Health & Beauty

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Homemade Hand Sanitiser Recipe

homemade hand sanitiser

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DISCLAIMER: This homemade hand sanitiser recipe is not a substitute for proper handwashing. And while this home recipe contains common natural antibacterial ingredients, it has never been tested in a lab to determine its efficacy against viruses such as coronavirus. This recipe does not include the 60%+ alcohol content that is recommended for hand sanitiser to properly kill coronavirus. A recipe that contains this level of alcohol can be found through the World Health Organization.

Last year I made some homemade hand sanitiser that I have been meaning to share with you. I have two young kids, aged 4 and 8. Whilst my kids are great at getting into messes when we’re out and about, I have to hold my hands up and say I’m an expert at it too!

Also, have you seen the original Trainspotting movie? If so, then you’ll know the scene with the worst toilet in Scotland. Admittedly, whilst not as bad as that toilet, I’ve definitely found a few contenders in and around Edinburgh. Whilst I would always prefer to wash my hands with soap and water, hand sanitiser is definitely a handy thing to carry in those times.

I spent a little while searching on the internet for hand sanitiser in a glass bottle. However, the only thing I could find was a £16 bottle from Aesop. Not having the budget or inclination to spend £16 on hand sanitiser I decided it must surely be easier and infinitely cheaper to make my own. So I set about rummaging through my cleaning product ingredients box to see what I had to hand.

What I Found Was:

Witch hazel, made from the bark and leaves of a plant called Hamamelis virginiana. This is a medicine cupboard staple that’s easily picked up really cheaply in most chemists and supermarkets. It’s around £2 a bottle, which will make 3 bottles of hand sanitiser.

Witch hazel is great to use because the tannins in this plant help kill bacteria. It’s been proven effective against influenza A and HPV and herpes, but gentle enough to be used on a daily basis.

If you don’t have any witch hazel then feel free to substitute for cheap vodka. It will push the cost up a little. However, if it’s what you have to hand then it will also do the job as its alcohol content makes vodka a great germ killer.

I chose lemongrass essential oil for this homemade hand sanitiser recipe because of it’s proven antibacterial action. This scientific study showed that lemongrass oil is even effective against drug-resistant organisms.

Please note, lemongrass essential oil can be too strong for sensitive skins. If you are sensitive to lemongrass, consider another essential oil with germ-killing properties, such as tea tree oil.

I also chose lavender essential oil for its antibacterial action. Lavender oil has proven effective against e-coli and MRSA in scientific studies.

My recipe hasn’t been tested in a lab, so I can’t make any claims to its effectiveness other than anecdotally. However, if you’re keen to give it a go here’s how to make it:

Lemongrass & Lavender Homemade Hand Sanitiser

Make your own all natural homemade hand sanitiser / hand sanitizer with this easy recipe.

Makes 100 ml


100 ml glass spray bottle (use an old one if you have one. You can also use an old plastic bottle. Sometimes over time, the essential oils can eat away at the plastic so just be mindful of that, but if there’s less chance of it breaking in your bag then it’s a better choice).

60 ml witch hazel (I got mine in glass bottle from Sainsbury’s for £2)

15 drops Lemongrass essential oil

15 drops Lavender essential oil

1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil (optional – added for its moisturising properties)

40 ml cooled boiled water


If you are using the vitamin e oil, then add it to your clean, dry empty bottle, before adding your essential oils. Otherwise, simply add your essential oils to the empty bottle.

Next, add the witch hazel and cooled boiled water, and add the spray nozzle.

Usage & Storage

Before usage, I would always recommend doing a patch test on a small area of your skin, to test for any sensitivities. If after 24 hours there has been no reaction then you should be good to continue usage.

Before each use, shake the bottle well to combine everything and spray your hands a few times. Rub your hands together until they are dry. Do not use on broken skin.

The hand sanitiser has a 1.5% dilution and is safe to use for adults. If you want it stronger, you can go up to 20 drops of each essential oil (a 2% dilution), but I wouldn’t recommend going any higher than that.

Your homemade hand sanitiser will have a shelf life of around 6-8 weeks, but if it starts to look funny or smell funny before that period, it’s best to discard it and make a new batch.

Homemade Hand Sanitiser for Kids

If you want to use it on small children from aged 2 and upwards, I’d always recommend doing a bit of reading on essential oils. I would also recommend using no more than 10 drops of lemongrass essential oil and 10 drops of lavender essential oil. This is a 1% dilution of the oils. Again, do not use on unbroken skin.

Essential oils aren’t recommended for use on children younger than two. Again, doing a bit of research on essential oils if you decide you want to is always highly recommended.

As always, keep your essential oils and the finished product out the reach of children, and only use under direct adult supervision.

Notes on Good Hand Hygiene

Whilst hand sanitiser is good in a pinch, the single most effective way of removing germs from your hands is to wash your hands with warm water and soap. My top tip is to use hand sanitiser when you don’t have access to running water and soap, but to make sure you wash your hands as soon as you can.

