How to make hand sanitizer: Create your own Purell substitute at home

how to make hand sanitizer
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Wondering how to make hand sanitizer? DIY-ing your own at home could help fight germs amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Although finding out where to buy hand sanitizer has become easier now that the supply chain is catching up to demand, you still might struggle to find Purell in your area. Here’s how to make hand sanitizer at home with ingredients you might have at your disposal.

Our coronavirus tips checklist warns that hand sanitizer isn't the ultimate defense against contracting a virus. The best way you can stay healthy is by practicing basic hygiene like washing hands regularly and keeping your hands away from your face. You should also adhere to your local social distancing regulations for the wellbeing of your community.  

The key thing you need to know about how to make hand sanitizer at home is proportions. The CDC says the sanitizer must be made of 60% alcohol for it to be  a suitable option for preventing the spread of illness. 

Also, hand sanitizers may not be as effective when hands are visibly dirty or greasy, and do not eliminate 100% of germs. But if you can’t find any in your local pharmacy and know better than to submit to ridiculous markups on Amazon, it’s worth making some to have handy throughout your day.

Here’s how to make hand sanitizer at home, plus tips for using it properly.

How to make hand sanitizer: Ingredients you’ll need

A biomedical PhD broke down what you’ll need to make hand sanitizer at home. You might have several of these items around already, and if not, they’re likely more available than Purell is at the moment. We've included links to where you can get some of these ingredients online.

How to make hand sanitizer in two steps

Step 1: Mix the rubbing alcohol, aloe vera and optional essential oil in a bowl with a spoon. Be careful to keep pure alcohol away from your skin.

Step 2: Funnel the mixture into the empty bottle. Screw the pump cap back on and voila, you have hand sanitizer. 

Making hand sanitizer at home: Warnings

As easy as it is to make your own hand sanitizer, you should be aware that rubbing alcohol in high quantities can damage your skin. Make sure you stick to the 2:1 proportion to keep the alcohol content around 60%. You can also use gloves while mixing and follow up sanitization with hand moisturizer.

And we hope it goes without saying that hand sanitizer alone isn’t going to protect you from getting sick. Wash your hands with soap and water when it’s available, and limit how much you touch your face. Check out our sister site LiveScience’s coverage for the latest updates and facts about the disease and its spread.

Looking for another DIY? Here's how to make a face mask at home.

Kate Kozuch

Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.