With health concerns sweeping the globe, hand hygiene has never been so imperative.
Store-bought hand sanitiser has suddenly become a hot commodity... but there are many reasons why making your own home-made hand sanitiser can be much better than the store-bought stuff.
Remember: hand sanitisers are a quick and easy hygiene solution but washing your hands with water and soap is the most effective disinfectant. Watch this video or read this article if you'd like to know the science behind how soap and water deactivate viruses [7,8]. You can also check out our Multi-Purpose Liquid Cleaner and liquid hand soap recipes to make your own Earth-friendly soap from soap berries.
Toxins in Hand Sanitiser
Conventional hand sanitisers do their job at eradicating harmful microbes but at what cost? Almost all common brands contain toxic chemical ingredients including parabens, petrochemicals, trienthanolamine, phenoxyethanol, ammonia, and synthetic fragrances , just to name a few. These are a collection of endocrine disruptors, carcinogens, reproductive toxins, and even immune toxins (what?!). We're supposed to be using these products to protect our health and yet many of the ingredients can cause thyroid disorders, infertility, and cancer. Take a look at this article for a more detailed list of toxic ingredients and brands to watch out for.
Many hand sanitiser ingredients are also environmental toxins; harming life and beneficial microbes when the chemicals find their way into our soils, waterways, and oceans.
You Can Make Your Own Hand Sanitiser That Is Just As Effective
You don't need the toxins to make an effective hand sanitiser! By making your own, you can eliminate the health and environmental risks of toxic ingredients. Plus, you can save money and reduce waste by using a DIY recipe and sourcing low-waste ingredients.
Below, we share two different hand sanitiser recipes that are toxic-free, better for your health and the Earth, and should be just as effective at eliminating harmful bacteria and viruses.
The active ingredient/s in DIY hand sanitisers can include alcohol and hydrogen peroxide. We recommend using pure essential oils in all the recipes below as they not only add a refreshing scent to your product but can also add extra antibacterial and antifungal properties .
How To Make Hand Sanitiser That Kills Corona Virus
Numerous studies have shown ethanol and hydrogen peroxide to be the most effective surface disinfectants to inactivate the COVID-19 virus . Making a product with 70% isopropyl rubbing alcohol or just 0.5% hydrogen peroxide should give you a coronavirus-safe hand sanitiser.
Essential oils add additional antimicrobial properties .
Using Essential Oils
Some of the most antiviral essential oils to choose are oregano, tea tree, and eucalyptus. Other antimicrobial essential oils include citronella, geranium, lemongrass, orange, patchouli, and peppermint. [2,3]
You can safely use up to a 2% essential oil dilution ratio . The recipes below (which use 30 drops of essential oils each) give about a 0.5% dilution ratio. You can safely add more essential oils if you'd like a stronger mix.
Some nice essential oil combinations include tea tree/lavender, tea tree/lavender/peppermint, eucalyptus/lavender etc.
If you do choose to use essential oils, your product should be stored in a dark glass bottle as they are light-sensitive.
All disinfectants, including essential oils, should be kept out of reach from children and pets.
Pets are especially sensitive to essential oils (particularly tea tree) and shouldn't be exposed to them .
Recipe #1: Hydrogen Peroxide Hand Sanitiser
Recipe from Hopeful Holistic
- 4 tbsp hydrogen peroxide (3% solution)
- 30 drop essential oils
- (Optional) 5 drops aloe vera
- (Optional) 5 drops vitamin E oil
- 1 cup purified/distilled water
Mix all ingredients except the water first and then add the water. Pour into spray bottles. Shake before using.
Spray on hands 2-3 times and rub in for at least 30 seconds.
Try to use within a month. If not using distilled water then store in fridge. Vitamin E acts as a preservative and moisturiser so your product will last longer if you add Vit E.
Store excess in fridge to use for refills.
Recipe #2: Alcohol Hand Sanitiser
Recipe adapted from Canadian Family
- 1 cup isopropyl rubbing alcohol
- 4 tbs aloe vera gel
- 30 drops essential oils
Shake well before using. Spray on hands 2-3 times and rub in for at least 30 seconds.
Store excess in fridge to use for refills.