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How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer Using Aloe Vera Gel

March 23, 2020

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer Using Aloe Vera Gel

Hand sanitizer is always a great essential to carry with you in your bag. When you’re out running errands, or are traveling and don’t have access to soap and water it can be a lifesaver. Hand sanitizer can be an effective option to kill bacteria, decreasing your risk of getting sick and spreading germs to others.

While hand sanitizer is sold in stores, it’s actually possible to make it at home with just a few simple ingredients—some of which you might already have! With the recent rise of COVID-19, you’ve probably noticed that hand sanitizer is in short supply, so making your own has become an increasingly popular option.

Keep reading to learn how to make your own hand sanitizer using aloe vera gel. We're also looking at ways you can proactively protect yourself from viruses like COVID-19. 

Before We Start

While hand sanitizer is an incredible invention, it’s important to know that the best way to keep your hands clean is by washing with traditional soap and water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there is a specific way to wash your hands with soap and water:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold temperature).
  2. Turn off the faucet and apply soap.
  3. Rub your hands together to form a lather. Make sure to get the backs of your hands, under your nails and between your fingers.
  4. Scrub your hands together for at least 20 seconds.
  5. Rinse your hands thoroughly under running water.
  6. Dry your hands using a clean towel (you may also air dry them).

While soap and water is certainly the most effective way to clean your hands, it may not always be available to you. Using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be an effective way to kill germs, according to the CDC.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer at Home

Making your own hand sanitizer might be easier than you think. However, it’s important to ensure you’re using the right ingredients and measurements to create a formula that’s both safe and effective.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Making your own hand sanitizer requires just three simple ingredients. These ingredients are very affordable and can be found in most stores or even ordered online through a site like Amazon. You might even have them in your home already!

  • Isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99% alcohol volume)
  • Aloe vera gel (make sure to use a natural, pure aloe vera gel like this one by Herbal Dynamics Beauty)
  • An essential oil of your choice—it could be lavender oil, peppermint oil or even tea tree oil

In addition to these ingredients, you’ll also need a funnel, bottle to pour your hand sanitizer into as well as a clean bowl and spoon (or any kind of mixing utensil) to create your mixture. The key to making hand sanitizer that is effective is to ensure you have the right ratio of ingredients. As stated previously, the CDC suggests keeping the alcohol content around 60%.

The Recipe

Be sure to measure out each ingredient carefully:

  • ¾ cup isopropyl or rubbing alcohol
  • ¼ cup aloe vera gel
  • 10-15 drops essential oil

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Use a spoon (or any utensil of your choice) to mix all ingredients together evenly. It should blend together to become a gel-like consistency.
  3. Using your funnel, pour the mixture into a clean, empty bottle of your choice. Amazon has a lot of great options for bottles, like this one.

Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel

While we know that rubbing alcohol kills germs, you might be wondering, “Why use aloe vera gel and essential oils?”

Alcohol can be very drying to the skin, so aloe vera helps to combat some of this harshness. Once aloe vera gel has dried on the skin, it acts as a protective barrier that helps to keep the moisture locked in. If you’re using hand sanitizer multiple times a day, aloe vera can help to save the skin on your hands from drying and cracking.

In addition to this, aloe vera provides a variety of other benefits to the skin, including:

  • Aloe vera contains various beneficial compounds like vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.
  • The plant has antibacterial properties that can help prevent the growth of harmful types of bacteria.
  • Aloe vera contains antioxidants—which help to protect the skin by reducing or preventing the production of free radicals, harmful atoms or groups of atoms that can damage skin cells.
  • Aloe has critical minerals and micronutrients that help to keep the body healthy, such as magnesium, which is a mineral known to combat stress.
  • Aloe vera has even been used to treat acne, facial eczema, and provide sunburn relief.

