How to make hand sanitizer: an easy DIY to help prevent the spread of Covid

There may be more necessary health items on the shelves right now, but if you know how to make hand sanitizer at home, there's never a risk of running out!

people using DIY hand sanitizer
(Image credit: Elizaveta Galitckaia, Shutterstock)

Learn how to make hand sanitizer yourself and not only will you help keep yourself and others protected from the spread of Covid-19, and other nasty colds going around, but you'll also save cash and unnecessary trips to the shops, in these times of uncertainty.

We all remember the battle to get your hands on general health and some staple food items at the start of the epidemic. Thankfully, things have calmed down a little, but still, at Real Homes we are all about being resourceful so we've put together this easy DIY hand sanitizer recipe.

This is a really straightforward and cheap method that has actually been recommended by the World Health Organization, for more than 10 years. And, in addition we've included a natural hand sanitizer recipe for those that prefer to use less harsh ingredients. So read on for the full how-to, and check out our cleaning pages for more effective DIY cleaning remedies.

DIY hand sanitizer recipe

The World Health Organization (WHO) has used this hand sanitizer recipe for more than a decade, and calls alcohol-based hand sanitizers like this one, "the only known means for rapidly and effectively inactivating a wide array of potentially harmful microorganisms on hands."

Hand sanitizer ingredients

Because the WHO hand sanitizer recipe is for 10L, we suggest dividing the ingredient measurements by 10. We've shown quantities for both large and small batches below. 

  • Ethanol 96% or isopropyl alcohol 99.8%: 8,333ml / 833ml if dividing 
  • Hydrogen peroxide 3%: 417ml / 41ml if dividing
  • Glycerol 98%: 145ml / 14.5ml if dividing

DIY hand sanitizer: supplies

  • Glass or stainless steel tanks or lidded jugs
  • Wooden or metal spoons for mixing 
  • Measuring cups
  • Plastic or metal funnel
  • An alcoholometer: the temperature scale is at the bottom and the ethanol concentration (percentage v/v) at the top
  • Glass pump bottles in varying sizes for storage and travel.

DIY hand sanitizer: steps

1. Pour alcohol for the recipe into tank or bottle.

2. Use funnel to add hydrogen peroxide.

3. Rinse funnel with cold water. While funnel is still wet, pour glycerin through funnel into mixture (the water helps prevent glycerin from sticking to the funnel).

4. Top tank or bottle to 10L mark (or to 1L mark if dividing) with sterilized water.

5. Quickly cap jug or bottle to prevent alcohol evaporation.

6. Shake or stir to combine ingredients.

7. Immediately pour into storage bottles.

8. Let the mixture sit for 72 hours to kill any spores present in alcohol or storage tank.

9. Use alcoholmeter to measure alcohol content in hand sanitizer if desired (hand sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol content to be effective). 

Natural hand sanitizer

If you're looking for a more natural hand sanitizer, then give this alternative method a try. This recipe will yield about 200ml which is ideal for a home pump or for a few small bottles to take with you day to day. The supplies list will remain the same.

Natural hand sanitizer ingredients

  • 150ml rubbing alcohol (minimum 70% or higher)
  • 2tbsp aloe vera (adjust this depending on the alcohol strength)
  • 10-15 drops of a naturally antibacterial essential oil such as tea tree, orange or lemon
  • A word of caution: check with a health specialist to see that you can use essential oils as they are potent. Those that are pregnant should not use essential oils.

DIY natural hand sanitizer: steps

  • Simply combine all the ingredients together with a sterilised spoon or other mixing aid.
  • Use a funnel to pour the mixture into your vessels and they are ready to use.

Want to buy hand sanitizer? These products are in stock

Carex Complete Aloe Vera Hand Wash 250ml | £19.99 for six packs from Amazon
It's pretty hard to find an antibacterial handwash that doesn't come in a large pack right now, especially if you don't fancy spending a tenner on one bottle. Buy six bottles of this handwash for £19.99 – that's just over £3 a pop – for peace of mind that your hands are germ-free. It kills 99.9 per cent of bacteria...View Deal

Petansy 2 Pack Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer, £11.32
Yes it is still in stock on Amazon. Keep one in your bag for when you leave home, but dot them around your house too and keep one by each sink. View Deal

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice.

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