I was planning on blogging other recipes but in light of recent events, I decided this recipe was more suitable for the moment. Last Friday I decided to step up our office’s cleaning and disinfecting supplies. I volunteer to make occasional runs to the store to purchase cleaning supplies because our office supply company has a very high mark up on their cleaning supplies and I am much too frugal to pay the mark up. Lately I have been purchasing earth-friendly items such as Method, Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers but with the impending pandemic, we had requests for the good old Lysol and Clorox. I also had requests for hand sanitizers for each of our meeting rooms and lobby.
I went to Target. They were out. I went to Walgreen’s. They were out but the stock guy directed me to these clearance bottles of purifying anti-bacterial hand gel made by one of those drugstore brands of bath and body products. I grabbed a few bottles. I headed to Walmart. They were out. I went to Costco. I didn’t see any. I then came home and thought, “I can probably make my own. It can’t be too difficult.”
I did my research and found a recipe. The recipe lists 1 cup aloe vera gel, two teaspoons alcohol and 2 teaspoons of glycerin…interesting but 2 teaspoons of alcohol doesn’t seem like much. After more research I discovered that many people agreed. You need at least 60% alcohol (ethyl alcohol is better than isopropyl but I couldn’t find denatured ethyl alcohol and Everclear, because it is sold as an alcoholic beverage, is too expensive.) I found 91% isopropyl.
My pharmacist had a little bottle of glycerin. I love my pharmacist. He is so friendly and helpful. He suggested Walgreens. I went to the Walgreens near my house and found bottles of glycerin. They also had one large bottle of Germ-X for $4. Yay! I grabbed it.
I couldn’t find clear aloe vera gel at the store but I have a huge bottle of it for treating my burns after I over-indulge in the tanning bed.
I went to the trouble of gathering all these ingredients but I don’t actually like using hand sanitizer. The only time I ever used it was during my younger days of raving and because I couldn’t stand the smell of Purell, I bought bottles from Bath and Body Works.
Many essential oils are antibacterial. Tea tree oil is best for its antimicrobial, antiseptic and antiviral properties. Lavender is second best but is a good all-purpose oil. I don’t have any tea tree oil and didn’t feel like going to a store that sold essential oils. I have a whole collection of lavender oil for when I was “searching” for my favorite lavender scent. (Aveda’s lavender oil makes me gag.)
The below formula yields just under 64% alcohol. It is 2:1:7 (glycerin, aloe, alcohol). You can also do a 1:1:5 ratio of aloe to glycerin to alcohol to get a 65% alcohol content.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
yields 1 liter
1 cup glycerin
½ cup aloe vera gel
3 ½ cups 91% isopropyl alcohol (isopropyl is easier to find than ethyl)
10 - 20 drops of essential oil such as tea tree, lavender, oregano or lemon
Mix together and use a whisk or hand blender on high to aerate. The resulting liquid is not as thick as Purell or Germ-X. Both products use thickening agents called carbomer. The glycerin and aloe vera gel provides some thickening needed to slow down the evaporation of the alcohol on your hands.
I doubled the recipe and made 2 liters and filled up two empty conditioner bottles.