Loads of hand sanitizers out there can leave your hands feeling dry and flakey. And with a long list of complicated-looking ingredients, it can be challenging to get to grips with what’s in your sanitizer. At PlantX, we understand the dilemma and we’ve got your back with an extensive range of natural and organic plant-based hand sanitizers that are free from harsh chemicals.
BUT for ultimate control, and a whole lot of fun, you could DIY your hand sanitizer! Making your own hand sanitizer can work out to be a fraction of the price when you make a big batch, which can also be more eco-friendly in the long run! Plus, YOU’RE in control! So. Here’s how to make plant-based hand sanitizer!
What’s Wrong with Normal Hand Sanitizers?
Like it or not, these days hand sanitizer has become an essential part of our lives. Whether you’re doing your part to protect yourself and your community from a pandemic, or if you’re just eager to avoid the worst of flu season, hand sanitizers are a great tool.
And whilst they’re no replacement for washing your hands with soap, hand sanitizer can be super useful. Whether you’re on the go or you’ve just been touching too many surfaces for your liking, it’s always a good idea to have a hand sanitizer tucked into your back pocket.
But with a recent boom in demand, there are a whole host of things on the market. And yes, you guessed it… lots of them come with a bunch of downsides.
First of all, there’s the ingredients list. Come on! They can make for absurd reading. A big long list of chemicals, preservatives, and animal products. Take, for example, benzene. Some commercial hand sanitizers have been found to have unacceptable levels of benzene, which may cause certain types of cancer in humans. Other commercial hand sanitizers have been found to contain methanol – even when these products were labelled with non-harmful ingredients. Methanol may be a potentially harmful and life-threatening substance, with reports of blindness and hospitalizations where products were accidentally ingested.
They’re certainly not the kind of thing we want to be rubbing into our skin and spreading around our environment. Plant-based sanitizers avoid these harsh chemicals, leaning towards natural ingredients instead, which are gentler on our skin. And of course, making our own plant-based hand sanitizers makes a lot of sense when we want to be 100% sure of what we’re rubbing into our skin.
The first job is to choose your bottle. And there are more options than you might think. You could opt for a spray bottle. This is a good choice, particularly if you are going to go for a sanitizer with high water content. Why not reuse an old bottle? Something like this will do the job well. Once it’s finished, you can simply reuse the bottle over and over again!
Maybe you’d prefer a dropper bottle? Those useful little bottles with a pipette attached to the lid. These work great for all sorts of sanitizers and they also give you great control over how much liquid you want to dispense. They tend to come in glass too, which will help you cut back on your plastic usage.
You can also go for a more conventional squeezy bottle, like this. These will be particularly good if you decide to make a sanitizer with a gel-like consistency. Plus you’ll feel great knowing that you reused an old bottle, rather than binning or recycling it! They are also very resilient, so you can throw them into your bag without worrying too much.
Whatever style you choose, our main tip is to go for something portable. Hand sanitizers are for when you’re on the go. So make sure your bottle is appropriate!
A Bacteria Killer
There are a couple of options here.
Ever wondered why tea tree oil crops up so often in toiletry products? Well, it’s just fantastic at killing bacteria. A few drops of the stuff and you can help guard against infection. Studies have proven the effectiveness of Tea Tree Oil, so it’s a great bet for your vegan hand sanitizer.
Alcohol should also be in the top ingredients you add. So long as it’s over 60% alcohol and (of course) you are using vegan alcohol. Almost all pure alcohol spirits are vegan, but you should always double-check when using alcohol in your vegan hand sanitizer. Don’t forget that your alcohol is likely to be diluted when you mix it with the other ingredients and some sterilized water. You should be aiming for as pure an alcohol as you can get, so that you can still achieve the magic 60% alcohol content that is needed to kill germs.
An Essential Oil (for scent)
Now, this bit really is up to you. It’s an optional addition, but it’s an addition we would really recommend. You want your vegan hand sanitizer to smell great. And an essential oil is a great way to achieve the scent you want.
Maybe you favor eucalyptus? Or perhaps you’re more of a lavender kind of person? Lemongrass works great too. You can even opt for a blended oil. There are loads of options out there.
Heck if you really want to put the boat out you might even try and make your own essential oils. Your homemade hand sanitizer really will be as homemade as they come!
Maybe you want to throw in an extra antiseptic? Not a bad idea. And there are loads of natural options out there. Witch Hazel is a great option for your vegan hand sanitizer. Calendula works great too. Even thyme has been shown to have antiseptic properties.
So find a way of throwing these natural ingredients in and you will be maximizing the defensive strength your plant-based hand sanitizer.
It can sometimes seem like you have a choice to make between sanitized hands and moisturized hands. Keep your hands clean but dry. Or dirty but moisturized. Well, when it comes to your homemade vegan hand sanitizer you just don’t need to choose. All you need to do is make it right.
Your mixture needs a moisturizer to help counteract the drying qualities of alcohol. Aloe Vera is the classic choice for a reason. It’s just fantastic at what it does. Aloe contains humectants that bind moisture to the skin. There is also evidence to suggest that aloe stimulates collagen and elastin fibers, both great for rejuvenating your skin.
You can get hold of lots of different kinds of aloe vera. We’d recommend going for an aloe vera gel. A gel will go a long way in your vegan hand sanitizer and it will also lend your product a useful gel-like texture which will make application easy.
Or you could go one step further. Why not grow your own aloe vera? It’s an easy-care succulent with extraordinary healing properties. And you can harvest their gorgeous leaves and extract the gel yourself!
Mixing and Making…
So now you’ve chosen your ingredients, you might be asking: how do I turn my chosen ingredients into a hand sanitizer?
Well, there are, of course, no exact rules. You should experiment! See what works for you. That said, it’s important to get enough sanitizing power into your little bottle, so here are some guidelines.
- Try twenty drops of your chosen bacteria killer (or killers if you decide to mix).
- Ten drops of your chosen essential oil (or oils)
- 1.5 tablespoons of your antiseptic
- And a tablespoon of your moisturizer.
Side note: If you are looking to make a bigger batch, just scale up these measurements accordingly, keeping the ratios the same.
Now mix all of these ingredients in a small bowl and make sure they are well incorporated.
After you have filled up your bottle with the ingredients, fill up the bottle with sterilized water. The sterilization of this water is really important, and it’ll help if the water is filtered too. You don’t want to be introducing any bacteria to the very thing that is supposed to sanitize!
And don’t forget that for a hand sanitizer to be effective, at least 60% of it needs to be alcohol, as recommended by the US Food & Drug Administration. So the amount of sterilized water you use needs to be adjusted to the alcohol content of your chosen bacteria killer. As a general rule of thumb, at least ¾ of your bottle needs to be alcohol.
Now take a funnel and fill up the bottle with your mixture from the bowl. Seal the bottle and give it a really good shake.
And then… voila! You’ve done it! That’s how to make plant-based hand sanitizer.
We’ve got some anti-baccing to do!
And remember, with all homemade adventures, experimentation is always going to teach you more than anything else. So give it a try. Amend. And try again. Now you’ve learned how to make plant-based hand sanitizer you’ll be treating your hands with the respect they deserve.
And with your new hand sanitizer making-skills you’ll not just be doing your pocket a favor. Think of all the single-use plastic you won’t be using? And all the toxic chemicals you won’t be washing down the sink.
Join the revolution and become a vegan hand sanitizer wizard!