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Homemade Essential Oil Hand Sanitizer Recipes For Adults & Children

Updated March 14, 2020

If you are looking for a cheap and effective way to make a homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipes for yourself and your children, you have come to the right place.

Whether it’s cold and flu season, your kids are going back to school, or you simply want a way to clean your hands when washing them isn’t an option, this article will teach you how to do it.

In this article, I’m walking you through the steps on how to make homemade essential oil hand sanitizer that effectively kills germs and blends essential oils into the mix in a safe way. Not only that, but I’m sharing several homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipes that can be used for different aged kids as well. 

How Germs Spread

Hand sanitizer is one of those convenient types of things that help cut down on the transmission of germs.

Germs are spread in three different ways.

  1. Airborne – as in someone coughs or sneezes and your kid breaths those droplets in.
  2. Direct contact – perhaps someone coughs in their hand and then you shake hands with them.
  3. Indirect contact – you touch the shopping cart at Kroger and then forget to wash your hands before putting a piece of gum in.

Hand sanitizer isn’t going to do much for airborne germ transmission, but it can help with direct and indirect contact transmission since it acts directly on the skin.

I should also state that hand sanitizer doesn’t replace good ole hand washing. Hand washing does the best job of removing germs. If you haven’t already, teach your kiddo how to wash their hands properly as this will majorly reduce their risk of getting sick. If you wanna make it more fun, teach your child how to wash their hands properly using “glitter germs.” My kids love this, and we do it every year around this time.

So why not save yourself time and just buy plain ole hand sanitizer from the store?

Unfortunately, there are some harsh chemicals in many store-bought hand sanitizers that you probably don’t want on your kid’s skin. This post from Parenting Tips 365 highlights harmful ingredients in hand sanitizers (as well as hand soaps) and includes some great links to back up the claims. This is definitely worth pinning!

It’s for these reasons that natural mamas, like myself, choose to either buy natural products or make our own. Since I like making things myself and saving money, I opt for DIY options.

Below you’ll find several different homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipes (and one without essential oils). Put them in your purse, your diaper bag, your kid’s backpack, your car, your office desk, or wherever you think one will come in handy.

Safety Notes To Consider BEFORE Making A Homemade Hand Sanitizer

Disinfection

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 60% alcohol is the minimum alcohol percentage required to kill microbes. Because of this, all of the homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipes below meet this requirement.

Many of the below recipes call for 95% alcohol (190-proof) which can be found in many liquor stores. If you can’t find that percentage of alcohol, you can use any other liquor that contains 60% alcohol (120-proof) or higher. If you’re in a pinch, 91% rubbing alcohol will work. While rubbing alcohol isn’t the most natural, and therefore, not my first choice, it will work if you have no other options.

When using 60% alcohol in place of higher-proof alcohol, you will use alcohol only. DO NOT include the aloe gel as this will further dilute the alcohol and not disinfect as well.

Preservation

Alcohol and water-based products require around 25-30% alcohol to keep microbes from growing in the mixture. All of the below recipes that include alcohol meet this requirement and should be shelf-stable for 6 months or more.

Combining Essential Oils with Water

The higher the percentage of alcohol, the more the essential oils will dissolve into it. To do this, you will need to use high-proof alcohol (190-proof) that contains 95% alcohol in your homemade hand sanitizers to properly dissolve the essential oils into the liquid. Everclear and other 190-proof grain alcohols will work here. However, alcohol quickly evaporates and will leave the essential oil behind on your skin so using high-proof alcohol and essential oils alone isn’t a safe option for DIY hand sanitizers.

To make your DIY hand sanitizer even safer, you have two options. You can use an emulsifier or a surfactant to better disperse the essential oils into the water portion of your DIY hand sanitizer.

Emulsifiers, such as Solubol, Disper, or another similar emulsifying agent (such as these on Amazon), work to combine essential oils with water so they can’t separate. In my opinion, this is the best and safest option. If using an emulsifier isn’t doable, surfactants, such as Castille soap or Branch Basics concentrate, can help to disperse essential oils into your DIY hand sanitizer and keep them from coming into direct contact with your skin. 

