Most preppers agree that hand sanitizer is an excellent personal hygiene product to have in a survival situation. It’s convenient to store and use, and it’s a fast and efficient way to kill bacteria and germs on your hands.
The strong alcoholic content of hand sanitizer also means it is easily flammable which makes it great in a pinch for starting fires. It is for these reasons that you would be wise to stock up on as much as you can.
At the same time, does this mean that you’re all out of luck if you haven’t stockpiled it before disaster strikes? Not at all. It is possible to make hand sanitizer right from home, that is just as effective as what you buy in the store. In fact, you may come to like the one that’s homemade over the store-bought versions.
In this article, we will go over the advantages and disadvantages of DIY hand sanitizer and then cover two different homemade hand sanitizer recipes you can use.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES TO DIY HAND SANITIZER
Unknown to many people, commercially sold hand sanitizers achieve their purpose of killing dangerous bacteria, but also contain toxic ingredients and are chemically scented. The byproducts of the ingredients and chemicals in store-bought hand sanitizer can be harmful. They can seep into your pores and get into your bloodstream.
Thus the first benefit when you make hand sanitizer from home is that you are in complete control of the ingredients. You don’t have to include the chemicals that major companies include in the store-bought hand sanitizer.
For example, you can use essential oils in your hand sanitizer rather than chemicals. Not only do they have strong anti-bacterial properties, but they effectively moisturize your hand sanitizer and make it feel better upon contact with your skin.
Another advantage when you make hand sanitizer from home is that many of the ingredients for it are also ingredients used to for other personal hygiene projects.
If you have any leftover ingredients from making hand sanitizer, you can then use them for any other products you want to make as well.
Regarding downsides, the process to make hand sanitizer is going to be a little more expensive than buying it ready-made.
If you’ve ever bought hand sanitizer before (from a major company such as Purell), then you know that it’s incredibly cheap. In contrast to this, buying all of the ingredients for your homemade hand sanitizer separately will add up and cost you more money.
Another downside, even though it’s only a temporary issue, is that it requires a lot of practice. You need just the right ratio between your ingredients, including alcohol, to ensure maximum effect. The good news is that, with enough practice after trial and error, the process will become second nature to you.
Overall, the pros outweigh the cons. As long as you’re willing to put the practice in and spend a little extra money, you’ll make one that doesn’t come with the harmful chemicals the store bought products do. You’ll also have the ability to make hand sanitizer in a grid down situation instead of relying on your stockpile.
Let’s take a look at two of the most viable recipes for making it, starting with essential oil based hand sanitizer:
ESSENTIAL OIL BASED HAND SANITIZER
Essential oil based hand sanitizer is a kind of sanitizer that does not use alcohol as one of its ingredients. The reason why certain people don’t like to include alcohol in their hand sanitizer is that it can dry the skin.
For essential oil based hand sanitizer, you will need to accumulate the following ingredients:
- 30 Drops of Tea Tree Oil
- 5 Drops of an Essential Oil of Your Choice
- 1 Cup of Aloe Vera
- 2 Teaspoons of Witch Hazel
- Plastic Container (with a lid)
Once you have gathered these ingredients and materials, you will then want to follow these steps:
- Mix the witch hazel, tea tree oil, and aloe vera gel together and stir with a spoon in a bowl
- You will want the mixture to be not too thick but also not too thin; add a little aloe vera to thicken the mixture and witch hazel to thin it
- After these three ingredients have been thoroughly mixed and stirred, you can add in at least five drops of your essential oil of choice; lavender and peppermint are the most popular options for DIY hand sanitizer
- Continue to stir the mixture after adding the drops of essential oil
- Use a funnel to pour the mixture from your bowl into the container
- Cap off the container with the lid
That’s it! Your hand sanitizer is now ready and all you have to do is open the lid to pour some in your hands, and it will have the same anti-bacterial effect as the one that’s store-bought.
While you have your choice of essential oils for this recipe, you should choose an oil that contains anti-bacterial properties. Otherwise, the entire point of making the hand sanitizer in the first place is defeated. Examples of essential oils that contain strong anti-bacterial properties include lavender, peppermint, sage, and rosemary.
It’s also important that you choose an essential oil that you know you are not allergic to. An essential oil is a plant extract. If you know you have an allergy to a certain type of plant, avoid using the essential oils from that plant at all costs. You may also want to test yourself for an allergic reaction to an essential oil before including it in your hand sanitizer recipe.
To test yourself, simply take one drop of the essential oil and combine it with a tablespoon of olive oil. Rub this mixture on your elbow and wait for any negative or allergic reaction. If nothing occurs for at least twenty-four hours, the essential oil should be safe to you to use.
Check out this video for a visual demonstration of how to make homemade essential oil based hand sanitizer:
ALCOHOL-BASED HAND SANITIZER
Alcohol-based hand sanitizer looks and feels more like the store-bought hand sanitizer than the essential oil recipe. Again for this DIY hand sanitizer, the harmful chemicals are left out. While this recipe still incorporates some essential oils, the primary ingredient is still alcohol.
To use this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:
- 2/3 Cups of 99% Rubbing Alcohol
- 10 Drops of Your Essential Oil of Choice
- 1/3 Cup of Aloe Vera Gel
- Plastic Container (with lid)
Once you have gathered all of these ingredients, follow these steps:
- Mix the aloe vera gel and the alcohol together in a bowl; blend with a spoon until smooth
- As with the essential oil mixture, you don’t want this mixture to be too thin or too thick; add a little alcohol to thin it or a little aloe vera gel to make it thicker
- Add at least ten drops of your essential oil and continue to stir; you can add a few more drops if you cannot smell the scene while stirring
- As with the previous recipe, you will now want to pour the mixture from the bowl into a container with the aid of a funnel, and then screw the lid over the container once you are finished
This recipe looks, feels, and smells more closely like store bought hand sanitizer but is all natural. Again, test yourself for an allergic reaction with an essential oil before you include it in this recipe.
The shelf-life of this hand sanitizer should be about a month, but you can increase that shelf life to six months if not longer by including either vodka or Vitamin E oil in the recipe. The reason why these ingredients will increase the shelf life of the sanitizer is that both of them are natural preservatives. In fact, some people even like to use Vodka in place of alcohol.
In this video, you will find a visual demonstration of how to make alcohol based homemade hand sanitizer:
Remember that using hand sanitizer should never replace washing your hands. Washing with soap and warm water will always be the best thing you can do to cleanse your hands before eating or after using the restroom.
Nonetheless, hand sanitizer is still a great personal hygiene product to have because it kills any bacteria on your hands instantly. If using alcohol as an ingredient in DIY hand sanitizer, it also doubles as a fire starter because of the flammable properties of the alcohol.
When it comes down to it, homemade hand sanitizer will be more expensive but safer than store-bought versions of the same thing.
DIY hand sanitizers don’t include the same chemicals that commercial hand sanitizers do and instead use entirely natural ingredients. All natural ingredients are the primary reason why people opt to use DIY homemade sanitizer in place of store bought ones.
For preppers, the knowledge and supplies to make hand sanitizer from home will help you become more self-sustainable than if you rely on store-bought sanitizers.
As long as you have each of the ingredients we covered on standby, you can make it anywhere and at any time, and will not have to rely on your stockpile.
Nick Oetken is a prepper, outdoor enthusiast but, most of all, he is our in-house firearms expert. Look out for his articles on guns to find out which ones you need for your survival.