Simple steps to make Gel-alcohol based Hand Sanitizer at home

5 minutes read.         

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be made in the form of a gel, which allows the alcohol to remain in contact for the hands for longer while hand washing/hand rubbing.

Here I will show you how you can prepare you own hand sanitizer at home.

making hand sanitizer in the lab

Hand sanitizers can usually be divided into two types: alcoholic or non-alcoholic. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer (ABHS) can contain alcohol, additives, and humectants to inhibit the growth and to kill the germs

This hand sanitizer gel is suitable for use by the public and can be prepared on a small scale at home or in a laboratory, using basic equipment.

For the hand gel-alcohol to be effective against viruses such as SARS-CoV-2, the final product should contain 80% ethanol or 75% isopropyl alcohol.

Ethanol is less concentrated than isopropyl alcohol, so you will need to use slightly more.

How to prepare gel-alcohol based hand sanitizer

The World Health Organization recommends that hand sanitizers are used on skin with no visible dirt. If your hands are visibly dirty, wash them with soap and water. All hand sanitizer should contain alcohol.

For a larger batch of hand sanitizer, the World Health Organization (WHO) has a formula for a hand sanitizer that uses:

  • isopropyl alcohol or ethanol
  • hydrogen peroxide
  • glycerol
  • sterile distilled or boiled cold water


Gel-alcohol based hand sanitizer tend to take around 30 seconds before they fully eliminate bacteria and viruses, while liquids usually take around half that time.

However, this delay of action for gels gives you ample time to fully cover your hands in sanitizer, allowing the product to do exactly what it’s made for.

Gel-alcohol hand sanitizer or simply gels, is the type of sanitizer that contain jelly substance like aloe vera which helps to make it thicker and easily massaged into your skin, hence the name gel.

In the other hand, Liquid hand sanitizer, contain little or no jelly substance. It more alcohol and water.  

Here I will be showing you how to make the one that contain gel.

Safety Tip

Do not use methanol as alcohol when making hand sanitizer because it can be very toxic to the skin and overall health.

What will you need for gel-alcohol based hand sanitize?

To make 100 ml (milliliters) gel-alcohol hand sanitizer you will need:


  • Alcohol: ethanol 96% (83.3 ml) or isopropyl alcohol 99.8% (75.2 ml)
  • Emollient: glycerol/glycerine/glycerin 98% (4 ml)
  • Gelling agent: hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (1 g)
  • Sterile distilled or cooled boiled water (20 ml)


  • A beaker or other container for mixing (250 ml)
  • Measuring cylinders and measuring jugs or you can ten miles syringe as a measuring means.
  • Micropipette (optional)
  • Plastic or silicone spatula or spoon
  • Weighing balance or electronic scales
  • Electric mixer or homogenizer or manual mixer
  • A glass or plastic dispensing bottle (minimum 100 ml in volume)


  • Clean the working surfaces.
  • Wash your hands and put on a clean lab coat or an apron.
  • Gather the ingredients and place within easy reach
  • Graduate the final dispensing bottle by marking the level equivalent to 100 ml.
  • Measure the alcohol (83.3 ml of ethanol or 75.2 ml of isopropyl alcohol) using a measuring jug or cylinder.
  • Cover (to avoid evaporation) and set aside.
  • Measure 20 ml of sterile distilled water or boiled cold water using a measuring jug or cylinder. Set aside until needed.
  • Measure 4 ml of glycerol using measuring cylinder or micropipette and then pour it into the beaker or container.
  • Rinse the measuring cylinder with some of the sterile distilled water or cooled boiled water to remove the remaining glycerol and pour it into the mixing container.
  • Weigh 1 g of hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and disperse it gradually into the solution mixture to avoid the formation of gel lumps. Use a mixer or homogenizer to hasten the process.
  • Add the measured alcohol into the mixing container.
  • A mixer or homogenizer can be used to help the mixing process.
  • Empty the solution into the dispensing bottle.
  • Use a plastic or silicone spatula if needed.
  • Add sterile distilled water or cold boiled water into the dispensing bottle, up to the 100 ml mark.
  • Place the lid on the dispensing bottle as soon as possible to prevent evaporation.
  • Mix the solution by shaking the bottle gently.
  • Store the solution for 72 hours before use to make sure that any microbes in the alcohol or the bottles will be destroyed.
  • Label the bottle and list the final concentrations of ingredients.


Total concentrations of ingredients in your hand sanitizer gel should be:

  • Ethanol 80% (or isopropyl alcohol 75%)
  • Glycerol 4%
  • Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose 1%
  • Water 15% or 20% depending on type of alcohol used.

How to make good old-fashioned hand sanitizer


Making your own hand sanitizer is easy to do because it requires few ingredients.


