6 Best Essential Oils for DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipes (Updated April 2020)

The best essential oils you can use to make your own hand sanitizer spray are well within your reach! Fight off a wide variety of illnesses, like colds or the flu, and keep yourself safe from infection-causing germs with safe and all-natural ingredients. You don’t always know what goes into store-bought cleaners and sanitizers, but if you make your own, you have 100% control over what goes into your product.

IMPORTANT NOTE: No essential oil can be an alternative to good hygiene practices and careful social distancing in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. These essential oils are merely tools, not the entire arsenal. They’ll be useful in helping you maintain good hygiene, but make sure that you take other measures to protect yourself as well.

Aroma Foundry offers a variety of essential oils that can help keep germs and harmful microbes away. With the essential oils in the Aroma Foundry Natural Hand Sanitizer 6-Pack, you’ll have what you need to keep yourself and your family safe from illnesses and infections.

We have also formulated recipes that have the right alcohol concentration to make sure that your homemade hand sanitizer is effective against the coronavirus.

We did a side-by-side comparison with two of the world's biggest essential oil brands:

essential oil prices

The Best Hand Sanitizer Recipes

The sanitizer recipes here have a final alcohol concentration of at least 60%. They can thus be trusted to ward against the novel coronavirus. With the presence of a combination of essential oils, these sanitizers can be effective against other viruses, bacteria, and fungi as well.

These recipes have been adapted from the hand sanitizer formulations recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO-recommended formulations are for the production of large quantities of sanitizer, but the recipes below have been adapted for a much smaller scale of production.

Alcohol Concentration in Hand Sanitizers

There are many recipes for DIY hand sanitizer floating around on the internet. However, many of them are not suitable for combating the novel coronavirus. The most important thing to remember when making hand sanitizer spray or gel meant to protect against COVID-19 is that the alcohol concentration is the most vital part of the product.

For a hand sanitizer to be effective against the novel coronavirus, it should have a final alcohol concentration of at least 60%, at most 95%.

Many of the recipes you can find on the internet call for too little isopropyl alcohol, or don’t even include it at all. Your sanitizer must have sufficient isopropyl alcohol, or it will not be effective against the virus.

Again, no essential oils so far have been proven to be effective against the virus. Even if you use all the essential oils on the list below to make a sanitizer, it is unlikely to be effective. The best hand sanitizer recipe is one that has enough isopropyl alcohol content.

Some recipes you can find on the internet also call for the use of witch hazel, which has alcohol content. However, witch hazel has only 15%-30% alcohol. Thus, if you use witch hazel in lieu of isopropyl alcohol, you will not attain the minimum final alcohol concentration no matter how much witch hazel you use.

Rainy Day Gel Hand Sanitizer

diy hand sanitizerGel hand sanitizers are very common and actually easy to make yourself.

Many of the best hand sanitizer formulations are in gel form, and a gel sanitizer is something that’s completely doable. This recipe incorporates isopropyl alcohol, aloe vera gel, essential oils, glycerin, and vitamin E oil. Glycerin and vitamin E oil are there to help make sure that your skin is moisturized, since alcohol can be quite drying.

We recommend using either 91% or 99% isopropyl alcohol. Any lower and the final alcohol concentration will be under 60%. 

Here are the ingredients:

Final alcohol concentration: 

  • Using 91% alcohol: 67.47% 
  • Using 99% alcohol: 73.40%


Before mixing, prepare and sterilize a bottle or two in which you can store your sanitizer. An ultraviolet glass push pump bottle can dispense the sanitizer easily. The ultraviolet glass, meanwhile, can protect the essential oils and keep them potent for much longer.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl, or any big enough container that has a spout for easy and clean pouring. Use a whisk to beat all the ingredients together. This will then ensure that a gel mixture will form.

Once you’re satisfied with the viscosity of the mixture, you can pour it into the push pump bottle. Make sure to securely screw the lid on to prevent the sanitizer from spilling.

Cooling Hand Sanitizer Spray

diy hand sanitizerHand sanitizer sprays are easy to apply and dispense.

If you’d prefer a spray over a gel, this recipe will do the trick. Like the previous recipe, this one has been adapted from the WHO-recommended formulations. It also uses water in lieu of aloe vera gel, but it still includes glycerin and vitamin E oil.

Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 cup of isopropyl alcohol (91% or 99%)
  • 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 teaspoon of 98% glycerin
  • 7 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 drops of fir essential oil
  • 4 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 85 ml of sterile distilled or boiled cold water
  • 5 drops of vitamin E oil

Final alcohol concentration: 

  • Using 91% alcohol: 63.01% 
  • Using 99% alcohol: 68.55%


Prepare and sterilize a spray bottle or two in which you’ll store this sanitizer. An ultraviolet glass fine mist spray bottle will dispense your product evenly while also protecting the quality of the essential oils.

Pour the isopropyl alcohol into a plastic or glass container, then carefully add the hydrogen peroxide. Stir in the glycerin. Keep mixing until all the ingredients have incorporated.

