Parenting, Projects, Working Mom

How To Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer

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Is anyone else a little anxious about the newest novel (though by the sounds of it, novel isn’t the best word) virus going around? Yes, the Corona Virus. As much contact as I have with kids, and the fact that both of my kids are in school is making me a little more anxious than I normally would be. I’m not stocking up on toilet paper and masks like the apocalypse is upon us, but I am very conscious of not touching my face as much, doing a better job of washing my hands (it’s a post for another day as to why this is a novel idea for folks now – were they not washing well before? Yuck!), and making sure that I have a few extra canned goods at the house just in case one of us gets sick (flu is more of a concern than anything else – if Mommy goes down, the whole system goes down!).

The local drug store has soap, but no sanitizer…washing your hands works too.

I recently started trying to find hand sanitizer. I swear I could make a mint on the black market if I had a case or two of brand name sanitizer. It is NO WHERE!!!!! There are some serious hoarders in my neck of the woods. When my local national branded grocery store has to limit your purchase, you know it is bad.

Even the bath shop was out of everything but holders.

So, while not in full on Y2K, end-of-the-world, prepper mode, I still wondered if there was something I was missing. If one of my kids does get the good ole flu, I wont be able to get my hands on it, much less something more serious. So, I turned to the same place we all do when we need answers – Pinterest. After quite a bit of research about the percentage of alcohol needed in a solution to be effective (it’s 65% by the way) and what ingredients I would need, I went to my local box store and immediately found everything I would need for less then $5.00!

I was able to find a bottle of 91% (they go as high as 99%) isopropyl alcohol near the bandages, and the aloe gel in the isle with the sunscreen. I added the oil gel because alcohol is incredibly drying to the skin, and the scent so that I didn’t smell like the night shift of a cleaning crew. If you get anything less than 70%, it isn’t going to be strong enough to effectively kill germs. There are also 50% bottles on the market – don’t even bother with those, they are already below the threshold of what you need.

To ensure I had the right proportions, all it took was a tiny bit of math. We all math, right? At 91%, I divided that by 4 (because it is the number of 1/4 cups in a full cup of solution) and got 22.75. This roughly tells me that to keep the percent of alcohol at 65% or higher by volume, I need to have 3 parts of alcohol to 1 part of gel. So, the easiest way to measure this is a 3/4 cups to 1/4 cup ratio. Don’t worry, the entire recipe is below so that you have the instructions for this exact mix. At these proportions, my mix should be approximately 68.25% by volume.

So how do we make this magical germ killing elixer?

Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe

3/4 cups 91% rubbing alcohol

1/4 cup aloe after sun gel

1 T. oil gel (I used a shea and cocoa butter oil, but you can use baby oil)

essential oil of choice (I used 30 drops of Frankincense as that is what I had laying around – lavender, rosemary, or jasmine would also be nice)


I used metal measuring cups, a metal whisk, glass bowl, 4 oz. mason jar, and 4 oz. spray bottle (I used a dark blue so that the oil was not exposed to light).

Fill your 1/4 cup measuring cup almost to the top – leave about a tablespoon of room and add your oil gel. Fill your 1 cup measuring cup 3/4 of the way full with alcohol. Add your chosen essential oil to the alcohol. You can see the little beads of oil at the bottom of my cup.

Empty the cups into your glass bowl and whisk until combined. Transfer to your spray bottle and mason jar. You can duplicate this recipe to be as small or large as you like as long as the percentage of alcohol by volume stays consistent with what I have above. The mixture is almost as thin as water, so the spray bottle is fine. If you use a higher concentration of alcohol, you may be able to get away with a 2:1 ratio and your gel may add some thickness. I don’t give a hoot about consistency as long as it does the job.

Most importantly, don’t freak out! Panic is not productive. Stay safe, avoid situations where you may come in contact with an infected person (like travel to a country classified at 3 or higher by the CDC, or a state with a current hot spot), and wash your hands for 30 seconds under running warm water – WITH SOAP (can you tell that I typed that using my Mom voice/fingers?). There is no need to stock up on masks unless you are sick – they stop the spread of the virus by those who already have it, but do not prevent contamination. Education is your most powerful weapon in what can feel like a very scary situation.

Happy sanitizing!

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