DIY Hand Sanitizer and Disinfectant


Hand contact spreads 80% of infections. For each minute of the work day, you touch an average of 30 objects. There are over 20,000 germs on every square inch of your desk, which is almost 400 times the amount found on toilets. Approximately 3000 bacteria lurk on your hands. Women’s hands harbor a more diverse variety of microbes than those of men.

These unsettling statistics are enough to make germophobes out of us all. But, you can’t very well run to the bathroom every five minutes to wash up. That will get you an interesting reputation around the office. So save yourself some money and help the environment, too, by making your own sanitizers. These antiseptic gels can easily be concocted using basic household items.

In a small bowl, mix ¼ cup each of pure aloe vera gel and grain alcohol with 5 drops of tea tree essential oil. To make it smell less pungent, add 5 drops of your favorite fragrance oil. Using a funnel, pour this blend into a bottle small enough to stash in your purse. (Rinse out an empty tube of makeup or lotion to make use of waste.)

Now, what about your contaminated desk? Don’t even think about buying a can of Lysol! Here’s an all-natural alternative:

Pour ¼ cup each of tea tree essential oil, lavender essential oil and white vinegar into a spray bottle. Add 2 cups of distilled water and shake well. Clean your work space using this blend every evening before you go home to disinfect surfaces.

For more tips, check out Mike’s green guide to chemical-free cleaning.

Image: Weird Beard

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24 thoughts on “DIY Hand Sanitizer and Disinfectant

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  5. I never thought about making my own hand sanitizer. I love the fact that you can add your favorite essential oil so it will smell great. I don’t use hand sanitizer very often, but when I do the smell of it is quite off putting. It’ll be interesting to see how the homemade version will fare.
    Thanks for the article!

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  7. I understand why some of you are saying to add more alcohol to get to 60% but isn’t the purpose of the Tea Tree oil to also kill germs? What I mean is wouldn’t the addition of the oil make up for the lower alcohol content? I don’t know the answer but thought I would throw that out there. I think the articles that mention the 60% alcohol are talking about products that don’t have any other germ killers like Tea Tree oil in them.

    I also agree with adding Lavender oil.

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  11. @PBM- Isopropyl alcohol that you buy in stores is already diluted to 70% alcohol. Grain alcohol is pure 100%. So using isopropyl would distort the recipe…
    and I already agree with others that the dilution in the recipe is a little too weak to be effective.

    But then again, I’m not a fan of hand sanitizers to begin with!

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  13. Your recipe calls for grain alcohol. This is not the same as the readily available isopropyl alcohol. Can isopropyl be used in place of the grain alcohol?

  14. Are you sure about the measurements, 1/4 cup of any essential oil is wildly expensive, and I too agree about the ration of alocohol being a bit low.

  15. I’d tend to agree that the alcohol content in this mixture is way too low. I’d go 2:1 Alcohol:Aloe to make sure it works. I’d also recommend adding not only Tea Tree Oil, but Lavender Oil to the hand sanitizer, as it will add to the antibacterial/antimicrobial power of the mixture.

    Just remember not to overdo any hand sanitizer, because they can all harm the skin on your hands if you use them too often.

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  19. I know this is a late comment but since this was recently linked to via LifeHacker I just wanted to point this out:

    Unless your aloe vera gel has a significant quantity of alcohol in it, this concoction not only is not going to cut it, but it could make things worse.

    You need at least 60% alcohol concentration to actually be able to kill the germs in ‘significant’ quantities. So I’d suggest doing a 1/4 cup aloe and 1/3 cup of alcohol + extra generous dollup on top of that (1/4th cup + 1/3rd cup should come up to about 57% concentration, your dollup should be enough to cover the rest)

    Here is an old NY Times article on it the topic.

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  23. Great ideas and recipes! Where do you but Tea Tree Oil in larger quantities?

  24. Great tips! I am a big fan of aloe vera, and I am involved in the manufacturing of products containing the highest amounts of aloe vera.

    Always remember, if you don’t have all of the ingredients at home to make your own mixture, purchase a product with the highest amount of aloe vera content, wouldn’t you agree?

    Nature’s Factory Products


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