DIY Herbal Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizers are flying off of the shelves these days because of coronavirus! What I don’t think most people realize is that you can make your own and it’s very easy to do! The DIY hand sanitizer I’m about to show you is way better for your skin compared to the store-bought variety which contains other nasty ingredients. Because of this, these are actually very abrasive to the skin and toxic.

Check this out:

This is your standard hand sanitizer – Purell (I apologize for the poor picture quality). Check out that inactive ingredient list: Caprylyl Glycol, Isopropyl Myristate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Acrylates, Aminomethyl Propanol, and Fragrance?? What the heck is all of this?

  • Caprylyl Glycol – Acts as a stabilizer; Caprylyl glycol is an alcohol derived from caprylic acid, an eight carbon saturated fatty acid found in the milk of some mammals, as well as palm and coconut oils, can be synthetically produced.
  • Isopropyl Myristate – is composed of isopropyl alcohol and myristic acid, a common, naturally occurring fatty acid. While this ingredient is relatively safe for those with ‘healthy’ skin, not so much others. Isopropyl palmitate can deprive the skin of nutrients such as oxygen. If the skin doesn’t breathe, your pores can become clogged and healthy skin cells can die. This can also lead to dry, flaky skin.
  • Tocopheryl Acetate – Tocopheryl acetate is a chemical compound that consists of acetic acid and tocopherol (vitamin E). Tocopheryl acetate is considered a moderate hazard by the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database, which notes concerns regarding cancer, contamination of hydroquinone (an FDA-restricted whitening compound), and organ system toxicity. During the manufacturing process, tocopheryl acetate may be contaminated with hydroquinone, which can also cause dermatitis, increase sensitivity to UV rays, among other negative symptoms.
  • Acrylates – The International Agency of Research on Cancer as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have classified acrylates as a possible human carcinogen. Exposure to acrylates has been linked to skin, eye, and throat reactions as well as more serious health consequences such as cancer.
  •  Aminomethyl propanol – This is a chemical used to alkalize the pH of skincare products. According to the Environmental Working Group, research has shown it to be an irritant, an endocrine disruptor, and as having respiratory effects.
  • Fragrance – The most toxic ingredient in hand sanitizers. Phthalates used to make fragrances last longer have been linked to many hazardous health conditions, such as reduced sperm count, liver and breast cancers, reproductive malformation and diabetes. Other synthetic fragrance ingredients that are of notable concern are: Acetaldehyde, which produces a fruity odor, but is a probable human carcinogen. Acetonitrile, which can cause weakness, headaches, tremors, numbness, and nausea. Styrene oxide can cause skin and eye irritation. But you never know what the manufacturer is using because all they have to put on the ingredients label is ‘fragrance’.

Two top ingredients people are recommending online are aloe vera gel and isopropyl alcohol.

While aloe vera gel is awesome, it’s rare to find an aloe vera gel product with any aloe vera in it! My experience in shopping for aloe vera gel is that these in fact contain zero to any aloe in it, making it useless in my opinion. These can also contain nasty other ingredients you don’t want on your skin.

And isopropyl alcohol? Inhalation in large amounts can have several dangerous effects, including breathing difficulty and loss of consciousness. And just spilling the substance on the skin can lead to accidental poisoning.

So with all that being said – I would ditch the above and make your own hand sanitizer using the recipe I’m about to show you. The benefit? The herbal essential oils listed below actually contain anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, antiseptic, and anti-viral properties so you’d be smart to add this to your own DIY hand sanitizer!

Image by monicore

DIY Five Thieves Oil Hand Sanitizer

What You’ll Need

  • 1 TBSP Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 TBSP Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
  • 1 TBSP Clove Bud Essential Oil
  • 1 TBSP Eucalyptus Essential Oil
  • 1 TBSP Rosemary Essential Oil
  • Carrier Oil such as jojoba, coconut, olive, or almond oil
  • Vitamin E Oil
  • Mason Jar or ceramic bowl
  • Dark Amber 2 oz bottles w/ dropper


  • Mix all of the essential oils together in a clean glass jar or easy-to-pour bowl. (Not plastic).
  • Put a TBSP of the essential oils you just mixed together into each of the dark amber bottles.
  • Fill the rest of the amber bottle with the carrier oil.
  • Add a drop or two of Vitamin E oil. This will preserve the mixture as well as to keep the skin hydrated.
  • Shake each amber bottle well to mix and store in a cool, dark place away from sunlight.
  • Apply a few drops to hands and rub well into the skin whenever you need to sanitize!

Where to Find What You’ll Need

I recommend buying the essential oils from Plant Therapy. They have really good pricing on their oils and good quality. A lot of people charge out the door for these essential oils and Plant Therapy is probably the cheapest (with still the quality) that I’ve found. They also ship fast!

The Vitamin E oil, 2 oz glass amber bottles with droppers, and carrier oil you can get from Starwest Botanical. Great quality and they also ship fast. The carrier oil you may be able to pick up at your local health store, but it’s often overpriced and I’ve found good Vitamin E oil is hard to find at all.

Image by Hong Zhang

Let me know in the comments below if you made this and what you think! Or if you have a different DIY hand sanitizer recipe, I’d love to hear it! And as I always say, cheers to your health, my friends!

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