Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Homemade Hand Sanitiser Recipe – WHO Formulation

homemade hand sanitiser

DISCLAIMER: This homemade hand sanitiser recipe is not a substitute for proper handwashing.

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.

In recent times, hand sanitiser has been tricky to get hold of, so here’s a homemade recipe if you ever find yourself in a pinch.

I’ve updated this recipe for 2022, because my original recipe contained witch hazel. This isn’t strong enough against COVID-19. As such, I’ve updated this recipe to make it compliant with the Word Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations for making hand sanitiser. This means that has been proven to kill harmful micro-organisms on your hands.

The Homemade Hand Sanitiser Ingredients

The three main ingredients of the WHO recommended hand sanitiser spray are:

  • Isopropyl alcohol 99.8% provides the germ-killing properties, through its high alcohol content.
  • Hydrogen peroxide at a dilution of 3%. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild disinfectant that kills yeasts, fungi, bacteria, viruses. It’s safe to use on your skin and is often prescribed by dentists for swollen gums.  
  • Vegetable glycerine, which acts as a moisturiser to avoid your hands drying out from the high alcohol content of the isopropyl alcohol.

I have also added some essential oils, to add some scent. The essential oils may also boost the antibacterial properties of this homemade hand sanitiser. However, you can leave them out if you want. The irony here is that the essential oils are not essential!

If you do want to use essential oils, I chose lemongrass essential oil for this homemade hand sanitiser recipe because of its 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.

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 of the reach of children, and only use them under direct adult supervision.

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

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Makes 3 x 100 ml bottles of hand sanitiser – one for your bag, one for your hallway, and one for your car.

Homemade Hand Sanitiser Ingredients

3 x 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 if you are using essential oil. However, if there’s less chance of it breaking in your bag then plastic is a better choice).

175 ml Isopropyl Alcohol (99.8%)*

1/2 tablespoon Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)*

2 teaspoons vegetable glycerine*

90 mls cooled boiled water

10 drops Lemongrass essential oil (optional)

10 drops Lavender essential oil (optional)


Add all the ingredients to a bowl, and mixing together. Using a funnel, then pour the solution into your clean, dry empty bottles.

Next, add the spray nozzles.

Finally, as per the WHO recommendations, let your bottle of homemade hand sanitiser sit for a minimum of 72 hours before you use it. That way the sanitiser has time to kill any bacteria that might have been introduced during the mixing process.

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 of the homemade hand sanitiser, 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.

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!

Some Other Tips On Staying Healthy

Hand sanitiser, and regular hand washing, is only one small step in protecting yourself from germs. The UK Government’s current advice is also that we should:

Stay at home. Unless you can’t work from home, then you should only leave the house except for essential trips, such as picking up food, medications, and going to the doctor.

Cover your mouth with the crook of your elbow whenever you cough or sneeze.

When you need to go out for essential business, you should stay at least 2 metres away from other people. This is called social distancing. Keeping your distance makes it hard for the virus to jump from someone else to you (or vice versa).

Wear a face mask when in indoor public spaces. It is now mandatory to wear a face mask when in shops, on public transport, and in other public places, unless there is a medical reason why you cannot.

Avoid touching your face. You could transmit the virus from your hands into your mouth.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Do it daily. Here’s my guide to natural cleaning products to DIY. These clean, but don’t disinfect, so I would supplement with a disinfectant.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Top 5 Ethical Sunscreen Products That Work

Today Georgina Rawes from Ethical Consumer reveals her top five ethical sunscreen products.  From organic ingredients to wash-on formulas, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the range available.  Over to Georgina:

The sun’s out –  well sometimes.  And it’s certainly time to dust off the shorts, slap on the sunscreen, and head outside.

However, before you reach for your usual sun cream or lotion, why not try one of the ethical brands that are rising in popularity.  There’s no need to scrimp on quality or performance.  They’re great for you and good for the environment.  What’s more, they’re easy on your pocket too.

ethical sunscreen guide

Sunscreen – but not as we know it…

We all know the benefits of using good quality sunscreen.  Recent advances in sunblock technology have brought about a whole range of highly effective chemical and mineral sun filters, absorbers, and reflectors to the market.  There is a dazzling array of brands offering every kind of application, use, and formulation.  From helping to protect against burning, premature ageing, skin cancer, and more.

Whilst the products themselves are highly effective, a lot of the companies behind the biggest brands don’t focus hard enough on the things that matter to us all.  These include issues such as animal rights and the environment.

Our Ethical Standards

Here at Ethical Consumer, we’re champions of ethical practice.  We’ve produced reports on over 40,000 companies, brands, and products on all aspects of ethical behaviour.  This year, we’ve turned our attention to sunscreens to bring you our top 5 ethical sunscreen products.

Every company featured below has high ethical standards including:

  • Fairtrade products
  • Organic and natural ingredients
  • Cruelty-free formulations produced without testing on animals
  • The vegetarian and vegan products
  • Clear sustainability standards
  • Limited environmental impact
  • Fair workers’ rights, and clear and just supply chain management

How am I protected?

Sunscreens contain substances that protect against both UVA and UVB radiation.  

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the measure of the protection against UVB radiation.  The UVB radiation causes burning and is a factor in some skin cancers.  

