Hand about to use hand sanitizer
With the current outbreak of Covid19, many of us find ourselves in front of empty shelves and pharmacists that don't have any hand santizers left.

Photo credit: Kelly Sikkema

With the Corona virus outbreak I found myself in front of empty shelves that hold certain products. One of them is hand sanitiser. Fortunately I found a small pack in some travel bag but it’s running out. Hand sanitiser is sold out for weeks already, and so I thought to put my education in chemistry and experience in hours of lab sessions to good practice to make my own.

Disclaimer: Following this recipe is at your own risk! I am not responsible for your decisions and actions and any damage or harm caused to you or others. I highly recommend using hand sanitiser from a store or a pharmacy. If despite this disclaimer you decide getting the ingredients, to make hand sanitiser yourself, you really have to know what you are doing. Some ingredients are highly flammable and require proper knowledge in how to ship, store, and handle these chemicals. Chemistry is all about accuracy and process (proportions, amounts, order of adding ingredients, as well as temperature). If not handled correctly, the mixture can cause skin irritations and damages. Shipping and storing requires a save environment with low temperatures. Last but not least: the production requires a sanitised environment, to guarantee that the hand sanitiser is not contaminated. Otherwise what’s the point of making hand sanitiser if it doesn’t disinfect?

Good to know

The minimum amount of alcohol content should be at 60% (better is 75%). It’s important to not change the proportions of the ingredients.

Possible side effects

If you experience skin irritation, injury, burns stop immediately using it. This should not happen if you get the right ingredients and handle the

How to use

Apply to hands and rub for 60 seconds. Leave on surfaces for 60 seconds before wiping down.


  1. Handsanitisers are not working effective with the following germs:
  • Norovirus
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Clostridium difficile (c. Diff)
  1. Handsantizers may not work if your hands are very dirty or greasy (e.g. after working with food, yard work, sports, or gardening).

Before you start

  • Prepare the hand sanitiser in a clean space. Wipe down counter tops with diluted bleach
  • Wash your hands thoroughly
  • Clean all tools + utensils thoroughly

RECIPE 1 – Spray

355 ml (12 fluid ounces) Isopropyl alcohol (about 99%)
2 teaspoons Glycerol or glycerin
1 tablespoon Hydrogen peroxide (3%)
90 ml (3 ounces) Distilled water or alternatively boiled and cooled down water
Spray bottle

Clean spoon
Clean whisk

Mix the isopropyl alcohol with the glycerol. (Glycerol keeps the alcohol from drying out your hands. If you can’t find glycerol, proceed with the rest of the recipe anyway and moisturise your hands after applying the sanitiser).

Mix in the hydrogen peroxide, then distilled water.
Fill into bottle.

RECIPE 2 – Gel
For the gel the proportions of alcohol to aloe vera gel should be at least 2:1.

180 ml (3/4 cup) Isopropyl alcohol (99%)
60 ml (1/4 cup) aloe vera gel
10 drops essential oil (e.g. lavender, tea tree, peppermint) or alternatively lemon juice
Clean container bottle

Mix the isopropyl alcohol with the aloe vera gel and the essential oil (or lemon juice if there is no essential oil at hand).

For larger batches you can follow a recipe provided by the WHO.