  • isopropyl or rubbing alcohol (99% alcohol volume)
  • aloe vera gel
  • an essential oil, such as tea tree oil or lavender oil, or you can use lemon juice instead

The key to making an effective, germ-busting hand sanitizer is to stick to a 2:1 proportion of alcohol to aloe vera. This keeps the alcohol content around 60%, the minimum amount needed to kill most germs.

Here I will use the method PhD, Jagdish Khubchandani shared

His hand sanitizer formula combines:

  • 2 parts isopropyl alcohol or ethanol (91–99% alcohol)
  • 1 part aloe vera gel
  • a few drops of clove, eucalyptus, peppermint, or other essential oil
  • If you’re making hand sanitizer at home, Khubchandani says you should  adhere to these tips:


  • Make the hand sanitizer in a clean space. Wipe down countertops with a diluted bleach solution beforehand.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before making the hand sanitizer.
  • To mix, use a clean spoon and whisk. Wash these items thoroughly before using them.
  • Make sure the alcohol used for the hand sanitizer is not diluted.
  • Mix all the ingredients thoroughly until they’re well blended.
  • Don’t touch the mixture with your hands until it’s ready for use.

Safety Tip

Only use homemade hand sanitizers in extreme situations when handwashing isn’t available for the foreseeable future.

Improper ingredients or proportions can lead to:

  • lack of efficacy, meaning that the sanitizer may not effectively eliminate the risk of exposure to some or all microbes
  • skin irritation, injury, or burns
  • exposure to hazardous chemicals via inhalation

Don’t use homemade hand sanitizers on children’s skin as they may be more prone to use them improperly, leading to a greater risk of injury.

Also Hand sanitizer can be very harmful to sperm.

How to use hand sanitizer

Two things to be aware of when using hand sanitizer:

1.You need to rub it into your skin until your hands are dry.

2.If your hands are greasy or dirty, you should wash them first with soap and water.

With that in mind, here are some tips for using hand sanitizer effectively.

  • Spray or apply the sanitizer to the palm of one hand.
  • Thoroughly rub your hands together. Make sure you cover the entire surface of your hands and all your fingers.
  •  Continue rubbing for 20 seconds or until your hands are dry. It can take at least 60 seconds, sometimes longer, for hand sanitizer to kill most germs.

What germs can hand sanitizer kill?

According to the CDC, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that meets the alcohol volume requirement can quickly reduce the number of microbes on your hands.

It can also help destroy a wide range of disease-causing agents or pathogens on your hands, including the coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.

However, even the best alcohol-based hand sanitizers have limitations and don’t eliminate all types of germs.

According to the CDC, hand sanitizers won’t get rid of potentially harmful chemicals. It’s also not effective at eliminating the following germs:

  • Norovirus
  • Cryptosporidium, which causes cryptosporidiosis
  • Clostridium difficile, also known as C. diff

Also, a hand sanitizer may not work well if your hands are visibly dirty or greasy. This may happen after working with food, doing yard work, gardening, or playing a sport.

Handwashing vs. hand sanitizer

Knowing when it’s best to wash your hands, and when hand sanitizers can be helpful, is key to protecting yourself from the coronavirus as well as other illnesses, like the common cold and seasonal flu.

While both serve a purpose, washing your hands with soap and water should always be a priority, according to the CDC. Only use hand sanitizer if soap and water aren’t available in a given situation.

It’s also important to always wash your hands:

  • after going to the bathroom
  • after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • before eating
  • after touching surfaces that could be contaminated

The CDC lists specific instructions on the most effective way to wash your hands.

They recommend the following steps:

Always use clean, running water. (It can be warm or cold.)

Wet your hands first, then turn the water off, and lather your hands with soap.

Rub your hands together with the soap for at least 20 seconds. Make sure to scrub the back of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.

Turn the water on and rinse your hands. Use a clean towel or air dry.


Hand sanitizer is a handy on-the-go way to help prevent the spread of germs when soap and water aren’t available. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can help keep you safe and reduce the spread of pathogens.

If you’re having a hard time finding hand sanitizer at your local stores and handwashing isn’t available, you can take steps to make your own.

You only need a few ingredients, such as rubbing alcohol, aloe vera gel, and an essential oil or lemon juice.

Although hand sanitizers can be an effective way of getting rid of germs, health authorities still recommend handwashing whenever possible to keep your hands free of disease-causing viruses and other germs.

The difference between gels-alcohol or gels hand sanitizer and liquid hand sanitizer is that liquid contain little or no jelly substance while gels contain jelly substance like aloe vera, hence the name gel.

I hope you get the value worth your time. I appreciate the time you spend with me. Leave a comment if you like the post. Do you have any question as regards hand sanitizer I didn’t touch here? Feel free to share with me in the comments below.


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