ukraine. I was traveling with a group of travel writers and bloggers and one of the bloggers had lavender spray hand sanitizer. Not only did it smell great, but it came in super handy for the many times we visited bathrooms that didn’t have soap or towels. By the end of the trip, we were lining up to get a few sprays of her lavender hand sanitizer after a not-so-great bathroom stop or after visiting a location with lots of hand rails. On past trips I have brought along sanitizer wipes, but I loved the natural spray version much more.
I did a little research when I got home and realized it’s pretty simple to make homemade hand sanitizer. It’s also much more cost effective than buying it pre-made. The homemade hand sanitizer recipe I create is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal and is also good for your skin! The tea tree oil kills off bacteria while the aloe vera and the vitamin E nourishes the skin, keeping it hydrated and clean and the lavender and lemongrass make it smell wonderful!
About the Ingredients
Lavender– Antibacterial and antiviral and it smells awesome!
Tea Tree Oil – Antifugal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial
Lemongrass Oil – Antibacterial and antifungal
Aloe vera gel: Antibacterial and antifungal and it does double duty as a moisturizer
Vitamin E: Moisturizer and helps keep recipe fresh
What You Will Need to Make Hand Sanitizer:
(This recipe makes enough for one 2-ounce bottle. I use Edens Garden essential oils to make my hand sanitizer).
- 2 oz glass spray bottle (you can find them on Amazon). I like the trigger spray bottle for the hand sanitizer.
- 10 drops Lavender oil (I use Edens Garden)
- 6 drops Lemongrass oil (I use Edens Garden)
- 25 drops of Tea Tree oil (I use Edens Garden)
- 1 ounce (6 teaspoons) Aloe Vera gel (I bought mine at Trader Joes, but you can also find this on Amazon)
- 2 ounces (12 teaspoons) grain alcohol (such as Vodka) or you can use witch hazel
- 1 tsp Vitamin E oil (I bought mine at Trader Joes, but you can also find this on Amazon)
Note: You are allowed to bring containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or smaller in your carry on bag.
Directions to Make Hand Sanitizer:
Add essential oils and vitamin E oil to a small glass bowl or container and swirl to mix. Add witch hazel (or alcohol) to the oils and swirl again. Combine this mixture with the aloe vera gel and mix well. Shake gently before each use. (Sanitizer should last several months with the addition of vitamin E and alcohol, which helps to preserve.)
Transfer hand sanitizer to small, clean spray bottles. (Use colored bottles like this so the essential oils in the recipe are not exposed to light). The sanitizer spary is perfect for traveling. Just throw into a purse or a backpack! You could also mix up a batch for home and keep in a container with a pump.
Directions to Use Hand Sanitizer
Spray enough sanitizer to cover your hands (2-3 sprays), rub it in thoroughly and do not wipe it off before it has dried. Use as needed to naturally remove germs from hands.
How the Hand Sanitizer Feels
Considering the ingredients include vitamin e and three essential oils, you might be surprised that your hands will not feel oily. In fact, your hands will feel clean and soft when the spray dries.
Tip for using essential oils: Essential oils are potent plant extracts and people do experience allergic reactions to them. If you are unsure about using any of the above oils, mix a few drops with a tablespoon of grapeseed or olive oil and rub right below the crook of your elbow. Cover and let it sit for 24 hours to make sure you’re good to go.
Hint: If you only use the spray when traveling, do not store the plastic trigger spray in the bottle. This will reduce the time plastic is exposed to oil.
Disclaimer: Always check with a doctor or health care provider before using essential oils, especially on children or if you have a medical condition.
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I only recommend products I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.
Alexa Meisler is the editorial director of 52 Perfect Days. Born in Paris, France she has since lived in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. She currently resides in San Diego with her husband and son where they enjoy exploring California and Mexico.
Travel has always been a part of her life; traveling to such places as Morocco, Tangiers and Spain as a young child as well as taking many road trips to Mexico with her grandparents as a young girl. Since then, she has traveled abroad to locations such as Russia, Taiwan and throughout Europe.
Prior to working at 52 Perfect Days she was a freelance travel writer; focusing on family and women’s adventure experiences.