Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Cleaners | Personal Care

** This recipe has been updated to use 99% Isopropyl Alcohol at a higher percentage.

Read the update here: = = >>> Homemade Hand Sanitizer Update

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

I don’t think I’m really a germaphobe, but there are times when I do like to have some hand sanitizer handy. For some folks, that time is after using the grocery store cart. Others like some hand sanitizer after shaking lots of hands in a public place. For me, I like a little squirt of hand sanitizer after pawing around in thrift stores. I think we all have our moments when we feel vulnerable to germs.

I started thinking about hand sanitizer because I had a cute little pump bottle that was sitting around unused. The pump bottle came in a two pack with a mist bottle, which was the one I really wanted to use with my Homemade Glycerin Skin Moisturizer. I plunked the pump bottle on my dresser and I’d been looking at it for a couple weeks wondering how to put it to good use. I finally decided it would make the perfect little bottle for some hand sanitizer in my car. And of course from there I started thinking, why not make my own?

How much Rubbing Alcohol should you use in Homemade Hand Sanitizer?

In my search for how to make homemade hand sanitizer, I found that most recipes used rubbing alcohol. This made sense as there needs to be some way to kill germs. Commercial hand sanitizers like Purell will have a concentration of somewhere between 60% to 90% alcohol. Some of the homemade recipes were specifically trying to avoid that much alcohol and were using just a teaspoon or two and were then supplementing the mixture with tea tree oil or peppermint oil that are thought to have antiseptic properties. Other recipes were attempting to stay to true to the higher mixture of alcohol, but might add an ingredient like glycerin to combat the drying effects. Ultimately, I liked a very simple recipe that used equal parts aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol. This mixture was 50% alcohol so it was quite close to the commercial brands. (Note: for a recipe with a higher alcohol concentration, read my updated homemade hand sanitizer recipe. ).

Many of the homemade hand sanitizer recipes called for a few drops of an essential oil to add a little fragrance to the mix. I decided to skip this step. When I tested my homemade hand sanitizer for the first time I found that, yes, there was a distinct smell of rubbing alcohol, but it disappeared almost immediately. Alcohol evaporates very quickly and the smell was gone within seconds.

Calculating the Cost of Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is usually abundant in dollar stores and often times you can find a bargain somewhere on little bottles of hand sanitizer. But I always have a bottle of aloe vera gel in the house because I have found it is the most wonderful thing for a sunburn. I always keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol in my medicine cabinet too. I like the thought that at anytime I can make some homemade hand sanitizer with ingredients on hand. I calculated that my little batch of homemade hand sanitizer cost me about 20 cents.

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe

You will need:
Aloe Vera Gel
Rubbing Alcohol (Use 99% Isopropyl Alcohol)
Few drops of essential oil in the fragrance of your choice (optional)
A pump or squirt bottle

** Update – Use 2 parts 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to 1 part Aloe Vera Gel

Combine equal parts aloe vera gel and rubbing alcohol in a small bowl and mix together well. I used 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. Stir in an essential oil if using. Transfer to a squirt bottle or pump bottle. Do not use a spray bottle as this is a gel-like mixture.

The hardest part of this recipe was transferring it into my little travel sized bottle (I ended up using a funnel).

You can make this recipe as big or as small as you like. Aloe vera gel is usually easy to find, and as you can see in the picture above, I bought mine at Target.

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96 Comments

  1. Lower percentage Isopropyl Alcohol is more effective in killing Coronavirus because higher percentage alcohols evaporate before they entirely kill the germ…

  2. I may have already posted a comment, but I just want to tell you again how much I love this homemade hand sanitizer! All my co-workers love it, too! I’ve read comments that say theirs was a thin mess. I don’t find that the case with mine at all. I add a couple of teaspoons of coconut oil to mine. I whisk it until it thickens up to form a soft green gel. It’s a great consistency after that.

  3. You need to whisk it together in a bowl. It will start to gel while whisking. Also, I added a little coconut oil to it. Love it!

  4. I have tried this mixture a couple of times. All I get is globby gel with watery alcohol. It does not mix. A waste of ingredients.

  5. You can use Ever Clear 190. That gives you a very high alcohol content to start with. Sold in the alcohol section.i can’t believe anyone would drink this stuff! But great for hand sanitizer.

