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5 Reasons Why You Should Make Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Cynthia is a digital marketer, writer, and artist. She writes about a variety of topics, especially digital marketing, languages & culture.

Making Hand Sanitizer At Home Has Real Benefits

Commercial hand sanitizers have their place for sure, but I personally have always been a little leery of the alcohol content in them. Plus, the fragrances contain chemicals in their fragrances that companies aren’t required to disclose.

I came across a dish soap called Biokleen and learned that it was biodegradable, and has many natural ingredients, such as grapefruit seed extract that are kind to your skin and to the planet.

The label on the side says that you can use it for bubble baths, to wash pets, and you can use it as a hand soap.

That got me thinking. If this stuff is gentle on the environment and gentle on my skin, yet still gets stuff clean, then a homemade hand sanitizer could work wonders.

5 Great Reasons To Make Your Own Hand Sanitizer

Once I made the hand sanitizer, I kept finding reasons to use it. Never again will I buy the commercial stuff: I’ve found too many reasons to make it myself.

1. You can wash vegetables with it. Have you ever heard of those citrus cleaners that will wash veggies and help get any pesticides or residues off? The ingredients in biodegradable dish soap are similar, especially with regard to citrus. Now, I wash my veggies with my homemade hand sanitizer.

2. When you need to freshen up, say going from work to an evening event, I have found that spritzing my face and hair with my hand sanitizer really works to clean my face gently and freshens my hair.

3. You can help prevent stains from setting and clean them on the “spot.” Homemade hand sanitizer is gentle, so it might not do really tough work on stains, but you can still use it to help keep stains from drying and setting.

4. You can use it to clean your glasses. Spray a little bit on each lens and use a paper towel to wipe away.

5. It comes in handy when you’re camping. This is really when I figured out I’d always make my own hand sanitizer. On a recent camping trip, it became a general-purpose cleaner.

Plus I loved the fact that I was helping to not bring toxic chemicals into the natural environment.

  • You can use it to spot-clean dishes. On a camping trip, you sometimes find that you missed a spot on an otherwise clean dish. I just squirted some sanitizer on it, wiped it off and the dish was clean.
  • Sanitize dish rags. You can use this trick whether you’re camping or not. After cleaning a batch of dishes, the dishrag often has small food particles in it, inviting bacteria growth. You can spritz the dishrag to help sanitize it.
  • This is a more random use of hand sanitizer. I recently read an article about how you have no idea where bottles and cans have been, and that it’s a good idea to wipe them down before you drink from them. I wanted to put some bottles in a cooler with ice, but I was thinking that I also wanted to save water. I didn’t want the unclean bottles in the ice. So, I sprayed them with my hand sanitizer, wiped them down and placed them in the ice. Later, when the ice melted, I knew I was able to save water and do dishes or wash my hands because it was clean.
  • When birds flew by and left their messes (yes, their poop) on the tent or tarp, I sprayed the spots with hand sanitizer. It was easy to wipe the icky white spots away.

I’m sure there are a number of uses that I have not thought of, but these are definitely new uses for hand sanitizer for me. I love the fact that I’m not using harmful ingredients. I can clean things knowing that I’m not going to poison myself with toxic chemicals.

How to Make Your Own Sanitizer

1. At your local health food store, go to the soaps and detergents section. You’ll find biodegradable dish soap such as Biokleen, Ecover and 7th Generation. Any of those will do. You’re basically looking for a natural soap that is friendly to humans as well as the planet.

2. Get a little spray bottle. The ideal type is a small hand-size bottle that allows you to spray its contents easily.

3. Add about ¼ to ½ capful of the dish soap to the bottle. Be aware that if it’s concentrated, a little goes a long way.

4. Fill the rest of the bottle with water.

5. Shake to mix.

6. Use wherever you go.

One of my favorite dish soaps: Biokleen.

One of my favorite dish soaps: Biokleen.

A List of the Ingredients in Biokleen:

The list of ingredients is pretty short. Biokleen has surfactants that are like conditioners.

They're made from coconuts and corn. It also contains citrus products.

Grapefruit and orange peel extracts are known to be kind to the skin.

They also clean well. Aloe and vitamin E are two other ingredients, as well as sulfonates which are like more surfactants.

A List of the Ingredients in Ecover:

The list of ingredients for Ecover is a little different, but I found similarities. It has anionic and non-ionic surfactants, aloe vera, wheat proteins, citric acid, salt, lemon fragrance, and biodegradable preservative and of course water.

The fact that I can read these ingredients and know basically what they are, puts me at ease. I know aloe vera is good for skin, wheat (think oatmeal) is also good for the skin. Citric acid (like the grapefruit and orange extracts in the Biokleen) acts as a cleaning agent, as does the salt. The surfactants are conditioners.

