· Natural Remedies · DIY Hand Sanitizer To Fight Germs On The Go

DIY Hand Sanitizer To Fight Germs On The Go

DIY Hand Sanitizer

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!

Related: How To Make A Natural Foaming Hand Soap That Won’t Dry Out Your Skin

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.

DIY Hand Sanitizer

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.

Related: 13 Grimy Things You Need To Wash Your Hands After Touching

DIY Hand Sanitizer

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


DIY Hand Sanitizer


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!

DIY Hand Sanitizer

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.

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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  • We actually with Covid try to keep hand sanitizer pumps near us at work. My main problem is when you use it as often as we do the alcohol can be very irritating to my skin . I finally had to buy a small bottle of Dove hand sanitizer for when my hands start getting all irritated. I will have to see if I can refill my moisturizing formula with this. It just didn’t work for refilling my Bath & Body works tiny purse sanitizer.

  • Hello everyone! I am reading these comments and they are from 3 years ago. Now, as I come here today, it is March 12, 2021, and this particular post is more fitting than when it was originally printed! We are at the tail-end (HOPEFULLY!!) of a global pandemic involving COVID19. Hand sanitizer is quite a commodity, but rather than stocking up on bottles of store sanitizers that kill the germs and my skin along with it, I’m going to make my own! Just as effective but way nicer to my hands! Thanks, Jillee. For the ideas, recipes, and for caring enough about all of us to make us a priority in your life. May God bless you and all of my online Jillee-family! Take care and stay safe…gotta go make this hand sanitizer now!! :-)

  • I can’t wait to try this!! I am currently on a medication that requires me to avoid ALL types of alcohol. This will be a GREAT substitute. I can’t wait to go home and try it! Thank you

  • Your idea gave me another idea…my husband had neck surgery less than a year ago and always seems to complain of the scar being tight. So, I put some of the Aloe gel in a small container and added some Argan oil (15 drops to a very small, maybe 1 ounce container of Aloe). I had him try it and he loved it! Just wanted to share this with you.

      • I did that, thanks. Really like this. My daughter works at a fast food place as a closer and I made her a bunch to help her avoid all the alcohol in the hand sanitizers that they use. Thanks for this recipe.

  • Hi, can you please send me the article about the pediatrician in New Jersey who recommends using a hand sanitizer that contains essential oils INSTEAD of alcohol? Thanks in advance.

  • I do use the small bottle but I refill them from a big pump bottle in the kitchen. I’d like to try your recipe but I’m sure I’d get interrupted and mess up along the way, counting out 60 drops. :-) How much is that in ounces or metric equivilent.

  • I have been using thieves essirial oil for years and it really helps with the cold and flu season. I rub it on the bottom of my feet. Never thought of using it as a hand sanitizer. Thank you for the idea.

  • I’m glad to see the tip about doing it for the tiny 2 ounce bottles.Thats about the size of my little bottle that hooks onto to my purse. I’m glad to see a formula for refilling those tiny bottles.

  • I haven’t used Shield, but have used Thieves in my store bought plain hand sanitizer. Yes, the alcohol kind. It smells wonderful. I will be trying this kind of hand sanitizer.
    Jillee, I love all of your posts, and save all that interest me (most of them).

  • I love hand sanitizers. I am retired now and I do a lot of subbing at the local school. Of course I carry something with me all the time. One I really like and is really great for children is aloe vera gel, cedarwood (Juniperus virginana), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and orange (Citrus sinensis). I put this in a 2 oz spray bottle with 2 drops of the first two and 4 drops of tea tree then 5 drops of orange. It can also go into a squeeze bottle. Very good for hands also.

  • Great idea. I loved the previous version,but it didn’t work for refilling. my tiny hand sanitizers. Also when you work closely with the public in retail it’s not always possible., We dp keep bottles by the registers, I’ve always kept a small bottle in my pocket, for when it’s not possible to reach it. I love having a sanitizer with extra protection. People are always coming in when they are sick.

  • Thank you, thank you! I will love having this in my car to use, especially after I pump gas. I have to work to keep the eczema on my hands under control and this will help, a lot!

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