  6. Didn’t work at all, was just completely runny and seemed to curdle my aloe vera gel… gutted I’ve now wasted a whole tube of something I use every day

  7. i could only find 50% rubbing alcohol (ISOPROPYL)if i take the whole32 oz bottle how much more of the other 50% do i need to add to make it at least between 60%-93%.I am making sanitizee and 50% isnt enough to kill germs.FDA says 60%and up

    1. I use two cups of alcohol and one cup of aloe vera gel. Add two teaspoons of coconut oil and whisk until thickens.

  8. Can i use banana boat sun gel with aloe instead of plain aloe.all plain aloe is out but banana boat sun gel has aloe in it,has alchol in it but want to know if i can just add alchol to it

    1. Yes, you should be able to use that type of gel in this mixture. It’s OK if there is some alcohol in the gel already too.

  9. Ok I read 9 parts to 1 part. Say you you want 100ml nearest us mesurment is 3.4oz. So we get 6.8 tablespoons ( 1/4 cup plus 2 tsp 70% rubbing alochol) add (1 tbsp glycerine or aloe vera). Shake it up get a spray bottle it is a spray sanitizer not a gel. Has the advantage stick a tissue in your pocket spray on shopping carts light switches door handles and your hands. 85% of the product need be alochol to be effective this puts you around 63% alochol content. You need be above 60%.

    1. To get the numbers we have to start with
      60% our target ÷ 70% alochol current content x that by 100= 85% so 85% need be alochol based and the small percent skin conditioner

    1. I did a little calculating based on the helpful info in another comment that the mixture then needs to have 85% of the mixture be alcohol. My calculations came up with a 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol with only 4 teaspoons of aloe gel. This would end up being a very liquid consistency mixture so you would want to put it in a spray bottle I think. I also think it would still be worth it to add the 4 teaspoons of aloe gel for a little moisturizing help in the mixture.

  10. I have a bottle of banana boat soothing after sun with aloe gel can I make hand sanitizer with rubbing alcohol 91%

  11. I have a pack of 4oz Tupperware containers with lids. I fill them with cotton rounds (used to remove makeup) and saturate them with rubbing alcohol, and pull one out each time I need one.

  12. I used the after Sun gel with aloe as this was all they had at Walmart. It’s sticky at first but when it dried my hands were so soft. That’s a win/win!

    1. That’s what I used, too. It works great! Try adding a little coconut oil to it. Soft hands is the perk!

  13. If you use more alcohol, you could add a little distilled water which can then be added to a spray bottle.

  14. This happened to me as well. Mix in a disposable cup, a blob will float in the mixture, pick up with a fork (it will stay together) squeeze out the blob of aloe that forms back into mixture. once squeezed out you will have a piece that is about the size of chewed gum. toss this. This mixture is more liquid than the purell but just as effective as long as you keep the 60% concentration. I add a few drops of laevendar and tea tree to help with the alcohol odor.
    Make small batches as needed.
    BE sure to use 91 or 99% alcohol. If you have 70% alcohol you really can’t mix anything with it because you will risk diluting it under 60%. If you are good at math you can calculate how much you can add to the 70% rubbing alcohol so you don’t go below the 60% concentration.

  15. Our Police Dept in town are running out of hand sanitizer. Maybe I could make a batch for them for their cars.

    1. You’d have to make a whole lot of batches! Knock yourself out if you have a whole lot of alcohol and aloe vera. You could also use glycerin instead of the aloe vera gel.

  16. The 99% pure organic aloe gel I bought online wouldn’t mix with the alcohol, it stayed separated no matter how much I whisked or stirred. Any thoughts?

    1. Add water and shake vigorously. Just use less aloe and more alcohol to keep ratios so as to still have at least 60% alcohol. I prefer to have at least 65% to 70% alcoho. You could also use glycerin instead of the aloe vera gel. It’s not as thick but still thick enough to help with emulsion and keep hands from drying out.

  17. What if all you have is 91% isopropyl alcohol? What ratios would you use rendering this still effective? Has anyone tried this and had a gel like consistency?

    1. Normally you can find this by other personal care items in most stores (often by other hand lotions). It is sold online too.

  18. This is a nice recipe. But because you have to use the aloe to make it a gel, it dilutes the alcohol too much. 60% is not enough to kill the virus. I don’t have an answer to the problem. A good friend is a scientist/dr and was explaining it to me. Still must be better than nothing, just be aware…

  19. Hi there! Thank you for your recipe… Is it feasible to replace the aloe vera gel from a bottle with REAL aloe vera gel from the plant? Thank you, Jolene.

