Coronavirus: Making Hand Sanitizer at Home

It's finally happened - Coronavirus is spreading through our communities and there's been a rush on supplies like hand sanitizer and shelves are cleaned!  Having lived through the swine flu epidemic in Mexico City, I knew this would happen!  What can you do when this type of thing happens?  Do what I did and make your own!  There are a few key things you need to know in order to make an effective hand sanitizer, outlined below:


Alcohol content: Must be above 60% in the finished product if you're using ethanol or 70% if you're using isopropyl alcohol!  Some products you can buy on the market that have above 60% alcohol:

Isopropyl Alcohol - Usually I can find this at the pharmacies in concentrations of 70% or 91%.  You may already have it in your medicine cabinet.  You must use different amounts of this depending on if you have 70% or 91% concentration, read below for recipes.  I read the FDA guidance for the use of isopropyl alcohol and it needs to be above 70% isopropyl alcohol in order to work as a sanitizer   If you have this, just put it in a spray bottle and use it as is.  

Grain Alcohol - Find it at the liquor store.  This comes in a variety of "proofs" from 151 proof (75.5% alcohol) to 190 proof (95% alcohol).  I have been unable to locate anything more than 151 proof in my area.  

Emollients: With this amount of alcohol, the sanitizer will be so drying to skin. 

Aloe Vera gel - this is a nice option for adding some nice emollience to skin.  However, I tried some recipes with aloe vera and grain alcohol and the aloe vera gel congealed into this really gross blob (I guess it got drunk!)  I did not have the same problem with isopropyl alcohol

Glycerin - This can be found in the pharmacy usually near the laxatives.  Glycerin is the byproduct of the soap making process, which is a process by which fat and lye are combined to make soap.  Be sure that your glycerin comes from vegetable fat vs animal fat if this is a concern to you.  Glycerin is a humectant and will help to moisturize your skin.

Essential Oils: Because...yes they smell so good.  While lots of essential oils have components with many interesting properties that will support hand cleansing, the only sure way to know you have a hand sanitizer is to have the 60% alcohol.  Since this is potentially a matter of life and death with the coronavirus and we are making this at home vs. sending it out for challenge testing to ensure its efficacy, we really need to make sure we have that 60% alcohol!  This being said, I will suggest some blends that have the best cleansing benefits out there!

Hand Sanitizer Spray Formula:

Everclear 151 Proof: 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon
Glycerin: 1/8 cup
Essential Oil 20 drops - due to the alcohol content, you need more essential oil to make it smell great


Isopropyl Alcohol 91% 3/4 cup 
Glycerin or aloe vera gel: 1/8 cup
Essential Oil 20 drops


Everclear 190 proof 1/2 cup plus 1/8 cup
Glycerin: 1/8 cup
Essential Oil 20 drops
Distilled water: 1/8 cup plus 1 teaspoon

Blend all together and separate into 1 ounce spray bottles to give to everyone in your family.  Should make eight 1 ounce spray bottles

Essential Oil Blends to try:
Tea Tree 12 drops, Lavender 8 drops
Thieves Essential Oil Blend: 20 drops
Purification Essential Oil Blend: 20 drops
Eucalyptus Radiata 10 drops Lemon 10 drops
Lemon: 20 drops
Lavender: 20 drops

I hope that you and your family stay safe during this uncertain time.  

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