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

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

Want to know how to make hand sanitizer? The demand for hand sanitizer is at an all-time high. As a result, finding out where to buy hand sanitizer is getting harder by the day. But don't panic. Here’s how to make hand sanitizer or a Purell alternative at home with a few ingredients.

As we outline in our coronavirus tips checklist, the best defense against contracting any kind of virus is practicing basic hygiene like washing hands regularly and keeping your hands away from your face. (This is in addition to social distancing). Hand sanitizer helps you rinse germs from your mitts when you can’t get to a sink.  

As long as its 60% alcohol, the CDC says hand sanitizer is a viable option for preventing the spread of illness. 

Keep in mind 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.