Oil-Based Homemade Hand Sanitizers

If you’re not comfortable with any kind of alcohol, you can simply use a carrier oil like apricot kernel oil as the base of your sanitizer. Just know that these types of homemade hand sanitizers may not kill as many germs as one with 60% alcohol would, but the essential oils will help to some extent with microbes. Oil-based homemade hand sanitizers will last 12 months when properly stored and used.

Essential Oils

I personally love using Plant Therapy essential oils, but you can use whatever brand of essential oils you like best.

Homemade Essential Oil Hand Sanitizer Recipes

Below you will find a basic homemade hand sanitizer recipe that will serve as the foundation of your homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipes. Below this base recipe, you will find several essential oil blends for different aged children that can be added to the base recipe. 

Basic Homemade Hand Sanitizer

This basic homemade hand sanitizer recipe can be used on its own or with the essential oil blends below.

Ingredients:

Directions: 

  1. Combine your ingredients in a small bowl, whisk to thoroughly combine, and pour in a 1-ounce spray bottle.
  2. Label and spray on hands. Rub liquid into hands well, and allow to dry.

Disinfecting Citrus Mint Hand Sanitizer

This homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipe uses a blend of antimicrobial essential oils to help decrease germs on hands. This blend is for kids 10 and up. Do not use it on kids under 10 years old!!

Ingredients:

Directions: 

  1. Fill your 1-ounce spray bottle with alcohol and essential oils. Shake well and allow to sit undisturbed for a couple of hours so the alcohol can dissolve as much of the essential oils as possible.
  2. When a couple of hours has passed, add the aloe and Castille soap into the spray bottle and cap. Shake well to thoroughly mix ingredients.
  3. Label and spray on hands. Rub liquid into hands well, and allow to dry.

Little Tykes Hand Sanitizer

This homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipe uses a blend of two of the most gentle, safest essential oils in a dilution that is appropriate for little one’s ages 2 – 6. This blend is not for kids under 2 years old!!

Ingredients:

Directions: 

  1. Fill your 1-ounce spray bottle with alcohol and essential oils. Shake well and allow to sit undisturbed for a couple of hours so the alcohol can dissolve as much of the essential oils as possible.
  2. When a couple of hours has passed, add the aloe and Castille soap into the spray bottle and cap. Shake well to thoroughly mix ingredients.
  3. Label and spray on hands. Rub liquid into hands well, and allow to dry.

“Thieves” Hand Sanitizer Blends

The “thieves” essential oil blend is all the rage these days, but unfortunately, it’s not made for children under 10 years old as some of the oils are less than safe for little bodies. However, you have a couple of options if you wanna use a “thieves” blend or something close to it with your little ones.

  1. Your first option is to skip the EOs and go the herbal route to get some of the goodness of this blend seeing how it’s made from herbs in the first place. You can use this at any age.
  2. Your second option is to make a kid-friendly “thieves” blend to use instead. This recipe is one of my favorite anti-germ blends to use on my kids under 10! I’ll be sharing the recipe that’s safe for ages 6 months and up. 

Now, if you’re a mom or you’re making this for a kid over 10 years old, it’s safe to use a bit of a “thieves” essential oil blend in your bottle. Check out the “thieves” hand sanitizer recipes below. Hopefully, you’ll find something that will suit your needs.

Herbal “Thieves” Hand Sanitizer

This homemade hand sanitizer recipe is safe for children of all ages, but it does have a bit of a vinegar smell to it! Nonetheless, it is an essential oil-free option.

Ingredients:

  • 1-ounce spray bottle
  • 6 tsp of vinegar of Four Thieves

Directions: 

  1. Begin by making a Four Thieves herbal vinegar.
  2. Fill your 1-ounce spray bottle with your mixture.
  3. Label and spray on hands. Rub liquid into hands well, and allow to dry.

Kid-Friendly “Thieves” Hand Sanitizer

This homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipe uses a kid-friendly essential oil blend that substitutes well for the “thieves” blend and can be used on children ages 6 months and up. Do not use on children younger than 6 months!

