Fight Flu Season! Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

alcohol free hand sanitizer (Update on a post originally written on December 31, 2011)

Since we are smack dab in the middle of flu season…I think we are all more mindful of how important it is to wash our hands….OFTEN! I personally love my homemade foaming hand soap I keep at the sink, and use it OFTEN. But soap and water hand washing isn’t always possible. In those circumstances, a hand sanitizer is a good alternative.

If you’re like me, you are constantly buying those little bottles at the checkout stand at the grocery store and tucking them in your purse. But since they are so small and don’t last long….you are also constantly throwing the plastic bottle away and buying another one.

This is where the homemade version makes so much sense. You control the ingredients AND the plastic that you throw away.

Most “recipes” you find online will be some combination of alcohol and aloe vera gel…but I recently ran across an online article about a pediatrician in New Jersey who recommends hand sanitizer utilizing essential oils INSTEAD of alcohol because of their antibacterial properties and because bacteria can become immune to alcohol-based sanitizers.

This is his formula:

Alcohol-Free Homemade Hand Sanitizer

  • Start with a recycled hand sanitizer bottle or liquid soap bottle
  • Fill it 2/3 of the way with water
  • Add 1 Tablespoon of aloe vera gel
  • 10 drops each of the following oils: lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and clove bud.
  • Top off the bottle with water and shake it up. Spray onto hands (3-5 sprays) and massage the spray into hands for 5-10 seconds.


alcohol free hand sanitizer


If you don’t have access to these particular oils…don’t despair…you can still make your own hand sanitizer using what you have and it will still be far superior to anything bought in the store.

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

  • 1/3 cup of Aloe Vera Gel
  • 2/3 cup of Rubbing Alcohol
  • 8-10 drops of essential oil (such as lavender, lemon, peppermint, etc. Whatever you have/like.)
  • Recycled hand sanitizer or liquid soap bottle

Measure out ingredients into a bowl. Stir. Pour into empty bottle. Screw the pump back on. Shake.


alcohol free hand sanitizer

And finally….when you do need to BUY, rather than MAKE, a hand sanitizer, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers should contain at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective in killing germs.
  • Look for natural ingredients, including witch hazel and antibiotic essential oils, such as lavender, tea tree, rosemary and thyme.
  • Alcohol-based hand sanitizers dry out your skin, so it’s important to moisturize, too.
  • Hand sanitizer doesn’t work very well if you have dirt on your hands; the grime keeps it from reaching to your skin. So when your hands are dirty, find a sink and wash them.
  • Many “soaps” in public restrooms are actually detergents. Many commercial soaps also contain triclosan and synthetic fragrances. To combat this, carry a bar of fragrance-free soap, or a little bottle of castile soap with you.

NOW we are all set to fight germs through the nasty flu season!


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  1. PS_Iloveyou says

    Oh that is such a neat idea! I'm going to give it shot here soon.

    On a P.S. note I cringed when I heard you were putting something like our faucet in the trash can! I know yours was pretty beat up but in the future for all you do it yourself-ers out there please check to see if your local Habitat for Humanity has a Re-Store in your area. They take old fixtures, appliances, building materials, etc. to help raise money for their projects. Even the especially beat up stuff they take and get a tax write off for properly recycling the items.

    Just found your site today via Pinterest and I'm totally enamored! Thanks for doing such a wonderful job for all us blog readers out here!

  2. Jill Nystul says

    Awwww….now I feel bad. :-( I had no idea anyone would want our faucet that was leaking like a sieve and shooting out water every which way! Ah well….thanks for the information for next time!
    Thank you for the kind words and for stopping by…hope you keep coming back! :-)

  3. Anonymous says

    We placed a hot water dispenser in place of the soap dispenser. I can't imagine my life without it now. It's perfect for cups of hot chocolate for the kids, tea for me, hot water when a recipe calls for it without having to heat it up. It's wonderful.

  4. Rebeca @ The Average Parent says

    I've always read that thyme is the best essential oil to use for killing germs. That's what CleanWell uses in all of their products. It's pricey though, so I'm not sure how cost effective it would be.

  5. Linda says

    with the ‘superbugs’ we have today like MRSA, VRSA, and others, you have to very careful of what you use on them. This will probably work for the normal bacteria but if you are dealing with a bug that is stronger, please use the proper product.

  6. Kelsie says

    I think this is a good idea, but I would try to use “real” aloe. There is a big difference between the brand you used and real, from the plant, aloe. Plus, that kind has fillers.

  7. Ryann says

    @Linda—Just to let you know doTERRA’s Melaleuca and Onguard essential oil have been proven to be very effective against MRSA. Antibiotics cannot kill it but these oils have been proven to kill MRSA. I would only use doTERRA essential oils though because they have no synthetics in as opposed to other essential oils out there. They are looking into putting doTERRA’s essential oils into hip and knee surgeries to keep MRSA from forming inside after surgeries. Thanks for sharing this info Jillee!

  8. Megan says

    Love your faucet – here is a tip from Megan . . . Keep your foaming hand wash and use your soap dispenser for DISH SOAP. It comes in really handy to do a quick sink of bottles, sippies or pans. Totally stole the idea from my mom but had to share as we too are loyal foaming soap users.


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