  20. Couldn’t you just fill the squeeze bottle to almost half and then fill the rest of the way with alcohol, then shake well?

  21. You can go to a liquor store and get the strongest proof vodka you can find. Or get something like Everclear, which is 100% alcohol. It works!

  22. Thank you. That’s great that you mentioned alcohol because it is essential to kill bacteria all of them like virus. Oils don’t work as good as alcohol.

  23. I’m sure, it’s basically used as moisturizer to mix with the alcohol. And I’m sure it would contain aloe if it’s after sun gel!

  24. Very helpful as all I’ve got in the house are aloe vera gel and both 91% and 99% alcohol. Mixing some sanitizer today. Thanks.

  25. This worked! I am so exited. It defiantly helped. Just a warning THIS PRODUCT WORKS its just a little sticky you just have to let it dry first.

  26. In this case and time it’s NOT about money saving! It’s about prevention! When all the stores are out of hand sanitizers you have no other choice!!!! Better to be safe than sorry!! A small amount is better than none!

  27. Candy. whatever you use to make this hand sanitizer, you can use anything to measure out the liquid like a cup. So if you use a cup then it is your “part” of the final gel. So in the case of these directions, you would use 2 parts ( two cups of the 98 % isopropyl alcohol ) ADDED to 1 part ( one additional cup of the Aloe Vera gel) then stir together to end up with three parts or a total of three cups of your newly created hand sanitizer. As a former math teacher, I hope this helps you out. Stay healthy!)

  28. Parts is a simple way of identifying any measure. an ounce, or a cup, or a half cup, Whichever measure mode you choose, you would use twice as much alcohol as you would aloe. Two parts to one part or 2:1

    1. If you try to use glycerin instead of aloe gel, I would still stick with the 2:1 ratio (use 2 parts alcohol mixed with 1 part glycerin).

  29. Thank you!!! During this Coronavirus scare, hand sànitizer is gone from the shelves. I will definitely make my own, acoording to your instruction. ❤️

  30. I could only find 50% proff of rubbing alcohol, will this still be as effective? All the stores around me are sold out.

  31. If you use a foaming dispenser, then it will be a foam hand sanitizer, and perhaps you won’t feel the alcohol as much. On May 19, 2015 was my 1st encounter with Foaming hand sanitizer, and I prefer it over the regular hand sanitizer. It had more of a dry feel than a wet feel.

  32. Hi,
    This didn’t save any money for me, (though a good idea) The Aloe was 4.00 and the Alcohol over 1.00. I can buy a lg. jug of Hand Sanitizer for 5.00 the homemade remedy didn’t even fill the empty container.
    Thank you 🙂

    1. It’s true that you can probably find store bought hand sanitizer that is cheaper. For me this was still a good strategy because I always have aloe gel in the house and always have rubbing alcohol in the house, so I’m able to mix up a batch from supplies I already have on hand.

  33. I think it is extremely important to inform you that your sanitizer DOES NOT contain the required alcohol percentage to kill germs. You are using 70% alcohol and mixing it 50/50 with aloe gel. This, in theory, says that your alcohol percentage is approximately 35%. This will NOT kill germs. You NEED 65-70% alcohol to make your sanitizer effective. If you hare making this recipe, you will need to use 99% to 95% alcohol and less aloe/glycerin/other gels. With your recipe, all you get is a bottle of false security.

    1. I did some investigation on your concerns and have made revisions to the recipe as well as writing an entire new post on the subject. Thanks for your input.

    2. Thanks so much! Yours is the first intelligent response! So many of these day recipes will do nothing to sanitize anything!

  34. I just want to point out that, from the looks of that bottle of “aloe gel”, it is not a pure aloe product. This means that you may get unwanted artificial ingredients, such as dyes, in your hand sanitizer. Folks may want to look for the real thing, such as Lily of the Desert’s product. Since it is kind of clumpy, one would want to put the hand sanitizer mixture into a blender to smooth it out before filling the pump bottle.

  35. Rebecca – Perhaps Vitamin E gel would make a good substitute for the aloe vera gel. You can get a 12 oz bottle on Amazon for $6.99 which is not too pricey.