Do you ever wonder if there is a better, more natural alternative to hand sanitizer? I sure did. It’s one of those convenience items we have grown used to. But while I appreciate it’s portability and ease of use, I never cared for the drying effect it had on my hands. So, as the dyed in the wool DIY’er that I am, I set out to create a recipe that works well and is easy on the hands. And today, I would like to share with you how to make hand sanitizer without alcohol. The latter turns out to be the main culprit when it comes to the drying effects of commercially available hand sanitzer gel.
Nothing, even store bought sanitizers, will work as well as a good cleaning with soap and water. They “sanitize” but they do not disinfect. But it still provides a little extra protection, especially during cold and flu season.
During my research I found a number of recipes that sounded pretty good. But many of them yielded way too little for use at our house and quite a few still contained the dreaded rubbing alcohol. After surprisingly little trial and error, today’s recipe was the result and we’ve been putting it to good use at our house ever since.
As with all my skin and body care recipes I aimed to use only the most skin friendly ingredients. And each one of them plays an important role, as you will see in a moment.
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HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HAND SANITIZER WITHOUT ALCOHOL
Let’s start with the equipment needed:
You can use a regular soap pump dispenser for this and chances are you already have all the tools on hand!
The cute bowls in the picture above and the little sparkly spatula are from Walmart, sold in stores only:)
Here are the ingredients:
All of the ingredients listed here are readily available at stores like Walmart, drugstore chains and health food stores. I listed links for your convenience, but you will find they generally run much cheaper in stores than they do online.
Before I move on to the actual recipe I would like to share a little information on each ingredient and the role it plays in this recipe.
#1. ALOE VERA GEL
Aloe vera is a trusted and proven skin care ingredient that has been used for centuries. Aloe vera has well documented curative, therapeutic and antibacterial properties that make it a perfect base for this gel based hand sanitizer recipe. It’s common uses include, but are not limited to: soothing sunburns and insect bites, relieve itching and chafing. It is well tolerated and readily available. You can read up on it’s many uses as well as acutal documentation and research findings at the National Institute of Health website.
I always keep an aloe vera plant of hand. They are easy to grow, look lovely, even cat proof! And if you have a scrape or burn, you can just cut a leaf off and squeeze the gel from inside to apply directly on your skin. Doesn’t get any more natural than that!
#2. WITCH HAZEL
The North American Virginian Witch Hazel (Hamamelis Virginiana) plant’s bark and leaves yield a strong antioxidant and astringent. In use for centuries, witch hazel is frequently applies as a remedy for: acne, psoriasis, eczema, aftershave treatments, ingrown nails, cracked or blistered skin and insect bites. Unlike rubbing alcohol, which tends to be very drying to skin, witch hazel is soothing. It also aids the even dispersal of ingredients in this and other recipes. You can use witch hazel as a gentle skin toner all on its own. And did you know it is a main ingredient in most hemorrhoid remedies? A very versatile ingredient indeed! We always have some on hand at our house.
Here are the aloe vera gel and witch hazel I used in my recipe:
#3. JOJOBA OIL
Adding as many moisturizing ingredients as possible was important for this recipe. If your poor hands are rough and dry, you will really appreciate added moisture. Jojoba oil fit the bill perfectly. A relatively new commercial crop, jojoba oil is extracted from the seeds of the evergreen Simmondsia chinensis shrub native to the Southwest and North Western Mexico. Check out these links if you are interested in learning more about the many skin benefits of jojoba as well as the history of use and how the oil is won.
Like aloe vera and witch hazel jojoba is a star all on its own, with skin benefits and properties including: moisturizing, antibacterial, antioxidant, noncomedogenic, hypoallergenic, oil controlling, wound healing, scar diminishing, dry skin therapy, sunburns, fine lines and wrinkles…
Personally, I love to use plain jojoba oil to remove my eye makeup as well as oil cleansing.
#4. ESSENTIAL OILS -THERAPEUTIC GRADE
The final ingredient adds yet more antibacterial action and some pleasant all natural scent. A number of different essential oils have antibacterial qualities such as tea tree (melaleuca), lavender, lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint, orange, lemon citronella and geranium. In my recipe I use a couple of blends as well (Thieves and Purification). The beauty is that you can create your very own personalized scent from a combination of any of the oils mentioned here! All that and no nasty chemical mystery fragrance. I have used many different brands of essential oils through the years, but have never found any that were a better quality than Young Living’s therapeutic grade oils. The choice is up to you, but they are definitely worth a try.
AND NOW ON TO THE RECIPE:
To make your own hand sanitizer (how cool is that?) you will need to combine in a bowl:
- 1 cup pure aloe vera gel
- 1/4 cup witch hazel
- 1 tsp jojoba oil
- a total of 10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice – lemon, lavender & thieves (5 drops each) or tea tree, thieves and purification (5 drops each)
Gently stir until fully combined. The mixture will be smooth and take on a slight white tinge.
After all ingredients are thoroughly mixed and combined, fill the hand sanitizer into a pump dispenser or several small reuseable silicone tubes. This recipe makes exactly the right amount to fill a tall quilted jelly mason jar. Store any unused mixture in a glas jar in the fridge.
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Helpful Hints and Suggestions:
I love using mason jars fitted with a pump, because they have a wide mouth and are easy to fill. To fill a bottle with a narrower neck, put hand sanitizer mixture into a ziploc baggie, close the top completely and cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners of the bag. This allows you to pipe the mixture into a smaller opening without making a mess. It’s just like piping frosting onto a cupcake!
If you opt for citrus oils in your family, be sure not to store your hand sanitizer gel in plastic. Citrus oils will degrade plastic.
Hand sanitizer makes a great gift any time of the year! Just divide it up into several little personalized bottles for your friends.
Don’t forget to pack your homemade hand sanitizer on your next camping trip as a simple and natural way to keep your hands clean.
Squirt about a pea size amount of your homemade hand sanitizer into your palm and rub in thoroughly until dry. A little goes a long way and it dries quickly. Keep a bottle in each bathroom. It makes a lovely moisturizer after washing your hands, too! I love using it that way to make sure my hands are extra clean. And be sure to always keep a little tube handy in your purse when you’re out and about and don’t have access to a sink.
While even frequent handwashing and using hand sanitizers is no guarantee that you won’t get sick this cold and flu season, it is one of the best methods for reducing your risk. And remember to sneeze into your elbow or shoulder!
If you are looking for more homemade health and beauty recipes, be sure to check out these posts:
Hope you stay healthy and safe this Winter and throughout the year!