The simple 7 step guide that Mums are using to make a simple but effective hand sanitiser at home

What exactly is involved with making hand sanitiser at home?

With the emerging situation regarding Covid-19 effecting not just China or Europe but the whole globe I wanted to share a no nonsense, easy to follow formulation for hand sanitiser which you can make at home. Over the last few weeks I have read many websites which claim to share other such formulations but many would be totally ineffective against Covid-19 since they don’t have at least 60% alcohol.

Let me start with explaining what it means to have 60% alcohol in a formulation. Alcohol in this formulation means pure alcohol. Not vodka or gin with only 40% alcohol, the other 60% is water and other ingredients. Not mouthwash which someone told me they were going to use. Not beer which the same person claimed they were going to try. Pure alcohol, I use isopropyl alcohol, is 99.7% pure. Rubbing alcohol or surgical spirits is usually about 70% proof which would work but as soon as you dilute either if these you are lowering this 70 or 99.7% proof. You need to check that the alcohol you have is 99.7%. If you can only get surgical spirits or rubbing alcohol check the percentage of alcohol in it. Keep this in mind and do the maths before you dilute.

I have supplied a formulation using 99.7% isopropyl alcohol. I bought mine this morning from Lenehan’s hardware on Capel Street. They had been sold out but I checked every day to see when it was back in stock. I bought mine this morning but by the time I had written up the formulation they were sold out. I noticed other websites which said they would be back in stock by the start of April. This seems like an awful long time at the moment but keep checking suppliers. I have also read articles about local distillers making high proof alcohols for supply to companies to make hand sanitiser. I guess you could try a local distillery but I’m not sure if they would sell you alcohol at such a high percentage.

I have included two formulation sheets below. One is the WHO formulation but explained in percentages which most people could understand. The second is a formulation without hydrogen peroxide. This is because at the moment hydrogen peroxide is also very difficult to get and as it is a bleach some people may not want to use it. The active ingredient is the alcohol so it will be just as effective without hydrogen peroxide.

Glycerin and aloe vera can be added as moisturiser and humectants as these will make a more tolerable hand sanitiser and keep hands soft. Pure alcohol also evaporates very quickly so diluting this but not lowering the percentage so as to preserve its efficacy will ensure that the pure alcohol does not evaporate as soon as you put it on your hands.

Also remember alcohol is highly flammable. Do not use this near a flame or while smoking and store in a cool place.


Formula Name: WHO formulation Hand Sanitiser (75% v/v alcohol)

Batch Size: l00ml Batch number:

Date: 20/03/20

Supplier (as of 20/03/20)
1 A
Isopropyl alcohol (99.7% v/v)
76 76g
2 A
Hydrogen Peroxide (concentration 3%)
Most chemists
4 4g
3 A
Distilled / boiled cooled water
Home made /
18 18g
4 B
Most chemists or baking aisle
Functional /Humectant 2



Formulation Procedure:

  1. Carefully clean all surfaces, utensils and hands which will come into contact with your ingredients. You may use your isopropyl alcohol for this or a diluted bleach  or soap cleaner
  2. If using a graduated measuring flask or jug measure out 76ml of isopropyl alcohol. If using a weighing scale weigh 76g of Isopropyl alcohol. Add to 100ml clean bottle.
  3. Measure or weigh 4ml or 4g of Hydrogen Peroxide. Add to alcohol in 100ml bottle.
  4. In a separate clean measuring cup weigh or measure 2ml or 2g of glycerine. Add 18ml or 18g of distilled water or boiled cooled water to glycerine. Mix thoroughly with a clean spoon. Add glycerine mixture to alcohol and hydrogen peroxide mix in 100 ml bottle with Isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide mixture. 
  5. Add lid to bottle immediately to prevent alcohol evaporation
  6. Gently shake mixture to combine ingredients.
  7. Label bottle with WHO recommended hand rub formulation containing isopropanol, glycerol and hydrogen peroxide. Add date and batch number.


  • In cosmetics grams are generally used when measuring ingredients. However in this case ml will be just as effective
  • Keep a record of all of the packaging batch numbers you used to make your hand sanitiser. You can do this by taking a photo of the batch code from each ingredient and keeping it on your phone or pasting it into this document.
  • Make up your own batch number such as WHOSan01, WHOSan02 etc. Anything will do once you have some tracking code. This is important if you are going to give hand sanitiser to others.
  • The active ingredient in this formulation is the 99.7% alcohol. Hydrogen peroxide is added to help with elimination of spores. It is a bleaching agent so beware of spraying on clothes.
  • For a non hydrogen peroxide you can substitute Aloe Vera juice / gel instead which will enhance the humectant properties of the formulation along with the Glycerine.
  • Glycerine is a humectant which means it will help keep hands soft.
  • Also the addition of other ingredients to the isopropyl alcohol will help slow down the fast evaporation of pure alcohol.
  • Spray bottles are widely available. Bomar in Wicklow has a big selection and will deliver the next day. However, you can reuse bottles you may have at home once they are thoroughly cleaned.
  • All of these ingredients are available online so you will not need to leave your house to get them.


Isopropyl alcohol is extremely flammable. Do not formulate near naked flames or whilst smoking. 

Finished product and ingredients should be stored in a cool place.

For external use only

Do not spray near eyes

Keep out of reach of children

Do not use regular alcohol such as vodka or gin. These are usually 40% v/v. You will never get a strong enough formulation to kill virus with 40% proof alcohol. Let me know what you think and stay safe. Remember the best hand sanitiser is soap and water so wash your hands.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

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