Easy Homemade Hand Sanitizer Gel Recipe (Alcohol-Free, Non-Sticky)

We are excited to share this natural and easy recipe for your own DIY version or alternative to store-bought hand sanitizer gel!

This post has been updated to include several recipes for hand santitizer, partly based on the ingredients you have on hand as well as intensity of effectiveness.

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Benefits of the Gentle Homemade Hand Sanitizer

For everyday use, for years, our family has used a gentle version which seems to have worked well for a decade. Here’s the original reasons we like the gentle version:

This is such a great recipe to keep in your back pocket for many reasons:

  • It’s SUPER easy to make
  • It’s affordable
  • It contains no alcohol, which in turn means…
  • No burning effect
  • Smells great
  • All-natural
  • Actually moisturizing
  • Not sticky
  • Absorbs nicely into skin
Easy step-by-step process to make DIY hand sanitizer gel!

But in light of the recent outbreak of Coronavirus or COVID-19, we wanted to update this post to include some more intense hand sanitizer recipes that use the proper percentage of alcohol recommended by the CDC to kill the virus.

Coronavirus and Hand Sanitizer

At the time of writing this post, Coronavius or COVID-19 specifically, is spreading across the world at a fast pace.

It is currently causing quite a panic as evidenced that 50% of my Facebook wall is littered with Coronavirus news, panic and planning.

Well, one thing we saw over and over again was that water, toilet paper and hand sanitizer were wiped clean off the shelves in the state we live in. So much so, that the news got involved and we have yet to report in cases of Coronavirus that originated in our state (we had some Princess Cruise passengers treated here and now have around 7 infected).

I actually haven’t been out this week, but I was at the grocery store last week when it was hitting high panic and the supplies were all still in stock and no prepper panic had happened yet, so I was surprised to hear about what happened a few days later. I was just doing my normal shopping and it didn’t occur to me personally to stock up on these things if Coronavirus took a bigger turn in spread.

How to stay well during Coronavirus and Flu Seasons

Regardless, it got me thinking that perhaps we need to get a bit creative in how we prepare to try and stay well.

Obviously, the TWO MOST important things to do are to wash hands and to keep hands off face and mouth. This is and still remains the BEST advice for staying well from any virus and NO hand sanitizer will be the total replacement to this basic, simple step.

But taking other precautionary measures is probably a good idea. We have lots of home remedies for keeping well from the flu and much of the same process appears to be the same advice for keeping well from this latest outbreak as well. One of my favorite solutions is the Homemade Elder Berry Syrup.

Why Homemade Hand Sanitizer Is A Good Option

So while hand-washing is the biggest response, sometimes when you are out and about, simply washing hands is not as simple. With that, you need t use the hand sanitizer recipe that is primarily alcohol-based FIRST and then follow up with this delightful blend of witch hazel and essential oils to lock in the protection and moisturize hands after without rinsing off the alcohol. So in this post, we are going to share the milder hand sanitizer for general wellness in our homemade hand sanitizer gel recipes!

Finished homemade hand sanitizer gels!
One contains 70% alcohol – 10% above the CDC recommendation of 60%. The other is a witch hazel based, which ends up as a moisturizing blend for comfort and further protection.

I LOVE the gentle version because it’s natural, it’s effective, it’s cheap (hand sanitizer is already pretty affordable regardless) and the best news is that if a store runs out of hand sanitizer, you can make your own!

But we also need a harsher formula to effectively kill coronavirus. We would recommend making both and following up with the gentle moisturizing one for everyday use!

PLEASE NOTE, Coronavirus is killed with a formula of at least 60% alcohol. So while the witch hazel and essential oils will kill and prevent many things, you will want to make the one with alcohol to kill everything during the Coronavirus outbreak! This is a milder version that will help general wellness and makes it nice between the harsh alcohol one to keep hands smelling, and feeling soft and clean. My poor kids’ hands crack and bleed and so this version is a nice follow-up to temper the pain with alcohol-based sanitizers.

And this formula is so pleasant, that you just may use it to replace any anyway! This is an alcohol-free formula, which means it doesn’t sting or burn.

It is also not sticky, unlike many homemade and even store-bought versions. It softens skin in the process and smells amazing!

It is natural with no harsh chemicals (depending on your aloe base) and is super, super easy to make!

Overall, the general consensus amongst my family, they prefer the homemade version because it doesn’t burn their hands and it isn’t sticky.

Dispensing and using homemade hand sanitizer – it’s a pleasant version!

Containers Needed for Homemade Hand Sanitizer

The hardest part about this recipe is finding a container to make it in. We have a few suggestions.

If you rummage around your house, you likely have some small squeeze bottles somewhere. I have used my vitamin E bottles and I love this because it also adds a bit of the vitamin e from the residue left in the bottle.

