Covid-19: DIY Sanitizer

As the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase all over the world, you’ve likely noticed a shortage of hand sanitizer in your local shops. Don’t want to pay an exorbitant price for the price-gouged hand sanitizer being sold online? Don’t worry because the World Health Organization (WHO) reassured us that traditional hand washing — with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds — is still your best option. The WHO’s method for hand washing is outlined at the end of this article.

However if you are not in a position to wash your hands with water , if a tap is not available, the next best option to stay safe and protect yourself from COVID-19 is an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. If you didn’t get your hands on hand sanitizer, do not despair. As a Zero Waster you can make your own at home, using ingredients that you may already have or could still find in the shops. It’s the perfect zero-waste alternative. You re-use ingredients you may already have, you re-use containers and avoid new plastic bottles.

How to Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

To make your own Zero Waste hand sanitizer, you just need a few ingredients. This simple recipe calls for just three ingredients —

  1. Isopropyl alcohol (91- 99% alcohol but anything that delivers above 60 % alcohol in the resulting gel should work) – One cup measure
  2. Aloe Vera (moisturiser) – a half cup measure
  3. Essential oils for scent, though it’s totally optional (We suggest tea tree oil – a natural antibacterial, but you can mix a few for your desired scent).

HOW TO CREATE the GEL : In a clean mixing bowl pour one cup of the rubbing alcohol, a half a cup of Aloe Vera and 10-15 drops of essential oils. Whisk them all together using a sterilized whisk, spoon or fork. You now have a scented gel with a 2/3 alcohol proportion. Find a squeezable container (reuse old shampoo containers or pump action dispensers such as old hand sanitizers). Sterilize it (or wash it out thoroughly with disinfectant and hot water). Pour your gel into it and off you go.

I have no isopropyl alcohol can I use other Alcohols?


The higher the percentage of alcohol will make a more effective hand sanitizer. If really stuck for alcohol you can use a high strength vodka, (maybe some Poitín) in place of isopropyl alcohol, but be warned that the alcohol content from this won’t be high enough to do the necessary effort to eliminate germs. Although we do not recommend this, because it could give you a false sense of security, in an emergency it is still better than nothing as long as you wash your hands at the earliest opportunity. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

When making your own hand sanitizer — there are some precautions to take. While you can easily combine these ingredients, if you get the ratios wrong you could easily be doing more damage than good.

Too much alcohol and it may be too abrasive and dry out your skin. Too much aloe with low strength alcohol will be ineffective to kills all germs.

Our friends in the YogaZone have made their own hand sanitizer in a re-usable glass dispenser and it works great.

Just remember that frequent washing of your hands in soapy lather for over 30 seconds (see WHO method below) is the best option and should be your first choice whenever possible.

DIY Sanitizer with some of the essential oil ingredients

WHO handwashing method.

WHO recommended handwashing technique.