Homemade Hand Sanitizer (Spray or Gel)

This has been a heckuva week. Concerts, CD sales, car died and needed a new fuel pump, oh yeah, and there’s this big looming holiday where I professionally must produce at the absolute highest level all year for three straight days of insanity while honoring the magical Holiday Family Warmth Imperative at home…

I’m a choir director, among other things. And my choirs are all getting sick. Sneezing, coughs, laryngitis, people with 2-week sore throats. I don’t want to get sick myself (choir directors do not get sick days in December), so I’m staying away from folks, not touching anyone except my family, and trying to wash my hands rabidly. I hate most commercial hand sanitizers; even the allegedly unscented ones give me headaches. So I looked up some recipes online for homemade hand sanitizers. They are basically pretty simple, and boil down to some easy-to-find ingredients (though not everyone has aloe gel in the house, it’s easy to buy, I got a big bottle at Trader Joe’s a year or two ago to put on burns) and about 5 minutes of effort.


Homemade Non-Toxic Hand Sanitizer

In a glass (pyrex?) bowl or measuring cup, mix together:

  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1/2 cup grain alcohol (er…okay, I guess not everyone has this in the house either…it’s for medicinal uses, really!)
  • 10-20 drops antibacterial essential oils

Mix well, funnel into a spray or squeegee bottle.  Shake well before using.


That’s it. Easy as pie.

The nuances: if it’s too thick to spray well (though I have no problems with it), you could add a little distilled water, but not much or you’ll dilute the alcohol too much.  And your choice of essential oils will have a fairly significant effect both on its odor and its efficaciousness. Some favorites:

  • Tea tree oil--this is the heavy-hitter, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal.  Good stuff all around.
  • Manuka oil–similar to tea tree, but some say it’s even better at what it does.
  • Lemon oil–this can cause skin sensitivity, so use with caution and discontinue if your skin doesn’t like it, but this is a great germ-killer. Orange too, which is a little gentler
  • Lavender oil–I know, it smells all gentle and flowery, but it’s a hugely important medicinal oil. I use it liberally in almost everything I make–besides being antibacterial itself, it’s one of the gentler essential oils, which means you can get away with using more of it in a blend without it becoming too harsh.
  • Eucalyptus oil–blah blah blah antibacterial antiviral see above. Yet another. (There are lots of these!)
  • Rose Geranium–a very powerful medicinal oil, but honestly I find its flowery scent too strong to use for much. On the other hand, a drop or two of this added to a blend you find too medicinally smelling could gentle it up a bit.

My personal blend of choice is probably not the antibacterial heavy hitter it could be, but I use 9 drops lavender, 6 drops clary sage, and 3 drops lemon oil in mine. Mostly because I love this smell, it’s sort of my own personal antidepressant/antistress blend. Which, given my month, is probably going to be as key to avoiding illness as anything else. Tea tree and lavender together would be a good cheap effective blend.

So use it. Or something like it.  And don’t get sick.  And if you get sick, don’t come anywhere near me.

Posts may become a little more sporadic in the coming weeks, and instead of blogging about cool things to do for the holidays I’ll have to actually be doing them. Or I’ll link back to some of last year’s posts–as I recall, last January I had some slightly intelligent things to say…

Oy. God, I’m tired.


Posted on December 6, 2010, in children, DIY, health, herbal medicine, recipe and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I purchased some Tea Tree Oil EO. I’m very interested in using this in many of the diy recipes b/c of its wonderful antiviral (among other) properties. Do you know how much I need to add (what ratio) to a solution to be able to maximize this beneficial property?

  1. Pingback: Gift-Giving–homemade soap « It's Not Easy Being Green

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