The list of benefits of aloe vera goes on and on, which is why this ingredient is commonly found in skincare products. Aloe vera has been known to increase collagen production, which helps to reduce the look of wrinkles and promote youthful, radiant skin. When searching the market, you’ll often see aloe listed as a key ingredient in eye creams, serums, toners, moisturizers, body butters and more.

So why use essential oils? Essential oils have a variety of benefits. Lavender is known for its relaxing effects, and the invigorating properties of peppermint oil have made it known for its energizing effects. When it comes to hand sanitizer, essential oils can add a refreshing, pleasant scent.

Things to Keep in Mind

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when making hand sanitizer at home: 

  • Ensure the area you’re making the hand sanitizer in is clean. Wipe down the area with a disinfectant wipe and ensure all of the utensils you’re using are clean.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water before making the hand sanitizer.
  • Ensure you’re using the right type of alcohol and that it’s not diluted.
  • Be careful when handling the ingredients, especially if children are around. Try not to touch the ingredients until they are mixed together and ready to be used.
  • Do not touch your face while creating your mixture.

Is DIY Hand Sanitizer Safe?

Typically, it’s best to buy your hand sanitizer from a trusted brand like Purrell at the store. However, in the case of a shortage, homemade hand sanitizer can be an effective option.

If you decide to make your own hand sanitizer, ensure you are using the right ingredients and the correct amount of each ingredient to avoid skin irritation or any kind of chemical reaction. Also keep in mind that DIY hand sanitizer is not recommended for use on children, as their skin is much more sensitive.

Is Homemade Hand Sanitizer Effective?

According to the CDC, hand sanitizers may not be effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy. Hand sanitizer is more effective in settings such as doctors’ offices or hospitals, where hands can come in contact with germs but do not become visibly soiled.

Additionally, hand sanitizers may not remove harmful chemicals like pesticides and heavy metals. In these cases, it’s always best to use soap and water. 

Finally, when it comes to the effectiveness of hand sanitizer, studies show that using sanitizers with an alcohol concentration of at least 60% are the most effective at killing germs. Sanitizers with a lower concentration may not work to kill many types of germs, and may only reduce the growth of germs rather than killing them completely.

How to Use Hand Sanitizer

When using hand sanitizer, apply the product to the palm of your hand and rub your hands together, ensuring to spread the product evenly. Don't forget to coat your fingers and the back of your hands, too. Allow your hands to dry completely. The amount of sanitizer to use will vary based on the product, so always check the label. If you’re using DIY sanitizer, apply around a dime-sized amount.

Hand Sanitizer vs. Hand Washing

So how can you know when to wash your hands with soap and water vs. use sanitizer?

As a general rule of thumb, it’s always best to wash your hands with soap and water when you can. And, be sure to wash every part of your hands and palms -- it should take at least 20 minutes! According to the CDC’s Handwashing and Hand Sanitizer Use guide, soap and water are necessary in the following scenarios:

  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
  • When treating a cut or wound
  • Before eating
  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • After using the restroom
  • If your hands are visibly dirty

If you find yourself in any of the above scenarios and do not have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is better than doing nothing at all. Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and follow up by washing with soap and water when you can.

Tips for Protecting Yourself from Viruses

How can you protect yourself from viruses like COVID-19? The following steps are recommended by the CDC:

  • Wash your hands often—either with soap and water for 20 seconds if available or hand sanitizer
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with those who are sick
  • Avoid large crowds if COVID-19 is spreading in your community
  • If you are sick or not feeling well, stay home and avoid contact with others
  • Carry a tissue with you at all times to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing
  • Throw away used tissues and immediately and wash your hands after coughing or sneezing
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces on a daily basis, such as countertops, tables, desks, light switches, faucets, door handles, keyboards, sinks, etc. This includes your phone!

When All Is Said and Done…

It’s always wise to keep hand sanitizer with you—whether it’s store-bought or homemade. Germs are everywhere, so get into the habit of sanitizing your hands regularly throughout your day. It’s one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick!

Learn More About the Benefits of Aloe Vera Gel