Empty Vitamin E Oil Bottles are awesome – don’t rinse. The Vitamin E Residue gives a skin nourishing version of hand sanitizer!

But that’s not likely you have a squeeze bottle of nearly used up vitamin E like I happened to have this one time. However, you probably have small shampoo/conditioner bottles, already used up store-bought hand sanitizer bottles that you can refill.

Hotel shampoo, conditioner or lotion bottles are perfect for purse or backpack size.

Here are some examples of bottles we found around our home. The hotel shampoo/conditioner, body wash and lotions bottles, rinsed out, are perfect for a to-go version for each member of the family.

For larger bottles by the sink, you can also use pump bottles!

Finally, if you head to the dollar store or a place like Walmart, you can get empty travel-size squeeze bottles. So if you can’t find something around your home, just grab a handful of these bottles. You can easily order a set from Amazon and have them in your home in a day or two if you want to avoid stores!

Example of a refillable travel size bottle in the travel section of stores.

After you have figured out your bottle situation, there are only a few simple ingredients needed to make an amazing hand sanitizer!

Quick Round-up of Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipes

The full detailed original gentle recipe is posted below with video and pictures. But we wanted to include this section as a bunch of altneratives based on what you may have on hand AND what is most effective against Coronavirus. Please find the following recipes below:

BASIC Strong Formula Gel

  • 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Fill about 2/3 of the bottle with the alcohol and the rest with aloe vera gel and shake vigorously.
  • Use as needed

Basic Strong Formula Gel with Liquor for the Alcohol

We have found ourselves in a shortage of isopropyl alcohol. So you may need to find yourself in a liquor store buying a STRONG liquor. According to the CDC, it has to be 60% or higher, the higher the better. This is 180 proof, which is hard to find.

From the food and wine website, they list the types of brands of liquor that are the strongest on the market. So see what you can find and then you can make this version:

  • At least 60% alcohol liquor
  • Aloe Vera Gel
  • Fill most of the bottle with the liquor and top off with the aloe vera gel.
  • Shake vigorously and use as needed

Spray formula for Hand Sanitizer

Please note, you can turn any of the recipes here into a spray by either using witch hazel or water with the alcohol.

You can also add any essential oils to any of the gel or spray formulas.

With these ideas to adapt based on what you have on hand, hopefully you can come up with a homemade formula to provide an extra layer of protection. But again, nothing beats plain ‘ol soap and water.

After sharing these modifications, check out our original gentle formula below that does a pretty decent job of keeping our family well!

Original Gentle Formula Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Ingredients needed for homemade natural hand sanitizer gel

Simple ingredients for homemade hand sanitizer gel.
  • Aloe Vera Gel –
  • Witch Hazel or 99% Isopropyl Alcohol (Please note, the 99% Isopropyl Alcohol is also currently on low stock across the country. In some articles, if you use a vodka that has at least 60% alcohol, this can work as well).
  • Essential Oils – recommended: Cinnamon, Clove, Tea Tree (a.k.a. Melaleuca)
  • Essential Oil for smell – Recommended Orange

Orange with cinnamon and clove make for a nice smell. Tea Tree is probably the most important oil and it has a strong smell. Cinnamon and clove are great sub-support to tea tree and have a great smell and so the orange oil to add additional smell is a nice combo ultimately!

The powerhouse of oils to keep those hands clean without water!

How to make Homemade Hand Sanitizer

  • Fill your bottle with approximately 1/3 of witch hazel or the alcohol. This amount will vary based on bottle size, but just estimate. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
Filling 1/3 of the container with witch hazel or alcohol. It doesn’t have to be exact, so just fill to that approximate point.
  • Fill the remaining amount with aloe vera gel.
Fill the rest with aloe vera gel. This is the major base ingredient.
  • Shake the bottle vigorously to mix these two ingredients
Mix the two bases together by shaking!
  • For each ounce of your bottle, add 1-2 drops of each oil to the bottle. So a 1oz bottle will have at least 4 total drops of oil, but I like to do 2 drops per ounce, per oil.
Add 1-2 drops of oil per ounce of container. This is a 4 oz. bottle, so I added 8 drops of each oil!
  • Shake the bottle again to mix the oils into the blend!
Now give it a final shake to mix the oils well with the bases!
  • Use your new hand sanitizer just like you would any hand sanitizer!
This is a favorite formula for the whole family. My kids have their own bottle they keep with them as well!
  • When you use it, you should have minimal/no burn as there is no alcohol like with typical hand sanitizers.
  • It should have a slight softening benefit to your skin as well (thanks to the witch hazel).
  • It should absorb nicely to where there is no reside or stickiness!

I hope this Homemade Hand Sanitizer Gel keeps you “well” and is a great solution for your family!

Leave a comment and let us know your results.

Video Instructions for Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Easy Homemade Hand Sanitizer Gel Recipe (Alcohol-Free, Non-Sticky)