How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer at Home

Hand Sanitizer
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

My wife was at a grocery store in downtown Toronto today. She’d already been to two pharmacies looking for, among other things, some hand sanitizer for our house. Both pharmacies were sold out and it appeared the grocery store was too.

Suddenly, a woman in front of her magically appeared to be holding a bottle. My wife quickly asked where the woman had found the sanitizer. The cashier then stepped into the conversation, casually saying, “Oh, I have some right here, under the counter. We only have two boxes total, and if I put them out someone will buy them all up at once. You can buy one bottle, if you want, a big one or a small one.”

My wife took the big one, obviously. ‘Cause this is where we are right now: Toronto, Ontario, Canada and several countries in the world willing to step over each other one bottle of 60%+ ethyl alcohol at a time.

But if you, like my wife this morning, would rather not have to be braving the very crowds you should probably be avoiding right now just to get something that will wipe away the very germs of said crowds and people, then perhaps taking the current hand sanitizer shortage into, well, your own hands is something to consider.

While thoroughly washing your hands still remains the single most effective way to get rid of germs, having a bottle of sanitizer lying around is certainly not a bad idea during these worrying times, let alone the chance to bring some with you when you do have to force yourself out of any self-isolation you’re currently enduring (or enjoying, depending on your stamina for social demands).

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So, below you’ll find two recipes for hand sanitizer that you can make right at home. The first is a quick and easy gel solution and the second is for a more potent spray solution. The best part? You most likely already have some of the ingredients in your bathroom cupboards or under the sink.

For both solutions the most important ingredient is alcohol, and no, vodka and whiskey won’t cut it. According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, your sanitizer mix must contain at least 60% alcohol to be effective, but it’s better to aim for a higher percentage, with a bottle of 99% isopropyl alcohol being the best thing to use.

Simple Gel Sanitizer Ingredients:

Simply mix three equal parts isopropyl alcohol to one part aloe vera gel. The tea tree oil can be added to improve the scent.

If you’re looking for something a little stronger in its potency, this solution is based on the sanitizer mix recommended by the WHO. However, it will most likely require a trip to the store.

Spray Sanitizer Recipe:

First, you’re going to mix together 1 and 2/3 cups alcohol with 2 teaspoons of glycerol. Glycerol is a very important ingredient because it prevents the alcohol from drying out your hands. If you can’t find glycerol, you can still proceed with the rest of the recipe, just make sure to moisturize your hands after applying the sanitizer.

Next, mix in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, then 1/4 cup of distilled or boiled water. As reported by WIRED, if you’re working with a lower-concentration solution of rubbing alcohol, make sure to use far less water. Also, keep in mind that at least 2/3 of your final mixture has to be alcohol.

Finally, pour the solution into a spray bottle, and you’re good to go. You can also spray the solution onto a paper towel and use it as a sanitizing wipe.

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