Two people using sanitiser

How to make eco-friendly hand sanitiser

Create your own simple four-ingredient DIY hand sanitiser for effective and eco-friendly protection against germs.

With sales of hand sanitiser at a premium millions more small virgin plastic bottles are flooding into the environment. If you’re looking for a greener way to fight germs, why not think about making your own anti-bacterial gel in reusable containers?

The number one way to help stop communicable diseases is, of course, to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly, but hand sanitiser can help between washes and provide extra protection when you’re out and about.

Making your own sanitiser is easy to do and is based around tea tree, an essential oil that comes from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, a tree native to Australia.

Tea tree oil contains a number of compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, that have been shown to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Research also suggests the compound can increase the activity of white blood cells in the body, boosting the immune system. To make sure you get the full benefit of its therapeutic properties, buy a quality oil that is 100 per cent undiluted, from a reputable source such as Tisserand, Absolute Aromas or Neal’s Yard.

Witch hazel, the second ingredient, also has anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, while aloe vera gel is added as the final element to keep hands naturally moisturised.

Together these will provide an effective cleansing barrier, but if you want to include extra germ-killing power you can also add a fourth ingredient, alcohol.

Adding some ethanol or surgical spirit, which can be bought in any chemist, will supercharge your DIY hand sanitiser, although it can dry the hands out so make sure they are kept well moisturised when you are using it.

Ingredients:
  • 150ml ethanol/surgical spirit (There needs to be at least 60% alcohol for handwash to be effective)
  • Aloe gel squeezed from one leaf of an aloe vera plant or 50ml Aloe Vera gel
  • 5-10 drops of tea tree oil
  • 5-10 drops of witch hazel

You could also use Tea tree, Geranium, Sweet orange, Lavender etc.

Method:

Mix all ingredients together and decant into a small bottle. Use after handwashing, and between handwashes, if needed.

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