Ingredients:

  • 1-ounce spray bottle
  • 4 tsp 95% alcohol
  • 1 tsp organic aloe gel
  • 1 tsp unscented Castille soap
  • 5 drops of cinnamon leaf essential oil
  • 3 drops of sweet orange essential oil
  • 2 drops of pine essential oil

Directions:

  1. Fill your 1-ounce spray bottle with alcohol and essential oils. Shake well and allow to sit undisturbed for a couple of hours so the alcohol can dissolve as much of the essential oils as possible.
  2. When a couple of hours has passed, add the aloe and Castille soap into the spray bottle and cap. Shake well to thoroughly mix ingredients.
  3. Label and spray on hands. Rub liquid into hands well, and allow to dry.

“Thieves” Hand Sanitizer

This homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipe uses the traditional four thieves essential oil blend and is for children 10 years old and older. Do not use on children younger than 10!

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Fill your 1-ounce spray bottle with alcohol and essential oils. Shake well and allow to sit undisturbed for a couple of hours so the alcohol can dissolve as much of the essential oils as possible.
  2. When a couple of hours has passed, add the aloe and Castille soap into the spray bottle and cap. Shake well to thoroughly mix ingredients.
  3. Label and spray on hands. Rub liquid into hands well, and allow to dry.

So there you go. You now have several options for making your own homemade hand sanitizer and homemade essential oil hand sanitizer recipes to use for yourself and your kids to help keep the germs at bay.

Stay tuned for more tips on how to keep your kids immune systems built up during these upcoming cold months to keep the sickies away!

Leave me a comment below and let me know which of these recipes is your favorite!

43 thoughts on “Homemade Essential Oil Hand Sanitizer Recipes For Adults & Children”

  1. Why is the hand sanitizer only good for one month? Is it the aloe gel? Is there any way to alter it /use other ingredients so that it lasts longer in the bottle? Either way, I can’t wait to give this a try.

    1. Yes Stacy… it’s because the aloe gel is normally refrigerated and will go bad if left out too long. The vodka and EOs give it some antiseptic properties, but not enough to keep it good for any extended amount of time. If you wanted, you could do 50/50 vodka and aloe and see how long that lasted, but keep in mind that that increases the amount of alcohol you and your kids will absorb through their skin. I prefer to make it every month as it’s quick to make. Hope you like it!

    2. Hello Meagan. Out of all the ingredients I couldn’t find why you use Castille Soap? What’s the requirement for that ingredient?

      1. I talked about it in the section on combining essential oils with water where I said, “If using an emulsifier isn’t doable, surfactants, such as Castille soap or Branch Basics concentrate, can help to disperse essential oils into your DIY hand sanitizer and keep them from coming into direct contact with your skin.” Hope that explains the reason!

    1. Glad you liked them Christina. I think I got them at sksbottle.com – I’m not sure if that’s the right URL or not, but you can Google it.

  2. I am definitely going to try making a couple different versions of this. am hoping that the organic aloe vera juice (I believe that is what the bottle is labeled as, it’s not gel for sure – it’s thinner in consistency) I have at home will work for the recipe!

    1. The juice will definitely work Amanda, it will just be a bit runnier. You may wanna use a spray bottle instead of a pump bottle. Thanks for your comment!

    1. Essential oils aren’t really advised to use on children under 2 as they’re more sensitive to the strength of the oils. It’s better to use herbs and hydrosols for this age range, however lavender EO can be used if it must. From my understanding, it has the least amount of sensitivities. I put a recipe for the Herbal “Thieves” Hand Sanitizer in the post which can be used on kiddos under 2. Hope that helps.

  3. Thank you for the response – i thought there were some safe ones for little ones if diluted properly but now I will look into it more. I have a homemade wipe recipe that someone recommended with chamomile tea, apricot oil, and lavender and tea tree essential oil – would you recommend leaving out the eos?

    1. It really depends… lavender and tea tree are some of the safest essential oils with the least negative effects (as far as I know) so they’re most likely going to be okay to use in a baby wipe solution since they’re diluted well, but if you have concerns you can always skip them an use lavender hydrosol instead.

  4. I am making your Little Tykes hand sanitizer that I plan to use for adults. Instead of the aloe can you substitute distilled water? I have small 2oz spray bottles. Would it still be just as effective? Thank you for your input.

