Looking for an alternative method to sanitize your hands, cellphone case, doorknobs, and other objects in your home? This article shares my favorite homemade hand sanitizer gel recipe.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer Gel With Essential Oils
This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my disclosure policy.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer Gel
When it comes to clean hands, your best bet is good old fashioned hand washing. If you’re anywhere near a sink and soap, opt for handwashing first. But, there are times when washing hands isn’t an option. There are also times, where a good handwashing followed by a hand sanitizer gel feels like the most thorough option.
I also like to wipe down items or places that are touched often like my cell phone, light switches, doorknobs, computer mouse, etc. I’ll pump some of the sanitizer onto a paper towel and wipe down these surfaces a few times a week.
It’s pretty simple to make an effective natural homemade hand sanitizer with just a couple of ingredients. It’s also much more cost-effective than buying it pre-made. The homemade DIY hand sanitizer gel recipe below includes ingredients that are known to be antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal.
The tea tree oil and clove kills off bacteria while the aloe vera and the grapeseed oil nourish the skin, keeping it hydrated and clean. The lavender and lemongrass make it smell wonderful! It’s simple to create this homemade hand sanitizer with just a few ingredients.
About the Hand Sanitizer Gel Ingredients
Lavender– known for their antibacterial and antiviral and it smells awesome!
Tea Tree Oil – known to be antifugal, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial
Lemongrass Oil – known to be antibacterial and antifungal
Clove – known to be antimicrobial and help kill bacteria as well as relieve respiratory conditions like cough and asthma per Healthline.com.
Aloe vera gel – known to be antibacterial and antifungal and it does double duty as a moisturizer
Grapeseed oil – Moisturizer and helps keep recipe fresh
What alcohol/liquid do you use when making hand sanitizer gel?
When making your own hand sanitizer, there are four main ingredients used as a base to dilute essential oils:
- Witch Hazel: Homemade hand sanitizers with witch hazel are used by many for everyday It is the most nourishing to the hands, but has the least amount of anti-microbial properties of the four options here.
- Vodka: Alcohol is a common base for anti-microbial action, but most vodka on store shelves is around 40-45% alcohol (80-90 proof), and then gets further diluted when creating an at-home recipe. Please note that drinking spirits do not have high enough alcohol % content so don’t use them. For a hand sanitizer to be effective, it needs to be at least 90% alcohol, not 90 proof.
- Rubbing Alcohol: To make an effective hand disinfectant at home, it’s very important to use a high alcohol % solution.
- High Proof Grain Alcohol or Isopropyl alcohol: This is the strongest version if using isopropyl alcohol (91% to 99% alcohol) and when diluted in this recipe, it makes a hand sanitizer that is roughly 70-75% alcohol. This version can be very drying on the hands, so after using the sanitizing gel and after it drys completely I use a nourishing hand cream such as Weleda Skin Food.
It is important to note that none of these versions has ever been lab-tested for efficacy—and while we can estimate the anti-microbial properties of each recipe based on current knowledge, there is no way of knowing if they are truly effective against a specific strain of virus or bacteria without lab testing. Please speak with your health care professional before using any home remedy for yourself or your family.
What You Will Need to Make Hand Sanitizer Gel:
(This homemade hand sanitizer recipe makes enough for one 4-ounce bottle. I use Edens Garden essential oils to make my hand sanitizer).
- 4 oz glass pump bottle (you can find them on Amazon).
- 20 drops Lavender oil (I use Edens Garden)
- 12 drops Lemongrass oil (I use Edens Garden)
- 10 drops of Clove Bud (I use Edens Garden)
- 50 drops of Tea Tree oil (I use Edens Garden)
- 2 ounce (12 teaspoons) Aloe Vera gel (I bought mine at Trader Joes, but you can also find this on Amazon)
- 4 ounces (24 teaspoons) grain or Isopropyl alcohol*, rubbing alcohol or you can use witch hazel
- 2 tsp Grapeseed oil (I bought mine at Trader Joes, but you can also find this on Amazon)
Note: The CDC recommends using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content. Any homemade recipe should be 2/3 alcohol to 1/3 aloe, or 2:1. The above recipe made with the grain alcohol makes a sanitizer with just over 60%. If you want a sanitizer with a higher alcohol percentage, then increase alcohol and decrease the amount of aloe vera or make sure to use at least 95% grain alcohol.