The ‘star’ system that you see on the bottle is a measure of protection against UVA radiation.  This is linked to skin ageing and skin cancer.  

A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays.  This is the safest option.  The British Association of Dermatologists recommends the use of a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 combined with a high UVA rating.

How do they work?

There are two main types of active ingredients in sunscreen.  The first is chemical sunscreens that absorb UV light.  The second is mineral sunscreens which reflect the rays.  Many products contain both mineral and chemical sunscreens.  However, some companies choose to use one over the other.

Mineral sunscreens are the traditional and natural alternative.  The use of nano-particle versions minimises the white appearance of the lotion. There have been some concerns raised about nano-particles.  However, so far there is no conclusive evidence that they cause a risk to health or the environment.

Chemical sunscreens have been used more recently.  These deliver an easy application in a variety of sprays and liquids. Again, they have been declared safe for use on skin.  They have also not been found to have any adverse effect on the environment.

Our top 5 feel-good ethical sunscreen products

And so, to our favourites:

1.  Odylique Natural Sunscreen

This exceptionally pure, 100% natural, ethical sunscreen is great for very sensitive skin.  This includes babies and children.  The mineral zinc oxide is the active ingredient, delivered in non-nano format.  As such, it offers broad-spectrum UVA and SPF30 UVB protection.

Odylique’s formulation protects the skin whilst actively caring for it.  This is through its mixture of nine organic botanicals.  These include Fairtrade raw shea butter and Karanja seed to replenish and soothe.  The formulation also contains a mixture of chamomile, rosemary, and sea buckthorn to calm sun-sensitive skin.  

The light, non-greasy formula makes for easy application and for immediate protection.  In fact, this was the first sun lotion to be accredited as both Fairtrade and organic.  We definitely take our sun hat off to this ethical pioneer.  

Find it here* at Big Green Smile.  Prices start from £15 for a 50ml tube.

2.  Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Moisturising SPF 

This nourishing 100% mineral sunscreen offers protection from UVA and UVB rays.  As well as offering SPF30 protection with up to 12 hours moisturisation, it can also be worn instead of face cream.

The non-nano active sunscreen zinc oxide is combined with nourishing oils.  These include a rich blend of antioxidant-rich wild rosehip oil.  You’ll also find nourishing shea butter and moisturising baobab oil.  What’s more, with 50% organic ingredients, this cream is Vegetarian Society approved.  It’s also accredited as Cruelty-Free.

Find it at Neal’s Yard, where the product retails at £25 for 50ml.

3.  Badger Sunscreen Collection

Badger offers a whole range of ethical sunscreen for every use.  You’ll find an active sports range to scent-free versions, as well as baby and children ranges.  You can even find a DEET-free bug repellent version.

Non-nano Zinc oxide is the active ingredient in all Badger sunscreens.  This offers broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.  In terms of SPF, this ranges from 25-30, depending on the product.

The all-natural formulations include USDA certified organic ingredients and nourishing oils.  These include oils such as sunflower, extra virgin olive, and jojoba.  The formulations don’t clog pores.  They also contain antioxidants such as vitamin E and sea buckthorn extract.  This helps protect the skin from free-radicals.  

If you’re looking for a wide selection of choices then this is the brand for you.  From water-resistant to tinted versions, there is an option for everyone.  UK stockists are limited though.  The best selection is found on Amazon*

4.  Green People Sun Lotion

Vegan accredited and organic certified, Green People offers a range of ethically-minded sun lotions.  These offer broad-spectrum coverage in SPF 15-30.  

Based on nanoparticle zinc oxide mineral sunscreen, this rich lotion doesn’t clog pores.  What’s more, it retains moisture to give a long-lasting smoothing effect.

The standard 30SPF fragrance-free version contains 78% organic ingredients.  These include sunflower oil, olive fruit oil, and Fairtrade palm oil.  Aloe vera, avocado, chamomile, and green tea also form part of the active plant ingredients.

Green People offer baby and child versions, and a specific facial sunscreen.  They also offer a tan accelerator range.  Here, carob fruit extract naturally enhances the production of melanin.  This speeds tanning by 25% and enhances the body’s natural defenses.

Visit the Green People website* to buy.  Prices start from £5 for 30ml.

5.  Lush Solid Sunscreen Wash

Lush is well known for its innovative approaches to packaging and application with solid shampoo bars and bath bombs, and plastic-free make-up.  As such, the sunscreen is no exception.

The solid block is made from a mixture of organic sesame oil and organic and Fairtrade cocoa butter.  Here it’s combined with chemical sunscreens.  It’s then scented with a fragrant mix of rose absolute, chamomile blue, and eucalyptus blue oils.  Meanwhile, Calamine powder completes the formulation.  This provides a calming effect for delicate skin.   

To apply, simply glide the product over your skin in the shower. 

Each 100g bar contains enough for three full-body applications.  Visit the Lush website to buy online for £8.95.  

Discover more ethical sunscreens

Check out the full Ethical Consumer product guide to ethical sunscreen online.  See a large range of brands and how they compare on a whole range of ethical criteria.  From the environment and animal welfare. To supply chains, and politics, sustainable practices, and more.

And now you’re sorted for sunscreen, be cool at the pool with this handy guide to ethical swimwear.