How To Make Natural Moisturizing Hand Sanitizer

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How to Make Hand Sanitizer Homemade

Learn how to make DIY hand sanitizer that is natural and simple. This homemade hand sanitizer works, it saves money, and fights cold and flu!

Tip: check out our homemade baby wipes too!

How to Make Hand Sanitizer

As a former public school employee, hand sanitizer was a mainstay on my desk. (And in any other strategic location that might encourage students to use it when needed.) However, I had a love-hate relationship with this germ-fighting, often offensively-scented gel.

I typically didn’t have time for the necessary 30-second hand wash while working with kids, but knew I had touched something icky, gooey, and most definitely packed with tons of bacteria. Commercial hand sanitizers smell so strongly of chemicals that I can not have them on my hands all day. More importantly, I worried about the safety of these commercial formulas for myself and the kids.

The good news? There really is no need for your nose and eyes to burn every time you apply hand sanitizer, and this DIY formula won’t dry your hands out! Learn how to make DIY hand sanitizer that is non-chemical, and naturally scented. You can make our version of hand sanitizer right at home with powerful essential oils and a few other ingredients. The essential oils I chose to use boast the following beneficial properties: antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal.

* Tea tree oil has been found in clinical studies to kill most types of bacteria at a concentration of 0.5-1%. 

How to Make Hand Sanitizer Homemade

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

5 from 13 votes

Learn how to make DIY hand sanitizer that is natural and simple. This homemade hand sanitizer works, it saves money, and fights cold and flu!

Prep Time
5 minutes
Active Time
5 minutes
Total Time
10 minutes
4 ounces
Estimated Cost



  1. Add essential oils and Vitamin E oil to a small glass bowl or container and swirl to mix.
  2. Add alcohol to the oils and swirl again.
  3. Combine this mixture with the aloe vera gel and mix well.
  4. Shake gently before each use. (Sanitizer should last several months with the addition of Vitamin E and alcohol to help preserve.)
  5. Transfer hand sanitizer to small, clean squirt bottles. Also, use colored bottles like this so the essential oils in the recipe are not exposed to light. Finally, this recipe is perfect for throwing into a purse or a backpack!

Recipe Video


To make a hand sanitizer spray, simply use witch hazel instead of aloe vera gel in this recipe.

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Homemade Hand Sanitizer 1

Tips and warnings

The lavender is used in the recipe to round out the strong scent of the tea tree oil. If you’re not a fan of lavender, choose another antibacterial oil such as rosemary, sage, sandalwood, or peppermint. (where to buy 100% pure essential oils)

Always take care when handling essential oils. They are very concentrated, powerful plant extracts. If you are new to using essential oils you may want to test for any allergic reaction before slathering on this homemade hand sanitizer. As with any natural plant, family members could be allergic. For a simple patch test mix one drop of essential oil with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Rub a bit on the inside of your elbow, cover with a bandage, and wait 24 hours to see if there is any negative reaction.

Note: If you’ve been reading recent reports about how unhealthy the use of hand sanitizers can be, keep in mind that the danger exists in the chemicals used in commercial sanitizers. This homemade hand sanitizer recipe uses NONE of those harmful chemicals and relies on pure essential oils to kill germs. One of the unique qualities of essential oils is that they do not cause bacterial resistance like antibacterial chemicals, and are actually effective in killing strains of bacteria that have become resistant to our man-made medicines and chemicals. (source)

Sometimes it’s good to allow our bodies to encounter germs and strengthen our immune systems, but sometimes it’s nice to have a hand sanitizer available for emergencies. (Think dirty porta-potty or child next to you having a sneeze-fest.) In these cases, this gentle homemade hand sanitizer is one of the best alternatives to commercial brands.


About Betsy Jabs

Betsy holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a Master's degree in Counseling, and for nearly a decade worked as an elementary counselor. In 2011 she left her counseling career to pursue healthy living. She loves using DIY Natural as a way to educate people to depend on themselves to nourish their bodies and live happier healthier lives. Connect with Betsy on Facebookand Twitter.

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DISCLAIMER: Information on DIY Natural™ is not reviewed or endorsed by the FDA and is NOT intended to be substituted for the advice of your health care professional. If you rely solely upon this advice you do so at your own risk. Read full Disclaimer & Disclosure statements here.


  1. Debbie says

    What’s the next best thing if we can’t find the recommended grain alcohol if we can’t find 150 or 189/190 as per comments above?

    • Debbie says

      I also can’t nod rubbing alcohol anywhere…if anything it’ll be the grocery store quality stuff. I’m in MN where Everclear is illegal. I think Iowa has the 15, but 190 is illegal. I think I read that one can use gin?

  2. Adrienne says

    Hello – I was only able to find 50% rubbing alcohol, nothing higher. Any suggestions?

    Thanks – Adrienne

  3. Patricia Moore says

    Thank you for the recipe! I think I have all the ingredients right now. The only question I have concerns the tea tree oil. I have read several articles that tea tree oil can be hazardous to pets. With 3 4-legged children in cheap fur coats, I am concerned about this. Any information you can pass on with be greatly appreciated.

    • Peg says

      I made some using glycerin and alcohol with Vit E and lavender. It smells great and Purell has glycerin in it.

  4. Heidi says

    Locally I couldn’t find any aloe Vera gel…just the liquid you drink. Is that ok to use? Do I need to thicken it? Also is 80 proof vodka ok to use? That’s what I have on hand.
    Thanks for this great recipe!

    • Barb says

      Heidi, try the area where the suntan lotions are. Also, this week Target had large pump bottles of aloe vera gel, scented and unscented, near the pharmacy.