Directions to Make DIY Hand Sanitizer Gel:
- 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.
- 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).
- Shake gently before each use.
The sanitizer spray is also great for traveling. Simply use a smaller bottle and throw it into a purse or a backpack!
The sanitizer recipe should last several months.
Directions to Use Hand Sanitizer
Pump enough sanitizer onto your hands (3-4 pumps), rub it in thoroughly and do not wipe it off before it has dried. Use as needed to naturally remove germs from hands.
Tip: An alcohol-based hand sanitizer can reduce the number of microbes on your hands. That’s why it’s important to rub your hands with the sanitizer until they are dry.
How Hand Sanitizers Feels
Considering the ingredients include grapeseed 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 gel 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 oil 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.
Essential oil disclaimer: This recipe uses what are generally considered safe essential oils, but please keep in mind that while completely natural, all essential oils are powerful plant compounds that you and your family (including your pets) might have a reaction to. Never use essential oils undiluted or take essential oils internally (diluted or undiluted) without the guidance of a professional, and always read up about the possible side effects of each type of oil before you use it. Avoid the use of essential oils (diluted or undiluted) during the first trimester of pregnancy, on small babies, and on anyone with severe allergies to the plants the oils are derived from. And if you see any reactions in yourself, your family, or your pets, stop use of your essential oil products immediately and contact a medical professional.
Use of high-proof grain alcohol: Using high-proof grain alcohol (Everclear) in this recipe can be very drying on the hands.
I hope this homemade hand sanitizer gel recipe is helpful! I’d love to hear if you made it, so please let me know in the comments below!
FAQ About Hand Sanitizer Gel
- Does witch hazel kill germs? According to Dr. Axe, this multi-purpose product has many uses, including killing bacteria that can live within the skin’s pores. The most popular use of witch hazel is for skin care, because of its strong antioxidant and astringent properties.
- Is Witch Hazel a good hand sanitizer? It is the most nourishing to the hands but has the least amount of anti-microbial properties of the four options listed in this article.
- What are the best essential oils for homemade hand sanitizer? Tea tree oil, clove oil, lavender oil, and lemongrass.
- What is the best alcohol to use for a recipe for hand sanitizer? isopropyl alcohol or rubbing alcohol (91% to 99% alcohol)
Related Articles & Must-Have Health Products for Home:
Additional Items for Health Safety
- Disposable Face Mask is important to wear at all times per the CDC.
- Sanitizing Wipes are great for wiping down your airline seat & tray and any other items in a public area.
- Portable Travel Cup to use instead of hotel glasses that may or may not be cleaned properly. (Read full article about >> Why You Should Never Drink Out of Glasses in Hotel Rooms)
- Water bottle with filter such as the Grayl that removes 99.9999% of viruses (e.g. Hepatitis A, SARS, Coronavirus, Rotavirus); 99.9999% of disease-causing bacteria (e.g. E. coli, Salmonella, Cholera); and 99.999% of protozoan cysts (e.g. Giardia, Cryptosporidium) is a great way to stay hydrated and healthy.
- Immune Boosters such as Lypo-Spheric Vitamin C which is – designed to help your body absorb more vitamin C. It helps to help maintain a healthy immune system come in single packets and take up very little space when packing.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this article is not meant to be taken as medical advice. Any specific health claim or nutritional claims or information provided on the website are for informational purposes only. Nothing on the website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should consult with your personal doctor to see what’s right for you.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. 52 Perfect Days is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services 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.