I am not sure what exactly is in the fragrance and the biodegradable preservative, but the bottle - and their website - says it is plant-based.

It is also safe for septic tanks.

It has minimum impact on aquatic life.

The bottle the soap comes in is 100% plant-based plastic.

I am satisfied that both of these products are safe for the environment and safe to use in other applications besides just dish washing. I think I'll always be making my own biodegradable, non-toxic and versatile hand sanitizer.

A picture I took of my Ecover soap.

A picture I took of my Ecover soap.


I make this for my own homemade use only.

I do not claim that my homemade sanitizer, in fact, kills as much bacteria as regular hand sanitizer, nor do I claim to know everything about its effectiveness or its safety.

I only can say - from my experience - that I like what I see, I like that it cleans, I like the scent, and I like the fact that I know what the ingredients are.

I do put my faith in the ability of citric acid to clean and soothe the skin. I have referenced websites and my sources in this article and I've read in different places over the years about cleaning with lemon juice and/or citric acid.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Cynthia Calhoun


Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 25, 2012:

Crystaleyes - indeed! That's one of the reasons I love my sanitizer - no more dry hands. :)

crystaleyes from Earth on September 25, 2012:

For people with sensitive skin and allergic skin conditions, a homemade sanitizer is a boon.. will surely try.. thanks..

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 24, 2012:

Rolly - hey there! Thank you for stopping by! Hugs from southern USA. I find the regular sanitizer hard on the hands, too. :)

ITCoach - I'm glad you like this. I appreciate the votes and shares.

HouseBuyersUS - I have fun discovering new uses for my hand sanitizer. :D Thanks for stopping by.

HouseBuyersUS from Centreville, Virginia, USA on September 24, 2012:

It is always good to use home made sanitizers as harmful chemicals are not present in it. And the reasons that you have shared is helpful actually. Thanks a lot for this wonderful hub....

ITcoach from United States on September 23, 2012:


I am really impressed with these ideas to make a home product that is bio degradable too. I will feel pleasure to share it with my friends too.

Thanks for sharing the knowledge. voted and liked

Rolly A Chabot from Alberta Canada on September 23, 2012:

Hi CC... what a great idea... most sanitizers on the market I find are hard on the hands... will be trying out some of your suggestions...

Hugs from Canada

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on September 21, 2012:

Kris - hey there! Great to see you! I love Dr. Bronner's. I use their castile soap to make shampoo. I've thought about using it to make yet another kind of hand sanitizer - I'll update this hub if I do. :)

Thelma Alberts - It's so fun to make it - I forgot it today when I was out and about and so wanted it after being at the gas station. I often take it out of my bag and use it at home, but I think I'll just have to make a bunch of them so I have it wherever I am, LOL.

Adrienne - Yeah, it's not too bad! I love it, too - the gentle scent and all the fun things you can do with it. I have no idea how it stands up to regular sanitizer, but I will say that I don't care. A teensy bit of biodegradable soap just rings wonderful. :)

Jean Rogers - Yeah, I've made all sorts of accidental discoveries while using this stuff. My latest one was spraying the dashboard of my car before picking up some friends. It worked great, made the car smell nice, and my friends don't think I'm a mess. LOL

Alifeofdesign - That's great!! I haven't made laundry soap. So far I use the biodegradable stuff, but I'll have to look into that. I'd definitely try it - and I'm sure I'd be into it. :D

Graham Gifford from New Hamphire on September 21, 2012:

I've been making my family's laundry soap for years now. I have made hand soap and dish soap also and enjoy reading this type of article. Evry small change can make a positive impact-thanks for teaching us about yours.

Jean Rogers on September 21, 2012:

Great idea to make your own. Using it as a spot cleaner while on the go and to clean bird poop of the tent- how versatile!

Fierce Manson from Atlanta on September 21, 2012:

I can not believe how easy it is to make your own sanitizer! I was expecting a list of steps to go through to make your own. I love this simple DIY hub. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea with the HP community.

Thelma Alberts from Germany on September 21, 2012:

What a great hub! I bought hand sanitizer a month ago. I´ll look for these ingredients in our shops and I love to make my own hand sanitizer. Thanks for sharing. Voted up and useful;-)

Kris Heeter from Indiana on September 21, 2012:

I've been buying safe and all natural hand hand sanitzer from Dr. Bronner's website that uses lavender oil - have loved it. And, recently I ran across a recipe a bit different than yours to try a few weeks ago, so now I have two new "DIY" ones to try. Thanks for sharing:)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on May 02, 2012:

PageC - good thoughts here! ;) The websites (Biokleen, for example) don't ever claim to kill all bacteria or anything like that. They DO claim that your dishes will get clean and spot-free using natural products like citric acid (the stuff found in lemons or oranges) and the like. I'm not a scientist, either, but looking at the data from the Biokleen website, I know that they couldn't market a product that claims to clean dishes (that are generally laden with bacteria from food) and doesn't actually do the job could be a bad risk. That being said, citric acid is known for being especially helpful for the skin. Hope that helps. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on May 02, 2012:

