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 it’s 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, but 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 – but if it’s what you have to hand then it will also do the job as it’s 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, making it a great choice of oil for a hand sanitiser.

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, which 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, but 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!

weekend links

Ten Things

zero waste shop

Hiya! Thank you for your kind words on the return on Ten Things last week. I’m really glad you were as happy as me for this series to return – it’s always a post I enjoy putting together each week.

This week’s links:

1. “Activism works so I’m telling you to act“.

2. Worrying – why is the far-right suddenly paying attention to climate change?

From France to Washington to New Zealand, angry voices on the hard-right — nationalists, populists, and others beyond conventional conservatism — are picking up old environmental tropes and adapting them to a moment charged with fears for the future. In doing so, they are giving potent new framing to a set of issues more typically associated with the left. Often, they emphasize what they see as the deep ties between a nation’s land and its people to exclude those they believe do not belong. Some twist scientific terms such as “invasive species” — foreign plants or animals that spread unchecked in a new ecosystem — to target immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities. And here’s what really frightens me: This dynamic is likely to intensify as climate change creates new stresses that could pit nations and groups against one another.”

3. The Paris Agreement came good (for now). A huge victory, and hopefully it will set a landmark for future developments.

4. This one’s from last month, but it’s a good example of why we can’t just plant trees and carry on business as usual.

5. Indigenous people may be the Amazon’s last hope.

6. An interesting article on climate change and the class divide.

A placard at a 40,000-strong protest in Sydney at the height of the bushfire crisis in December had it right: “No one is coming to save us, except us”. As long as there are profits to be made from the exploitation of the world’s workers and the environment, the capitalist ruling class will never be convinced of the need for change. If we’re going to save our precious planet, and win a just and sustainable future, we need to unite into a movement powerful enough to smash their rotten system for good.”

7. “Health isn’t a private thing” – why universal free healthcare for all is the only sustainable solution for the planet.

8. Continuing the weird weather trend in Antarctica, the remaining snow there has turned blood-red.

9. How women-led efforts in drought-hit Pakistan have provided food and income in an otherwise barren land. Their techniques could be adopted in other drought-hit areas to decrease malnourishment rates.

10. Finally, a welcome piece of good news on a stormy Saturday.

Signing off for now,