    1. You could Desi… if you’re using it in a spray bottle, but you may want to consider using aloe juice or a bit more vodka as the water will dilute the recipe a bit… I’m not sure it would work as well.

  5. Hi-I really enjoy your posts and have just (finally) got all the ingredients for the kid friendly thieves hand sanitizer. It says for ages 6 months and up. Then I was reading the comments etc and realized that maybe you meant 6 years and up?!? Because your other EO sanitizer with lavender and tea tree you have for 2 years and up.

    1. Everything is correct in the post Deb. The “kid friendly thieves” blend is okay for kids 6 months and up. The reason I didn’t put the lavender/tea tree blend safe for younger ages is because tea tree isn’t an EO that’s normally recommended under 2 years of age. Of course you should use your judgement when using any EOs. I do use some EOs (like tea tree) for my kids under 2, but it depends on the circumstance and what I’m using it for.

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    1. You can Alona, but keep in mind that most witch hazel is extracted in alcohol so unless you’re buying an alcohol-free witch hazel, there’s already alcohol in it. But yes… you totally can do that, and it will work great!

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    1. I think I got this from SKS Bottle Marena, but if you’re looking for smaller quantities, Amazon is the way to go. I get a lot of bottles there when I only need 8-10 of them. Hope that helps!

    1. From my understanding, if you omit the vodka, then the oils won’t be distributed throughout the sanitizer as well and can come in direct contact with the skin. Depending upon the oils used and the dilution, this can lead to negative effects like photosensitivity, sensitization, or even allergic reactions. It’s hard to say as everyone responds differently. When it comes to using EOs with kids, I always recommend diluting it properly. In this case, I would not remove the vodka from the recipe as it helps the EOs to be more soluble in the sanitizer solution. Hope that helps, Saja, and thanks for your comment.

  9. The EO are not going to protect against mold, yeast or bacteria. The alcohol will but not at the percentage you are using it at. You need to us the alcohol at at least 60% to work as a sanitized and keep this product preserved.

    1. Yes, Karen. That’s true. There have been some studies that show that essential oils do inhibit pathogens, but the dilutions are usually higher than you’d like to use on the body. Anyway, I’m not looking for something that will stay preserved for months or years at a time. Instead, I’d like something that will help minimize bacteria and viruses and will stay good for a month which is why I chose to use a smaller amount of alcohol. These recipes are fairly easy to whip up so it’s normally no big deal for parents to make them once a month, and that much alcohol (in combination with the aloe and essential oils) should be fine for a month at a time.

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  12. Hi, I’ve always followed your recipes. But I never had vodka on hand. Can I substitute the vodka in hand sanitizer for 2 years old with Wotch Hazel non alcoholic? Otherwise what can I substitute it with ? Thanks much!

    1. Non-alcoholic witch hazel isn’t a good carrier of essential oils as it’s water-based so the oils just sit on top of the water. The alcohol in vodka has always been thought to help the oils disperse a bit, but it’s no longer considered a good dispersing agent either. I’ve updated the post with what aromatherapists are now recommending. Hope this is helpful!

      1. Thank you for your feedback.
        I can’t find any of the dispersing agents you have added unfortunately.
        But I see that you have written Apricot Kernel Oil as a possible substitute. Would it be possible to also use Argan oil? Thanks!

        1. I found it sold on Aromatics International here. I think they offer free shipping too. Also, there were several brands on Amazon that go by the name Polysorbate-80. It is similar to Solubol and the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database gives it a rating of 3 so it seems pretty safe. I included links in the post.

  13. Deeeeefinitely going on my to-do list! My kids are awful at washing their hands at times other than coming in from being out and about (which is a good time to wash, but still…) THANK YOU!

  14. Courtney hessler

    Hi there! Are the EOs optional? Or can one be used instead of all three (referring to the Kid-Friendly “Thieves” Hand Sanitizer). I do not have some of the EOs and would prefer not to buy them. Thanks!

    1. Yes, Courtney. The essential oils are optional. It’s the alcohol in the recipe that is doing the majority of the work. You can also use what you have on hand if you only have one or two of the oils mentioned as well. Great question. Thanks for asking!

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