How to make your own hand sanitizer

By Suzy Cohen

Editor’s Note: These hand sanitizers do not kill COVID-19. Don’t delay in seeking medical attention if you have respiratory symptoms.

As the fear of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads across the U.S., many people have stocked up on hand sanitizer. It’s already sold out in many stores and online prices have skyrocketed due to opportunistic sellers.

However, there are alternative methods to sanitizing your hands, cell phone cases, doorknobs, etc. Here are some of my homemade hand sanitizers, using essential oils that all have some degree of activity against pathogens. These are intended as recipes for external application only. Do not spray any of these on your face or near your eyes because it will burn.

Hydrogen peroxide. You can still buy 3 percent hydrogen peroxide pretty much anywhere. Put this in a spray bottle and use it like you would hand sanitizer. Dilute it with a little water to make it last longer.

Tea tree essential oil. Mix 10 drops of essential oil of tea tree and approximately 4 ounces of water and put it in a spray bottle. If the scent is too “antiseptic” for you, you can certainly add some other essential oil you like such as lemon or lavender—both of which offer even more antibacterial and antiviral benefits.

Eucalyptus in aloe vera. Pour 1 ounce of aloe vera gel or juice into a 4-ounce spray bottle. The aloe juice is less viscous, so it goes into solution very nicely. The gel is thicker and it’s sold for external use. Next, add 10 drops of essential oil of eucalyptus and fill the bottle to the top with water.

Distilled white vinegar. You probably have plain vinegar at home to use in recipes or for cleaning. You can buy a gallon of this stuff for around $5. Vinegar is a great disinfectant and is known to destroy many gram-negative bacteria like E. coli, Salmonella and other pathogens. To make a sanitizer with white vinegar, add five drops each of patchouli, lemongrass, tea tree and thyme.

Rubbing alcohol. If the stores run out of everything, you can always use rubbing alcohol to kill germs. I recommend you dilute it by about 50 percent with water. To cut down on the alcohol scent, add some essential oil of eucalyptus, lemon or orange.

Colloidal silver. Silver was the antibiotic of choice for years until proprietary drugs became available. Silver is a strong antibacterial. You can buy a bottle of colloidal silver and use it at 100 percent strength in your spray bottle. Don’t dilute it. I’d personally recommend that you add five drops each of clove and eucalyptus essential oil to the silver.

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