Stopping coronavirus spread: Can I make my own hand sanitizer at home?

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Dear Dr. Manny, 

I am trying to stay out of the stores and avoid having unnecessary packages delivered to my home. In an effort to be resourceful, is there a safe way for me to make my own hand sanitizer? 

Thanks for your question, it's one that I have gotten many times over the last few weeks, especially since there appear to be shortages of hand sanitizers in retail stores, and when they are available there is a limit to how much you can buy.


In some stores, I've seen hand sanitizers being made by independent local store owners that are not pharmacies. This is a concern to me for several reasons.

Good old soap and water will do the trick, and if you wash your hands frequently with soap and water, you eliminate some of your concerns regarding coronavirus.

If you are thinking of making your own hand sanitizer at home, be very careful since there are many recipes available online that can put you in harm’s way.


The basic ingredients for homemade hand sanitizer include rubbing alcohol or isopropyl (99 percent alcohol volume), aloe vera gel, and some essential oils such as tea tree oil or lavender oil.  The proportions should always be 2 to 1 alcohol to aloe vera which will keep the alcohol content to about 60 percent.

All of this mixture should be done in a clean space, using sterile techniques, as much as possible.

However, remember homemade hand sanitizers should only be considered in extreme situations, especially since it could lead to a lack of efficacy, therefore, really not being an effective product to kill microbes.


It could also lead to skin irritations or burns and, definitely, should not be used on children.

Remember, there are also other germs that are not effectively killed by hand sanitizers, so please be careful.

If you are thinking of making such a product at home, please consult your doctor first.

And remember, soap and water does the trick!

Do you have a health question for Dr. Manny? Email us at