Novascotiamiss - thanks for coming by!! It's so great to hear of other people who are into helping make the world a cleaner place. I'm looking at the Biokleen website as I respond to your question: I went under the dish liquid banner and it doesn't say anything about how MUCH bacteria is eliminated when you wash dishes. However, the soap having citric acid in it, and people use it to clean dishes and other kitchen items, I would imagine that if it didn't do a good job of getting rid of bacteria (think raw chicken on cooking surfaces), then its validity as a dish liquid would be in question. I definitely feel better using this stuff, though, than the alcohol-based stuff that has unknown or even harmful chemicals. However, I cannot vouch for industrial use; this is just something I came up with for homemade use. But, you've got me thinking: I wonder what Biokleen would say if I sent them the link to this hub...hmmm...thanks for the idea! :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on May 02, 2012:

DREAM ON - great username. :) Thank you for the votes. I'm so glad you found these tips helpful. Hear, hear to a safer and cleaner world. (HUGS)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on May 02, 2012:

RT - hello! Thanks for coming by. I'm so glad you enjoyed this. I have even found another use: it actually makes a refreshing spray after a long day - spray a little on the face and it cools you down. :) The mixture is a little more "watery" than regular sanitizer, but I love the scent and I'm comfortable with the fact that it's not going to fill me up with bad chemicals. :)

PageC on May 02, 2012:

Great hub - thank you! I will definitely try this for washing fruits and veggies.

Just a side note, I would guess these cleaners, with their surfactants and a mechanical action, such as rinsing, is what removes bacteria/germs in environmentally-safe products. I believe that something that actually killed germs, would kill the good along with the bad, and that harms the environment. I'm not a scientist, though!

Novascotiamiss from Nova Scotia, Canada on May 02, 2012:

Thanks for a very useful article. I'm buying biodegradable products whenever I can, so this will come in useful. I had never thought of rinsing fruit & vegs in soapy water... One last question though, I guess this is not really a sanitizer, it's just a cleaner (what I mean, it doesn't really kill germs) or am I wrong?

DREAM ON on May 02, 2012:

A great idea and useful and so easy.Voted up and thanks for sharing your wonderful tips and advice.To a safer and cleaner world.

RTalloni on May 02, 2012:

This hub on making your own hand sanitizer is full of helpful information. FIrst, thanks for the recipe formula. Am looking forward to making this a part of our daily lives. Using this to wash veggies is an important benefit, and it was good to see the note on washing cans before using them. If people would look at what comes off cans when they are simply wiped with a damp white napkin they would be appalled. I am linking this hub to my Slow Death by Rubber Duck review, if you have no objection. Voted up and shared.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 21, 2012:

Cindy - alas, I have no scientific proof. Too bad, "it gets the bird poop off" can't be proof. Hehehe. I have wondered about that, too, but I'm just going on the concentrations of what the individual soapmakers say - one capful or one squeeze will clean a whole sink of dishes. If that's the case, then if my little spritz bottle is about 1/4 the size, I roughly estimate about 1/4 as much soap. But, I haven't seen anything on the dish soap websites. If I come across that info, I will update this hub for sure. :) (HUGS)

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on April 21, 2012:

This is a really great idea! I wonder if it is as effective though? My agency uses this a bit because we provide home care for adults. How is is at fighting the germs that encounter in the nursing homes and hospitals? If there was some kind of proof of its effectiveness I might could talk my husband into converting to this, and that would be great.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 21, 2012:

Earthy Mother - I'm so glad you liked this! :) My hand sanitizer is such a great thing to have around - I keep it in the car, in the kitchen, in the bathroom, near my glasses. Hehe. Thanks for stopping by. (HUGS)

Nicole Forman from South East England on April 21, 2012:

Great hub!! I'm forever washing my hands so will definitely try this out instead of buying a hand gel...thank you!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 18, 2012:

Hawaii - I'm a germaphone and a chemophobe (I guess that's what you'd call someone who doesn't like unnecessary chemicals, lol) - so when I figured this out, I started jumping up and down and then proceeded to spend a whole day - yes, a whole day - dreaming up all the cool things I could do with my hand sanitizer. Hehehe. Thanks for stopping by. :) (HUGS)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 18, 2012:

rebecca - hey there! Great to see you! :) I just LOVE trying to make things myself. It's also fun when you discover homemade things that work for other things, too. Hehe. Thanks for the kudos and shares. (HUGS)

HawaiiHeart from Hawaii on April 18, 2012:

As a germaphobe - I think it would be great to get rid of as much chemicals as possible. I know germs are not all that bad, but the chemicals that we come into contact every's scary!

Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on April 18, 2012:

Wow! Voted up, helpful and socially shared! Anything you make yourself is comforting. You know what is in it. I like the way you used your home made hand sanitizer for other purposes, too!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 14, 2012:

radhikasree - I'm not one for lots of chemicals. I try to cut them out where I can, for sure. Indeed, I always have to wonder if water really gets all those pesticides off of the veggies.

In any case, I'm so glad you stopped by, and thank you for sharing. (HUGS)

Radhika Sreekanth from Mumbai,India on April 14, 2012:

Making our own sanitizer would be a great idea to get rid of all those chemicals. Washing veggies is an added advantage as sometimes washing merely with water won't work well. Great hub. Up and useful.

Sharing with my friends here.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 12, 2012:

Vicki! How are you? I literally jumped up and down when I figured that I could wash veggies with this stuff. Woohoo! Thanks for stopping by and for the votes. :)

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on April 12, 2012:

Great ideas, girlfriend! I especially like the one about washing veggies. I always rinse them but don't want to use soap on them. This stuff would be great, I think. Very helpful, hub. I gave you many votes. Good job!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 11, 2012:

Teresa - aw, thanks! I have been leery of the regular stuff for awhile. I just haven't been very comfortable slathering something all over my skin when it's got so much alcohol and other unknowns in it. So, I LOVE this alternative. Plus, it helps save money and the planet. Yes! (HUGS)

Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on April 11, 2012:

Awesome hub. After finishing your hub I think I will definitely try your home made hand-sanitizer. I gave up using the store bought when I read the antibacterial version could cause new resistant bugs to develop. Great job!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

TCC - thanks so much for coming by and reading. I appreciate the votes and your insights. The fruit/veg wash I think is my favorite use of my home made sanitizer. :) (HUGS)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

Kiwi - Thanks for stopping by and for commenting. I'm glad you found this innovative. :) Cheers!

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

aviannovice - great to see you! I know 7th Generation is another biodegradable soap. That's great! Thank YOU for stopping by. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

vespawoolf - right there with you. I had read awhile ago about concerns about what your body absorbs through the skin - the largest organ in the body. It concluded that you shouldn't put anything on the skin that you wouldn't eat. I immediately thought of hand sanitizer and the stuff in it. So, I began to look for alternatives. Though I wouldn't eat the "surfactants," at least they are coconut-based or based on another plant. In any case, I hear you: I feel like this is so much safer and practical. Thanks for stopping by. :)

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

stricklydating - good to see you again. :) The hand sanitizer does smell yummy - like lemons (at least with the brand I use). Thanks for your feedback. Cheers!

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on April 10, 2012:

Great idea, CC! The fruit/veg wash really makes sense. Thanks and voted up and useful!

Max Zvyagintsev from New Zealand on April 10, 2012:

Now that's innovative!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on April 10, 2012:

CC, I'll do the hand sanitizer, too with my 7th Generation. Thanks again!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on April 10, 2012:

What a great idea, cclitgirl! Yes, I often worry about the ingredients in hand sanitizers which are absorbed into the body through the skin. This sounds like a much safer, more practical alternative. Thank you!

StrictlyQuotes from Australia on April 10, 2012:

Wow! I found this very interesting, I emagine the product smells nice too, unlike commercial brand hand sanitizer.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

alocsin - yep, I think the fruits and veggies one is my favorite. :) Thanks for stopping by.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

Outbound Dan - yikes! That would be a GOOD reason to NOT use the alcohol based cleaners. EEEk. Knowing myself, I would be the one to singe my eyebrows and a few unlucky strands of hair. Haha. I have no idea if it's flammable. I would guess it's about as flammable as any other dish soap out there, maybe less so because of the natural products. Good question, though. Maybe I'll stand out in a wide open piece of asphalt and see. Hehehe.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

Margie - hehe, I know, the hard part is the "remembering to do it" - I'm definitely guilty of having memory lapses. Hehe. Thanks for stopping by.

Cynthia Calhoun (author) from Western NC on April 10, 2012:

Sunshine - I like B&B, too. :) I worked there in college. Thanks for the shares and votes. :)

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on April 10, 2012:

What a great idea and I like the idea of being able to wash fruits with it. Voting this Up and Useful.

Dan Human from Niagara Falls, NY on April 10, 2012:

Yes, but is it flammable? I've started fires with the alcohol based sanitizer. Then again, we probably shouldn't be coating our skin on an hourly basis with a volatile substance. Fantastic Hub, and I'll make some up later this week.

Margie on April 10, 2012:

Good idea! I just need to remember these products on my next shopping trip!

Linda Bilyeu from Orlando, FL on April 10, 2012:

Very interesting! I'm a fan of Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer, but this hub will be shared with others!:)