The NHS has some good advice on how to wash your hands properly – apparently singing happy birthday twice helps you gauge the length of time you should be washing for!

ps: here are some other things you can DIY with the same ingredients for maximum bang for buck!

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Plastic-Free Makeup Remover Tips

A little while ago I wrote about zero-waste and plastic-free makeup, but today let’s chat about plastic-free makeup remover.  My tips, techniques, and favourite products.  I use the word ‘products’ loosely – you’ll soon see why!   

Sometimes making a plastic-free swap involves swapping from something cheap and single-use to something that’s more durable.  However, that, in turn, can make it a lot more expensive.  This irks me because this means plastic-free swaps can be out of reach for many.  The good news is that today we’re keeping things simple and accessible.  

Makeup Remover Options

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1. Soap and a Flannel


Capitalism and consumerism have brainwashed us into believing that we need complex laboratory engineered solutions to simple things, such as removing makeup, when really we don’t. We need to push back against the expensive glossy marketing campaigns and embrace simpler solutions. And when it comes to taking off your makeup at the end of the day then, really soap, it’s where it’s at, I promise you. I’d say it’s my top plastic-free makeup remover.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup. It’s not my skillset! But I do wear some from time to time. Since my teens, I’ve always sworn by the fact that soap and a simple flannel ( or facecloth, washcloth, or whatever you want to call it) does the job at removing makeup superbly. Mostly, I would not use anything else.

I’m not fussy about which soap I use – I just use the same bar that I use to wash my hands and my body. Here is a guide to sustainable soaps, if you’re looking for a new brand. And if you have sensitive skin then you might want something extra gentle, but you do what works for you.

My facecloths aren’t fancy either, just your run of the mill ones I’ve had for years. Using a facecloth is slightly exfoliating, so you don’t even need to buy an exfoliator. Win! I then just pop these cloths in the wash once I’m done. Easy!

2. Natural Oils

Most of the time, for my needs, soap does the job. However, if I’ve used mascara then I often find I need a little something else to shift it. Particularly I find that I need something that can gently remove mascara and other eye makeup without having to rub hard on my poor eyes. This is when I raid the kitchen cupboard for some natural oil. I promise I’ve not gone crazy – most natural oils do a great job at removing makeup.

Here are just some of them – some of which you probably have to hand in your kitchen cupboard:

Avocado oil

Coconut oil

Jojoba oil

Olive oil

Sweet Almond oil

Carbon footprint wise, if you’re in the UK then olive oil made in the EU (Spain, Italy or Greece are big producers of olive oil) probably has the lowest of the carbon footprints because it travels the least distance to get to us, compared to avocado, coconut or almonds which are all grown much further afield. Something to bear in mind that can’t be repeated enough – just because something is plastic-free doesn’t make it better if it has to travel thousands of miles to reach us – local is almost always better (even if it comes in plastic).

How do you remove makeup with oil? I find massaging in some oil with my fingers removes even the most stubborn of eye makeup.

I then run a flannel/facecloth under warm water, before wringing it out a little so it’s not soaking wet. Next, I place the warm flannel on my face, leaving it for a few seconds before I wipe the oil off with the flannel. I then dry my face and moisturise as usual.

If your skin feels too oily after using the oil, you can use rosewater in a glass bottle as a toner.

You can also use oil to make homemade moisturising facial oil.

3. Solid Plastic-Free Makeup Remover Bars

zero waste plastic free makeup remover

If using oil from your kitchen as a plastic-free makeup remover doesn’t do it for you then Lush sell completely packaging-free solid makeup remover bars for around £5. These bars are still oily but aren’t as slippy to use as a glass bottle of oil in your bathroom. Safety first!

To use rub the bar in your hands to release the oils (or swipe it directly on to your face). Then rub the oil into your skin and then remove the oils with a wipe or flannel.

My lovely reusable makeup removal pads were kindly gifted to me by Helen Round, a Cornish maker. Helen and her team make the super-soft pads by hand in her Cornwall studio. They are a great buy if you are looking to swap from single-use wipes or pads.

You can also make your own makeup removal pads using this free crochet pattern. If that’s too tricky (I can’t crochet either!) then if you (or a crafty friend) have an old towel (maybe one that’s got a few holes and you were thinking about binning) then you can cut it up into squares to make your own pads. You might want to hem the sides to prevent fraying.

If these options are out of reach then you can 100% just use a facecloth. Let’s not overcomplicate matters or make something simple inaccessible.

What about DIYing Makeup Remover?

I’m a big fan of DIYing – I love making my own products and messing around in my kitchen. For the last little while, I have tried making my own makeup remover solution with a range of different ingredients. In the end, I found nothing as simple, effective, low waste and as low cost at removing makeup as either soap or natural oil. This erved as a good reminder to me that not everything has to be complex to work!

Do you have a good plastic-free makeup remover solution? Are you a soap or oil fan? Maybe not convinced to make the switch?

PS: here’s a natural makeup brush cleaner recipe that might be up your street too.