Making hand sanitizer using grain alcohol

Hand sanitizer is a precious commodity these days.  It’s pretty easy to make, though.  Here’s a recipe for how to make it.  I’ve also created another blog post that contains a video – the link is below.

Watch Video

What you’ll need

A measuring cup, a bowl or glass, a spoon, a container in which to place the solution (I’ve been using 3 oz airline-approved plastic containers; you would need two of those for this recipe), a funnel, 190 proof grain alcohol, aloe, vegetable glycerin, and essential oils.

I have been using what I could find in the stores easily in the last week.  It would be best to use the most pure form of aloe you can find.  There are many brands of essential oils and I do not claim to have expertise on which brands are best.  I have been using primarily essential oils found at Central Market.


This recipe is for topical use only.  It is NOT for human consumption.  Don’t drink it!   It should not be used during pregnancy or by someone who suspects she could be pregnant.  This is for use by people age 18 and over, not by children.

Many essential oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties, confirmed by studies, not just hearsay.  However, different essential oils may cause different reactions.  If you are sensitive to any of the ingredients listed below (lime, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, ginger), do not use them.  Lime and lemon in particular may be irritating to the skin and should be used in limited quantities.  They may also cause sun sensitivity.  Don’t use this particular recipe if you are out in the sun for extended periods.

Do not add more than 12 drops of an essential oil to a fluid ounce of solution, or more than 70 drops total to the recipe listed below.  For a good idea of what precautions to take when using different essential oils, look here:  Essential Oil Safety Precautions

The recipe

This recipe makes about 6 fluid ounces of hand sanitizer.  The final alcohol concentration is 60 – 70% by volume.  It is for topical use only, not for human consumption!

190 proof grain alcohol (Everclear):  a little over 1/2 cup

Aloe:  a little under 1/4 cup

Vegetable glycerin:  about 1 teaspoon

Add the above three items to a glass or bowl and stir.

Next, add some essential oils.  Do not add more than 70 total drops to this mix in order to keep the total essential oil concentration less than 2%.  The office favorite has been a blend containing about 12 drops of lime, 10 drops of lemon, 6 drops of rosemary, and 4 drops of ginger.   Add whichever oils you want to achieve the scent you like, but keep the total essential oil dilution down to 2% or lower.  Add just enough to mask the smell of the alcohol, but not more than 70 ml total and preferably only about half of that.  You really don’t need very much.  The recipe listed above has 32 total drops and has a nice aroma.

Transfer the mixture to the container.

Easy as that!

Stay safe, wash your hands, and carry some hand sanitizer with you anywhere you go!

Office Information


M-Th: 9:00am - 5:00pm
F: 9:00am - 4:00pm
Closed Weekends

Accessibility Toolbar

Scroll to Top