If you’re finding it difficult to get your hands on store bought hand sanitizer right now, don’t fret. Here’s how you can make your own natural hand sanitizer with just a few basic ingredients.
You’ll just need: ethanol, unscented witch hazel, and essential oils.
Why We Use Witch Hazel
Witch hazel is a plant with many medicinal properties, and of the many different species of witch hazel, the one most commonly used for medicine is the Hamamelis virginiana. Its leaves and bark are used for making tea ointments.
The health benefits of witch hazel include its ability to help reduce inflammation and reduce skin irritation. Studies have also found that witch hazel helps in fighting off certain viral infections, which is why we use it to complement the ethanol in this hand sanitizer recipe.
Reminder: Nothing Beats Washing Your Hands
Hand sanitizer should be a last resort – If there’s no soap and clean water around, use it. However, it won’t work as well as washing your hands, which is one of the best ways of protecting yourself from germs and viruses.
Helpful Tips for Making Your Own Hand Sanitizer
- The main rule of thumb is to use 60% of ethanol to 40% witch hazel for you sanitizer to be affective. Then you’re free to play around with the essential oils with the scents you find most appealing.
- Feel free to swap out the lavender and sage essential oil combination for other combinations such as lemon and rosemary, and orange and mint in equal quantities.
- To avoid contaminating your recipe, make sure to disinfect any tools you’re using.
- The WHO recommends letting your solution sit for 72 hours before use. This lets the sanitizer kill any existing germs in the bottle or alcohol.
- You can swap witch hazel with aloe vera (this will make the sanitizer less drying and more moisturizing) at a 3:1 ratio. However, note that aloe vera goes bad quickly (without the use of harsh chemicals), in about 3-4 days, so this might not be the most practical option.
How to Use Hand Sanitizer
Spray the hand sanitizer into the palm of one hand and rub over the entire surface of your hands, fingers, and wrists. Do this for at least 60 seconds (the amount of time it takes to kill most germs) or until your hands are dry.
- 1 ½ cups ethanol
- 1 cup unscented witch hazel
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
- 5 drops sage essential oil
- Combine the ethanol, witch hazel, and the essential oils in a mixing bowl. Mix well to combine.
- Transfer to a spray bottle.
If you’re looking to make your own homemade all-purpose cleaner without the icky chemicals, too, we have an easy and effective recipe for you here.