Add the water into the mixture and stir. Pour the mixture into the bottle you’ve prepared. Label the bottle to avoid misuse and confusion.

Liquid Hand Soap

hand washingProper hand washing with soap is one of the best ways to maintain good hygiene.

Hand sanitizers are great in a pinch, but hand-washing is still much better, no matter how high the final alcohol concentration of your hand sanitizer is. This is because, soap can get rid of any grease that might be harboring the virus or any other harmful microbes.

Because soap is just as effective as alcohol in stripping away the virus’s membrane, this recipe does not need any alcohol.

Making your own hand soap might be worth the effort. If you can get your hands on the ingredients, it can even be a fun activity to do with your family members.

Here are the things you’ll need:

  • 1/2 cup of liquid castile soap
  • 1/2 cup of distilled water
  • 8 drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • 8 drops of tea tree essential oil
  • 6 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • 1 tablespoon of vitamin E oil (optional)


For this recipe, you can use the same UV glass push pump bottle suggested for the gel hand sanitizer recipe. Make sure you clean and sterilize the bottle before use.

Pour in the distilled water, followed by the liquid castile soap. Do this in this order, because pouring in the water after the castile soap will produce bubbles. Once both ingredients are in the bottle, add the essential oils and the vitamin E oil (if you intend to use it).

Securely screw the lid back on, then shake the bottle to mix the ingredients together. You’ll also have to shake the bottle a bit every time you use the soap, but it will work perfectly with a bit of water.

Remember to wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds.

The Best Essential Oils for DIY Hand Sanitizer

diy hand sanitizerMake sure to formulate your homemade hand sanitizer properly to make sure that it can be effective against the coronavirus and other illness-causing microbes.

Nowadays, it pays to be careful when it comes to your health. Stores may be running out of Purell and other types of sanitizers, but that doesn’t mean that you’re completely out of luck. With a few ingredients, some of which you may already have on hand, you can make your own DIY hand sanitizer.

If you’re lucky enough to still have access to hand sanitizers in stores, you might still want to check these essential oils out and try making your own sanitizers. After all, if you make your own, you’ll know what went in them, how they were made, and where the ingredients came from.

Check out the six best essential oils for homemade hand sanitizer below!

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil is a highly reliable go-to when it comes to essential oils for sanitation and cleansing. Over the years, tea tree has made a name for itself as a highly useful ingredient for a variety of applications. Aboriginal Australians, for example, have historically used various parts of the tea tree to treat wounds, burns, and many other afflictions.

Additionally, tea tree essential oil is highly versatile. It has been found to be able to fight against different kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

The Science of Tea Tree Essential Oil

The world is full of harmful microbes that can cause different kinds of illnesses. Tea tree essential oil, however, has been proven to be effective against a variety of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause different kinds of illnesses.

There are different strains of the Staphylococcus bacteria, some of which have developed antibiotic resistance. Tea tree essential oil can be effective against some of these Staphylococcus strains, thus helping people ward off food conditioning, skin conditions, and more.

Furthermore, tea tree oil has been proven to be effective against fungi. It can ward off Candida albicans, the fungal strain that causes yeast infections. Tea tree essential oil can also help get rid of Pityrosporum ovale, the type of fungi that causes dandruff.

Because tea tree essential oil is rich in infection-fighting compounds, it can also help fight off infections caused by the herpes simplex virus, such as cold sores. The oil has also been found to be effective against the viruses that cause respiratory ailments like colds and the flu.

tea tree essential oil

Using Tea Tree Essential Oil

Like other essential oils, tea tree can be used in a variety of ways. It makes for a very effective cleansing ingredient in hand sanitizer spray, but it can also be used in aromatherapy and as an ingredient in many other products. It often makes an appearance in shampoos and skin creams.

With these essential oils, you can make a blend with tea tree oil:

  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Patchouli
  • Basil
  • Cedarwood
  • Bergamot
  • Spearmint
  • Lemongrass
  • Grapefruit

Learn more about tea tree essential oil benefits.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

eucalyptus essential oilEucalyptus essential oil is effective against certain types of bacteria and viruses.

Eucalyptus essential oil has had a long history of use, and for good reason. It has proven itself to be highly effective in different ways, from treating cold and flu symptoms to warding off disease-carrying insects. 

Additionally, eucalyptus essential oil has functioned as a cleansing agent since the late 19th century. Along with its immune system-boosting properties, eucalyptus is an important essential oil to have when creating a cleansing product.

The Science of Eucalyptus Essential Oil

While tea tree essential oil is effective against certain types of fungi, eucalyptus oil has not proven to be effective against any type of fungi. However, it can be undeniably useful when warding off certain types of bacteria and viruses.

Like tea tree oil, eucalyptus has been found to have compounds that can fight against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus. This is the bacterial strain that can cause staphylococcal pneumonia. Eucalyptus essential oil can also ward against Escherichia coli and up to 20 other types of bacteria.

