Posted on: March 6, 2020 at 11:31 am
Last updated: September 17, 2020 at 12:18 pm

If you’ve been to your local market recently, you’ve probably noticed a few strategic items are out of stock. The spread of coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19, has lead to a panicked shopping spree in some cities. Things like sanitizing sprays, hand sanitizer, face masks, toilet paper, snacks, and other food items have been flying off the shelves.


According to retail industry data, the demand for hand sanitizer spiked by 1,400% in the past few weeks following the discovery that alcohol-based hand sanitizer is effective at killing COVID-19. [1] [2] Also effective is simply washing your hands with soap and water. Some sellers of hand sanitizer are completely out of stock. Others have jacked up their prices. Some are limiting how much each customer can purchase per visit.

Fortunately, it isn’t that difficult to make your own hand sanitizer that’s just as effective as name brands like Purell.


Homemade hand sanitizers are just as effective as what you buy as long as you use the right percentage of alcohol,” CBS News contributor Dr. David Agus said in an interview with CBS MoneyWatch. “This is a good way to get around people price-gouging for Purell.”

Read: How to Prep For a Quarantine

If you make it well, it’s about as effective as using soap and water,” Dr. Stephen Morse, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University, said in an interview with CBS News. [3] “We know it works — just make sure it has enough alcohol in it.”

In order to be effective, your homemade sanitizer needs to contain at least 60% alcohol by volume. But you aren’t going to want to just douse yourself in rubbing alcohol. By adding in aloe vera gel, you give it a more gelatinous texture that makes it easier to apply to the skin. Aloe vera is also naturally soothing, which takes some of the bite out of the alcohol. You can also choose to add a few drops of essential oils to give it a different fragrance.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1/3 cup aloe vera gel
  • 2/3 cup of rubbing alcohol
  • Optional: 5-10 drops of essential oil (lavender, peppermint, and/or rosemary work great!)*

Additionally, you will need a mixing bowl, a funnel, a spoon, a liquid container, and masking tape to make a label.


To make your own hand sanitizer, add the alcohol and aloe vera gel together in a bowl and stir with a spoon until blended. Add a few drops of your preferred essential oil for scent. The essential oil is completely optional. Finally, use your funnel to pour the mixture into a bottle with a lid for storage. Finally, use your masking tape and a pen to create a label. Labeling the mixture will help keep your family safe and prevent accidents.

Hand sanitizer is not a one-shot one-kill solution to every virus, but it does kill COVID-19. The virus is protected in something called an “envelope glycoprotein” that is destroyed by alcohol. Once the envelope is destroyed, the virus dies. Keeping hand sanitizer in your car or in your purse and used regularly can help prevent the spread of coronavirus as well as other types of viruses.

According to Dr. Sanjay Maggirwar, a professor of microbiology at George Washington University, if properly stored, your hand sanitizer should last for a few weeks. Start with a smaller batch before making larger amounts to see how much sanitizer you need in a two week period.

Keep Reading: Classroom Experiment Shows the Importance of Hand-Washing

Thomas Nelson
Environmental Advocate
Thomas is an environmental advocate currently residing in the Pacific Northwest. In his spare time, he enjoys experiencing the outdoors, raising chickens and ducks, and reading about current environmental issues. Despite slight colorblindness, his favorite color is green.

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