How to make your own hand sanitizer

It seems that the best way to keep your hands clean and virus-free is to wash them properly with soap and water. But if you can’t get to a sink, hand sanitizer will do to the trick (again — if used properly). Hand sanitizer remains in high demand, so you might want to whip up a batch on your own.

And if you can get your hands on the common ingredients needed, it’s really easy to make DIY hand sanitizer.

How to make your own hand sanitizer

This DIY hand sanitizer recipe (.pdf) comes straight from the World Health Organization. While it is designed for pharmacies that will be mass-producing the stuff, it’s easy to scale down the amounts for home use. In fact, Popular Science did just that. You’ll need to grab that PDF for the actual recipe. I don’t want to write it down here, only to have it change later and leave me offering spread bad advice. That said, it seems like a pretty well-established formula.

To make your own hand sanitizer, you need ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, plus hydrogen peroxide to do the actual bug killing. Then, you need glycerol, to turn it into a gel. Lastly, you need sterile (boiled and cooled, or distilled) water.


The alcohol is the part that does the work. The hydrogen peroxide is only there to kill any bacterial spores that may contaminate the end product.

You can also substitute “other emollients” in place of the glycerol in your homemade hand sanitizer. This is where you can add something so that the sanitizer doesn’t dry out your skin too much. Aloe vera gel is one suggestion. (That’s what Popular Science used.)

But really, soap and water is the best way to wash your hands (and maybe even your iPhone). It’s not only effective, but it’s cheap, you probably have plenty of it already. That means you can leave the supplies of sanitizer gel for folks who really need it.

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