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Making your own hand sanitizer is a pretty easy thing to do. In fact most of the time it’s just a simple two ingredient process of mixing rubbing alcohol and aloe vera gel together.
But if you’ve made your own hand sanitizer before, you may have discovered (like I did) that it turns out with a rather thin and watery consistency. You need at least 60% of your mixture to be rubbing alcohol in order to give it enough sanitizing strength. This means you’ll be using twice as much of the liquid ingredient as you will the gel ingredient.
But there is a helpful little trick I learned from one of the commenters on my previous post about homemade hand sanitizer, and that was to add just a little bit of coconut oil to the mixture. I gave it a try recently and had good results!
Using Coconut Oil As A DIY Hand Sanitizer Thickener
To make this homemade hand sanitizer recipe, I began by whisking together a 1/2 cup of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol with 1/4 cup of Aloe Vera Gel. To this mixture I added just a 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil.
Because coconut oil is solid at room temperature, I put my little bit of measured out coconut oil into a small glass bowl, and then heated it in the microwave for about 30 seconds so that it was melted. Then I stirred it in with the alcohol and aloe vera gel. (Note – I also gave this a try without melting the coconut oil and it just stayed lumpy and would not mix in).
At first I didn’t think this 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil was making any difference. But I let the mixture set in the mixing bowl for about an hour, and after that time the mixture was indeed just a bit thicker.
You’ll find that this homemade hand sanitizer mixture is still not as thick as the store bought. BUT – this little bit of coconut oil made it so that the mixture was no longer so runny that it just dripped out between my fingers either. If you’re making your own hand sanitizer, I think that the coconut oil is definitely an ingredient worth adding.
Can You Use 70% Isopropyl Alcohol In Homemade Hand Sanitizer?
To make homemade hand sanitizer, I always use the higher strength 91% alcohol to give the mixture enough sanitizing power. However there can be times when it’s hard to find that type at the stores and you might be wondering if you can substitute the 70% alcohol variety .
Once again, I used some of the info left in comments on my older hand sanitizer post. A helpful person with good math calculations gave input that when using the lower strength rubbing alcohol, that the mixture ratio would need to be 85% rubbing alcohol and only 15% aloe vera gel in order to be strong enough. After doing some number crunching, I calculated you would need 1/2 cup of the lower strength 70% alcohol with only 4 teaspoons of aloe vera gel.
That, of course, will be a very runny mixture. I don’t think a little bit of coconut oil added would make much difference in that case. My suggestion if you use 70% alcohol with only 4 teaspoons of gel would be to try putting it in a little spray bottle and just spritzing it on your hands instead.
I’m Ready With My Homemade Hand Sanitizer!
I like to put my homemade hand sanitizer in a small squeezable bottle such as these travel size shampoo bottles. Most of those small squeezable bottles are about a 2 oz or a 3 oz size. The recipe below makes about 4 ounces of hand sanitizer so you might want to split the mixture between a couple of these little bottles.
I’m not sure what the season ahead will bring and if the stores will be stocked with enough hand sanitizer or if it will be in short supply again. But I have my ingredients at home ready to make my own if needed – AND – sometimes I just prefer to make my own hand sanitizer anyway!
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Homemade Hand Sanitizer
- 1/2 cup 91% Isopropyl Alcohol (see notes below for 70% Alcohol)
- 1/4 cup Aloe Vera Gel
- 1/2 tsp Coconut Oil
- Combine the alcohol and the aloe vera in a mixing bowl and whisk or stir to mix them together.
- Put the 1/2 teaspoon of coconut oil in a small microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the coconut oil.
- Add the melted coconut oil to the alcohol/gel mixture and stir to combine.
- I usually let the mixture sit in the bowl for about an hour, and the mixture will thicken up just a bit more during that time.
- Pour the mixture into a small squeezable bottle(s). Travel size shampoo bottles work well for this purpose.