DIY 3-Ingredient Hand Sanitizer

By Polly Conner
March 3, 2020

Try out this quick and easy-to-make DIY hand sanitizer that will help keep hands clean while you’re out and about!

Ingredients for homemade hand sanitizer

I always feel like I’ve stumbled on to some best-kept secret when I realize how many household products can be made at home. This is the case with this homemade hand sanitizer!

What I like about this recipe is that the ingredients are fairly flexible as long as the ratio of rubbing alcohol to aloe vera is 2/3 cup to 1/3 cup. This keeps the product strong enough to fight germs.

It does feel a little sticky when you first start rubbing it in. But, that sticky feeling only lasts about 30 seconds before it absorbs and leaves your hands feeling soft.

Ingredients for DIY Hand Sanitizer

How Homemade Hand Sanitizer Works

The active ingredient in this hand sanitizer recipe is the alcohol, which needs to comprise at least 60% of the product, according to the CDC, in order to be effective. The recipe calls for 99% isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Do not use other types of alcohol (e.g., methanol, butanol), as they are toxic.

Also, if you use a household hand sanitizer product that contains a lower percentage of alcohol (e.g., 70% alcohol), then you need to increase the amount of alcohol in the recipe or it won’t be as effective.

Does Hand Sanitizer Kill Coronavirus or Other Viruses?

Baby and mom washing hands

Well, yes and no. Hand sanitizer can help protect you from coronavirus and other germs, but it should not be considered your first line of defense against it.

CDC recommends washing hands with soap and water whenever possible because handwashing reduces the amounts of all types of germs and chemicals on hands. But if soap and water are not available, using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can help you avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others.

CDC Website

So, by all means, please keep washing those hands. Sing “Happy Birthday” while you do it so you wash long enough (at least 20 seconds). But, for the times that you may not be able to get soap and water, this Homemade Hand Sanitizer might be a great alternative!

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Do I Have to Use Essential Oils in the Hand Sanitizer?

Good news. If you don’t have essential oils on hand, no worries. The hand sanitizer is still effective. The essential oils add a better scent to the mix and they do provide a bit of extra germ fighting juice. But, you can for sure still use it without them. Just know that it will smell strongly of alcohol.

Which Essential Oils Do You Recommend?

I like to use any kind of germ fighting blend or any with antibacterial properties. Here are some ideas on Amazon:

What Container Should I Store DIY Hand Sanitizer In?

Since the finished product is pretty much a liquid, I recommend a spray container. There are many glass options like this which I personally use. However, if you want a plastic option, here are some that would work.

How to Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Makes: 1 Cup



  1. In a disposable cup or bowl (or a cup or bowl that you use for non-food purposes), mix together the essential oils and the alcohol. Then slowly stir in the Aloe Vera Gel.
  2. Once blended, pour it into your containers*.
  3. To Use: Spray enough of the hand sanitizer to coat the hands well. Rub hands together until dry. Be sure to avoid spraying in the face or eyes!

*You may want to use a small funnel to help pour the hand sanitizer into the bottles.

As a reminder, although these ingredients are known to be effective at helping prevent and eliminate germs, this DIY is not a substitute for regular, proper hand washing.

hand sanitizer on kids hands

 Enjoy and make sure to check out many other resources we have available!

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7 replies
  1. Jenna says:

    I have 70% isopropyl alcohol. To what ratio would I increase the amount of alcohol in the recipe? Yours is 1 part aloe vera gel to 2 parts alcohol…would 70% isopropyl be like 9 parts alcohol, 1 part aloe vera?

  2. Theresa Phillips says:

    Do you have to use essential oils or are there others you can use besides the two you mentioned such as tea tree, lavender, lemongrass?

  3. Niha says:

    Whoa, an all-natural hand-sanitizer? This is a game-changer! I’ve been looking (fruitlessly) for years since my husband hates everything about the commercial stuff and we don’t use it on our toddler either. Definitely going to try this recipe. Question: does the spray bottle have to be glass, for any reason?