  5. vicki says

    Natural gin would seem to be another good alcohol choice with it’s juniper which is a natural disinfectant (and historical use for the same). I would probably also add a few drops of GSE

  6. Arthur W chigas says

    thank you for this hand sanitizer great recipe will be putting ths to use and tell others!!!Best Regards!!!

  7. Amylee says


    If I use the gel from the actual plant, should I need to consider a preservative? I would love for this to last longer than a week…. perhaps a month? If I do have to use a preservative, what would you recommend I add to this sanitizer without changing its function?

  8. Lea says

    Thank you Betsy. I’m pinning this. I would use witch hazel. But, is it OK to use rubbing alcohol if I don’t have witch hazel? Or is it best to use vodka? Thank you.

    • Matt Jabs says

      Rubbing alcohol will be fine if you’re only planning to use for a week or two but prolonged topical use is not recommended. For alcohol we use 75% (150 proof) grain alcohol like Everclear.

        • Dave says

          A solution of Everclear 150 (75% ethyl alcohol) diluted with 1 ounce of aloe vera, plus other liquids, works out to an alcohol content of less than 56%. Please consider using Everclear 189/190 instead.

  9. Amy says

    Hi. I like your recipe. I was wondering if it matters what brand of essential oil I use. I have the NOW brand, but don’t know if that is food safe, or whatever you call it. Since it will be on our hands and then we might eat something, does it matter? I also have a puppy that likes to lick! Also, can we use lavender only? (I don’t like the smell of Tea Tree)

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Amy,

      The brand does not matter, but the purity DOES. Look for essential oils that are 100% pure, and not diluted with other carrier oils. You can use lavender only, but it will not be as effective without the tea tree. It will still kill some germs though.

  10. Dr. Craig A. Maxwell says

    Great recipe for home-made hand sanitizer. It’s good to see information getting out there about the dangers of Triclosan. Hand sanitizer based on essential oils and natural alcohols can help wipe out germs safely without putting you at risk for antibiotic resistance. Keep up the great work, Betsy!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Thanks for your kind words! It’s true — our society has been so bombarded with promises of the effectiveness of things like Triclosan, but rarely educated on the multiple dangers. And instead of trusting in the natural alternatives, many consumers think that only products made in a lab will work. We work to help consumers move away from this mindset, and are so thrilled you enjoy our work! 🙂

  11. Rachel says

    I’m just starting the all-natural DIY and thought this would be a good product to start with. I have a 9mo baby and am nursing though, so not sure about the tea tree oil-been researching but can’t find anything definitive one way or the other…
    Also have a question about witch hazel. I bought a bottle at my local health food store called Thayers original witch hazel with aloe vera formula, got home and looked up this recipe again then realized this might not be okay to use. Should I return it and find something that specifically says that it’s witch hazel extract only?

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi Rachel,

      The witch hazel you have will work well. As far as essential oils go, I have always learned that if pregnant or nursing, products containing 1% essential oils are safe. The essential oils in this recipe only make up approximately 0.5% of the product.

      Hope this helps!

  12. JSpann says

    I made my first batch last night and gave several of the bottles away to get feedback. I love it and most everyone I’ve “squirted” did too. The ones that didn’t, didn’t like the lavender tea tree combo. I will be trying a batch with peppermint and tea tree next.

    Another good thing about this sanitizer……if you lick your fingers after putting it on it does not taste bad!!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Peppermint and tea tree would be a great combo in this sanitizer! I’m so glad everyone is liking your homemade batches. Thanks so much for returning and leaving your comments! 🙂

  13. Barb says

    Perfect timing! I had been thinking about how to make my own, and once again, you beat me to it! I have an AV question though…I also use Lily of the Desert, but mine says 99% pure. It is the “Gelly” and has quite a list of ingredients such as vitamins and preservatives in addition to the aloe. Is there another type I should be looking for? I love this site and use so many of your recipes and suggestions, THANKS!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Yes, the “gelly” isn’t totally pure and natural, but it will work if that’s what you have. I typically use Lakewood Organic Pure Aloe Vera Gel. It’s usually found in the health section (as an aloe supplement that you can drink). It’s pure aloe vera gel, in a pourable consistency, that only includes a little lemon juice as a preservative. I have also used Lily of the Desert pure aloe vera gel, but they have changed the formulation recently to include a thickening agent and more preservatives. Basically, you can use whatever you’re comfortable with, but just be sure that you use an appropriate container for the consistency of your aloe gel. (For example, I would not try to use a spray bottle for your sanitizer if you’re using the thick “gelly.”) Hope that helps!

  14. create4good says

    This is great! And I even have all the ingredients — awesome!
    Couple of questions — is it necessary to “swirl” the ingredients? My vitamin E oil is quite thick, and would need to be stirred with something to incorporate with the essential oils. Could we stir it with something? I thought a wooden chopstick would be good, so I could throw it away if necessary, but it wouldn’t affect the ingredients (like plastic or metal might).
    Also, my pure aloe vera is VERY liquidy, almost like water, so I combined them in a bottle with a spray top. If I shake it very well, do you think the important ingredients would get through the spray nozzle enough to be effective? I wish there was a way to test the efficacy of the germ-fighting!

    • Betsy Jabs says

      Hi there,

      You can absolutely stir the ingredients! There’s no reason in particular I said to “swirl,” other than the fact that I hate dirtying up more utensils while doing a project. 🙂 If your pure aloe vera gel is a pourable (thin) consistency, then it will work fine in a spray bottle.

      Have fun making this!

  15. Laurie says

    I love this! I am allergic to any chemical cleaner – so, no commercial soaps and the quick cleaners leave my already damaged fingers like alligator skin. I’m thrilled to have this – no allergy to TT as I use it all the time for other things. Something I’ll be able to keep in my purse and use in public restrooms – happy day!