Homemade Hand Sanitizer (With Terpenes!)

Posted by Jack O'Leary on

As more and more stores sell out of hand sanitizers due to concerns over SARS, MERS, Covid-19, and coronavirus, learning the simple steps to make a homemade, pleasant smelling hand sanitizer may be necessary (particularly for those in large cities).

Miryam Wahrman, a biology professor at William Paterson University authored "The Hand Book: Surviving in a Germ-Filled World," a book about combating a germ-riddled world.

All you really need is alcohol, either isopropyl (rubbing) or ethyl (used in beer, wine, and spirits). As long as the solution is at least 60 percent alcohol, you can rub the liquid into your hands and let them air dry, then you'll have effectively sanitized them. "The bottom line is that alcohol is the active ingredient" in hand sanitizer, she said.

To make the experience a little gentler on your skin, you can moisturize after the alcohol has dried. You can also add a few drops of aloe vera to the rubbing alcohol, but make sure the liquid is over 60 percent alcohol so that the aloe doesn't dilute it too much. "If you drop below 60 percent, the effectiveness drops very dramatically," Wahrman said.

Terpene-Infused Hand Sanitizer

Follow this recipe (or another recipe (there are many online) to make a terpene-infused germ-killing, disease preventing hand sanitizer of your own:


  • 1/2 cup aloe vera gel (pure aloe vera, not green, is best)
  • 1 cup rubbing alcohol
  • 1 tablespoon nourishing oil (vitamin e, jojoba, sweet almond)
  • 15 drops of your preferred essential oils

Mix the solution together in a clean squeeze bottle and adjust the amount of rubbing alcohol to achieve your desired consistency. The formula may have be tinkered with to acquire the ideal consistency and aroma, but as long as the formula remains 60% alcohol it will be an effective germ killer. Shake well and use often.

Germs are everywhere: door handles, your phone, your desk, the crosswalk button, your steering wheel, quite literally everywhere. Your hands (and thus your phone screen) become a hub for germs and hand sanitizer is an ideal way to rid germs conveniently and prevent you from getting yourself and those around you sick.

In a 2017 study, researchers swabbed $1 bills from a bank and discovered hundreds of species of microorganisms living on them.1 Additional research has found pathogens such as E. coli, salmonella and staphylococcus aureus on paper money, which all can and often do lead to serious illness.2 Does reading this make you want to wash your hands? Because writing it certainly made me want to. After handling cash, it’s crucial to clean your hands, especially if you’re about to consume food shortly afterwards.


1 -  Abrams, Abigail. "Here's How Dirty Your Money Really Is." Time, time.com/4918626/      money-germs-microbes-dirty/.
2 - "Paper money and coins as potential vectors of transmissible disease." US National Library of      Medicine National Institutes of Health, NCBI, 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24571076.

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