Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer with Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide and Glycerin
Faced with the emergence of infectious diseases such as the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, there are some fundamental practices we need to employ to stay safe. Washing our hands is one of the most important. However, when we are outside in the world, a wash station is not always available. Hand sanitizer is one of the best ways we can help kill germs when washing our hands isn't an option. With panic-buying and other factors leading to shortages in certain amenities, making your own hand sanitizer might be one of the few options we have left.
At oneHOWTO, we show you how to make your own hand sanitizer with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and glycerin. Although no hand sanitizer will work to kill all germs and microbes, this is still one of the best ways to kill bacteria and protect against viral infection.
Homemade disinfectant hydrogel to combat coronavirus
Along with avoiding crowded spaces and keeping your mouth covered where possible, washing your hands is one of the front-line defense against the recent outbreak of coronavirus. Known as the Covid-19 coronavirus, since it was first discovered in China its spread has resulted in the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring it a pandemic in March of 2020.
Unfortunately, hand sanitizer and other protection methods such as face masks have become in increasingly short supply. As some people buy too much, stocks in supermarkets and pharmacies are running low and people are left without.
But do homemade disinfectants work to prevent coronavirus? In a guide published by the WHO, it is only recommended to be made at a local production level. In fact, preparing it at home is not recommended due to the handling of hazardous material. Alcohol at 96% is highly flammable. Another factor is that the hand sanitizer will only work as an antimicrobial if the materials are sterilized completely. Pharmaceutical laboratories are sterilized environments which are ideal for processing such materials.
For these reasons, most people should not try to make hand sanitizer at home. If you want to prevent infections, try going to a pharmacy or market where they can be purchased. The following information on making homemade sanitizer is only for those who have the correct material and secure environment to do so.
How to make homemade alcohol gel - ingredients
According to the guide published by the World Health Organization, these are the ingredients that professionals need to make homemade alcohol gel to be used as hand sanitizer. Although the WHO provides information to make large batches of the gel, we have amended the amounts to make 1 liter of homemade hand sanitizer. To make the alcohol gel, you will need:
- 96% ethanol: 833.3ml
- 3% hydrogen peroxide: 41.7ml
- 98% glycerol: 14.5ml
- Sterile distilled water
If you do not have ethanol, you can substitute this product for 99.8% isopropyl alcohol (751.5ml). Hydrogen peroxide, liquid glycerin and water are essential. You will not be able to replace them. If the water is not sterile, it will not work since microbes in the water may promote disease rather than prevent it.
The materials you will need for masking the homemade hand sanitizer are:
- 1 liter bottles (glass or plastic) with internal screw caps or plastic buckets large enough to mix without overflowing
- Plastic or metal mixing rods
- Test tubes and measuring jugs
- Plastic or metallic funnel
- Plastic bottles with leakproof caps
- A breathalyzer: the temperature scale at the bottom and the ethanol concentration (percentages v/v and p/p) at the top
How to make homemade hand sanitizer - step by step
We want to remember that this step-by-step is designed for professionals who have the right materials to make hand sanitizer for their locality. If you are thinking of making an alcohol-based disinfectant gel for your individual use, we recommend that you first try to buy the product in the pharmacy or in other specialized stores.
If you have the right materials and knowledge, this is the step-by-step process to make your own homemade hand sanitizer. This is a homemade disinfectant hydrogel that will allow you to inactivate possible pathogenic microorganisms which can affect the human body.
- Pour the alcohol into the large bottle or tank you have prepared. Remember that these materials need to have been sterilized recently and thoroughly for the process to work.
- Add the hydrogen peroxide with the cylinder.
- Add the glycerol with a test tube. Glycerol is very viscous and adheres to the walls of the test tube, so you will have to clean it with sterile distilled water before pouring its contents into the bottle.
- Fill the bottle or reservoir up to the 1 liter mark with sterile or cold boiled distilled water.
- Once the preparation is finished, put the cap or screw cap on the bottle as soon as possible to avoid evaporation.
- Mix the solution by gently shaking or using a stirrer.
- Immediately distribute the solution among the final containers and quarantine them for 72 hours before using them. During this time, spores present in alcohol or in new or reused bottles will be destroyed.
This is a solution which can work only in the right circumstances. These measurements cannot be changed. According to the CDC, a hand sanitizer is only effective if it is a minimum of 60% alcohol. Also, if there is too much alcohol, it can be very damaging to your skin and constitutes a fire hazard. If you are able to make this product safely, you will have an amount stored for a long time. it should be able to work at full capacity for 2 to 3 years, but will diminish its effectiveness after this time.
If you want some more advice on how to stay safe during the coronavirus pandemic, you can also take a look at our article on how to disinfect your clothes. You can also see how you can clean your house after treating an animal with parvovirus.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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1. WHO. (2020). Coronavirus (COVID-19) events as they happen. Retrieved on February 13, 2020, from
2. CDC. (2020). Show Me the Science – When & How to Use Hand Sanitizer in Community Settings. Retrieved on February 13, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/show-me-the-science-hand-sanitizer.html
- World Health Organization (WHO). (2009). Guide for elaboration at the local level:
WHO recommended formulations for hand disinfection.