DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Hand Sanitizer Formula
for Coronavirus COVID-19
Based on World Health Organization (WHO) Formula
Due to the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease,
hand sanitizers are in short supply. You can easily make your own
sanitizer using drugstore materials: alcohol, glycerin, and hydrogen
3 cups 99% isopropyl alcohol -OR- 3.25 cups 91%
3 Tablespoons hydrogen peroxide 3%
1 Tablespoon glycerin
Water to make a total of 4 cups (1 quart)
To make 320 ml of hand sanitizer:
240 ml 99% -OR- 265 ml 91% isopropyl alcohol
15 ml hydrogen peroxide 3%
5 ml glycerin
Water to make a total of 320 ml
To make 1 liter of hand sanitizer:
750 ml 99% -OR- 830 ml 91% isopropyl alcohol
40 ml hydrogen peroxide 3%
15 ml glycerin
Water to make a total of 1000 ml (1 liter)
Put on glasses or goggles to protect your eyes in case of
Combine the first three ingredients in a container.
Add clean water to reach the target volume.
Mix thoroughly by stirring or shaking.
Pour the mixture into dispensing bottles.
Label each dispensing bottle "Hand Sanitizer 75% Alcohol".
If your water source is not absolutely clean, first boil it and
allow it too cool to room temperature.
The consistency of the final product is a liquid, not a gel. A spray
bottle is useful for applying the sanitizer to your hands without
dripping. Be sure to direct the spray at your hands. Dispensing
bottles are available at drugstores, Bed Bath and Beyond, Target,
and similar stores.
About the Ingredients
alcohol (also known as rubbing alcohol and isopropanol) is the
ingredient that kills germs. It is sold in drugstores at different
strengths, typically 70%, 91%, and 99%. The target strength for the
hand sanitizer is 75%, so you need to start with at least the 91%
Note: Do not use pure alcohol to clean your hands. Some
water must be present for the product to work. The maximum
strength for sanitizing is 95%.
known as glycerol) is a clear, thick liquid used as a moisturizer in
skin care products and as a food igredient. It helps prevent your
hands from drying out. You can it in the drugstore with other skin
care products, and in health food stores.
peroxide 3% is an antiseptic sold in drugstores with other
disinfectants. The small amount used in the formula is not effective
for sanitizing the skin. Its purpose to kill any spores in the hand
sanitizer itself, as alcohol is not effective against spores.
The WHO pamphlet recommends that you not add any other ingredients
such as fragrances or gelling agents. Some home formulations use
aloe vera gel, which might be OK, but it has not been evaluated for
possible interactions with other ingredients.
The formulas for making 1 quart, 1/3 quart, 320 ml, and 1 liter of
hand sanitizer are the same as the WHO formula, but with the amounts
scaled down for single-family use.
The final ingredient target concentrations are:
Isopropyl alcohol: 75% (v/v)
Hydrogen peroxide: 0.125% (v/v)
Glycerin: 1.45% (v/v)
known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol), the alcohol in liquor, is
an alternative ingredient that is not as easily available as
isopropyl alcohol. Note that hard liquors are typically 80 to 100
proof (40% to 50% alcohol), too weak to work as hand sanitizer. If
you plan to use ethanol instead of isopropyl alcohol, see the
pamphlet for the formula.
Effectiveness of the WHO Formula
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends
and water for washing hands at home. Use alcohol-based hand
sanitizers only when soap and water are not available.
Use the DIY hand sanitizer like any other. Apply enough to wet your
hands thoroughly. Gently rub all surfaces of both hands, including
fingertips and nails, until the alcohol evaporates. The CDC provides
hand sanitizer usage
and safety information.
research has shown a hand sanitizer must be 60% to 95% alcohol
by volume to be effective. Most commercially sold sanitizer products
are 62% alcohol. The 75% strength used in this formula is even more
effective against viruses.
Many hand sanitizer formulas on the Internet use too little alcohol
to achieve the required 60% minimum for effectiveness.
In the WikiHow article How
to Make Gel Alcohol Hand Sanitizer, Method 1 is generally
good, although usage of aloe vera gel has not been evaluated for
possible interactions with the alcohol. Method 2 adds essential oils
that have no sanitizing benefit. Method 3 uses 80 proof vodka as an
ingredient, which is only 40% alcohol to start, and dilutes it using
3 parts aloe vera gel to 1 part vodka, resulting in a final 10%