I remember several months ago, when the pandemic first hit, hand sanitizer was as difficult to find as toilet paper. Finding a good DIY hand sanitizer recipe was a must.
Hand washing continues to be one of the most effective tools in our arsenal to avoid contracting and spreading the disease. There are so many DIY recipes out there for soap, sanitizer, and other cleaning remedies that it can be hard to find one that really works!
The Power of Washing Hands
The one of the best ways to prevent the spread of disease is hand washing. By now, everyone has heard how important it is that we wash our hands for 20 seconds. But with all of the bacteria and viruses out there, why does good, old fashioned hand washing work?
Professor Bryan Dickenson of the University of Chicago says, ““Think about how soap can take grease or oil stains off your clothes, make them dissolve and wash away. This is because soaps are amphiphilic, meaning they can interact both with water and lipid phases of solutions. It’s the same idea.”
Washing your hands with regular soap (it doesn’t even have to be the antibacterial kind) and water of any temperature for at least 20 seconds breaks down the bacteria and viruses that linger on your skin.
What To Do If You Can’t Wash Your Hands
I personally love my homemade antibacterial foaming hand soap that I keep at the sink, and I use it often. But when you’re out and about, hand washing with soap and water isn’t always possible. In those situations, DIY hand sanitizer is a good alternative!
Those little hand sanitizer bottles at the grocery store checkout stand are convenient, but they’re pretty small and don’t last very long. Before you know it, you’re throwing away the little plastic bottle and buying another one! So I wanted to come up with a DIY hand sanitizer that I could make and use to refill one small bottle as needed, and reduce that unnecessary waste. And not only does this DIY hand sanitizer recipe reduce waste, it also allows me to control the ingredients that go into it.
I started doing some research, and I quickly found out that it was hard to find a hand sanitizer recipe online without using rubbing alcohol as the main ingredient. Witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide, and rubbing alcohol are powerful cleansers and make for an effective hand sanitizer, but over time bacteria can become immune to alcohol-based sanitizers. And no one wants that!
Then I came across an article by a pediatrician in New Jersey who recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains essential oils INSTEAD of isopropyl alcohol. As an avid user of essential oils, I was eager to give it a try! So I decided to use a blend of essential oils that is based on the mythical “thieves’ blend”. This blend has been used for centuries as a way to ward off disease and sickness, thanks to its antibacterial and anti-viral properties.
I have to say, I’ve been really enjoying using this all-natural homemade sanitizer! It is much less drying on my hands than the alcohol kind, and it smells so clean and fresh!
Here’s how you can make it at home.
Alcohol-Free DIY Hand Sanitizer
- 6 ounces distilled water
- 2 Tbsp aloe vera gel (or fresh aloe vera if you have it)
- 60 drops Defend Essential Oil Blend
Start with a clean hand sanitizer bottle, mason jar, or empty dish soap bottle. (I don’t recommend a spray bottle, since the gel is too thick.)
Add the water, aloe vera gel, and the essential oils to the bottle. Replace the lid on the bottle and shake well.
To use it, squeeze a small amount of this homemade hand sanitizer onto your hands and rub them together. Repeat as needed.
When soap and water aren’t available, mix yourself up a batch of this sweet-smelling and sanitizing gel, and you’ll be good to go!
A Final Word On Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers
I am not opposed to alcohol-based hand sanitizers, nor am I discounting their effectiveness. Homemade ones can be a bit tricky though. The CDC recommends using sanitizers with at least 60 percent alcohol, but many DIY recipes dilute the effectiveness with other ingredients.
Always wash your hands when possible! And if you can’t, keep a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you, but don’t use it too often. For regular everyday use, use my sweet-smelling, alcohol-free DIY hand sanitizer.