Not a lot of essential oils have antiviral properties, but eucalyptus essential oil does. It can help protect you against the swine flu (H1N1) virus, as well as the herpes type 1 (HSV1) virus. In this regard, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oils are both effective against warding off particularly harmful microbes.

eucalyptus essential oil

Using Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus essential oil has had many different applications, and even functioned as an antiseptic for surgical tools in the late 19th century. Nowadays, however, it has featured in a variety of aromatherapy blends, balms, creams, and more.

Because eucalyptus is versatile, it can also blend well with other essential oils. These include:

  • Rosemary
  • Lemon
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Lemongrass
  • Bergamot
  • Tea tree
  • Spearmint

Learn more about eucalyptus essential oil benefits

Lemon Essential Oil

lemon essential oilLemon essential oil is a highly effective cleanser.

Lemon essential oil is often used in a variety of cleansing and skincare products because of its various beneficial properties. In fact, lemon has long been associated with cleanliness and freshness, and many cleaning products come with a lemon scent. Because the lemon and its essential oil have many beneficial compounds, they can help boost the immune system and fight against harmful germs.

The Science of Lemon Essential Oil

Because lemon essential oil is rich in vitamin C, it can be helpful in maintaining good health. Of course, lemon oil also comes with various compounds that give it the ability to be a natural disinfectant.

Specifically, lemon essential oil can help get rid of harmful germs on your skin. It is effective against various strains of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Not many essential oils have antiviral properties; thus, lemon is definitely an important addition to the ingredient list for your DIY Hand sanitizer.

The topical application of lemon essential oil can also help get rid of fungal skin infections, such as thrush, athlete’s foot, and yeast infections. If you have small cuts or scrapes, lemon essential oil has antimicrobial properties that can help clean wounds and prevent infections.

lemon essential oil

Using Lemon Essential Oil

It’s important to remember, however, that lemon essential oil isn’t a cure. It can help boost your body’s natural immunity, which can help protect you against various diseases and conditions. Lemon oil is also quite versatile, which means it can be used in different ways.

Typically, lemon essential oil can be found in all-natural skincare products, balms, sprays, cleaners, and more. It can be a great ingredient in a homemade hand sanitizer spray or a gel hand sanitizer.

Lemon essential oil blends well with the following essential oils:

  • Rosemary
  • Grapefruit
  • Tea tree
  • Eucalyptus
  • Bergamot
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Lime

Learn more about lemon essential oil benefits.

Fir Essential Oil

fir essential oilFir essential oil has more capabilities than people might think.

Fir essential oil is extracted via steam distillation from the needle-like leaves of the Siberian fir tree. These leaves contain something that may come as a surprise to come: vitamin C. Vitamin C, a known immune system-boosting vitamin, isn’t just found in vegetables and citrus fruits.

With the help of fir essential oil, you’ll be able to help your body become stronger and more resistant to illnesses. Because this essential oil is rich in beneficial compounds and has a calming woodsy aroma, it is often used in blends meant to help deal with respiratory issues.

The Science of Fir Essential Oil

You’ll find a variety of healthful phytochemicals in fir essential oil, many of which are present in high concentrations. With a concentration of approximately 30%, bornyl acetate is the major compound in fir essential oil. Other compounds include the following:

  • Camphene
  • A-Pinene
  • gamma-3-Carene
  • Limonene

Bornyl acetate in particular is a highly effective compound that can help ease body pains. If you have a fever, this compound can also help cool you down and even soothe any stress you might feel.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Fever is one of the symptoms that may indicate that you have contracted COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. A fever does not automatically mean that you have contracted the illness; however, it’s best to stay home and reduce social contact. For more information, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guide for what to do to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Fir essential oil is also a go-to oil when it comes to respiratory illnesses. These illnesses, such as colds or the flu, often come with fever, headaches, and muscle pain. Additionally, the oil’s cooling sensation can also help soothe cough and feelings of congestion.

fir essential oil

Using Fir Essential Oil

Typically, fir essential oil is used in a blend with other compatible essential oils. You can diffuse this blend for an aromatherapy session, and you can also use fir oil as an ingredient in many handmade products. These include homemade hand sanitizer, balms, creams, colognes, massage oil blends, candles, and more.

If you’d like to formulate a blend using fir essential oil, you can use the following oils:

  • Bergamot
  • Lemon
  • Cedarwood
  • Eucalyptus
  • Patchouli
  • Rosemary

Learn more about fir essential oil.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

lemongrass essential oilWith lemongrass essential oil, you can manage a wide variety of health issues.

Lemongrass essential oil can be used for a wide variety of things, from repelling insects to easing menstrual issues. It’s one of the most versatile essential oils, and can thus be used in a variety of products. These include cleaning products, such as soaps, sanitizers, and disinfectant sprays.

Additionally, lemongrass essential oil boasts a distinctive and pleasant scent that can stand on its own as well as blend well with other scents.

The Science of Lemongrass Essential Oil

Like the other oils on this list, lemongrass essential oil is effective against infection-causing microbes and can also help ease respiratory symptoms. It is especially effective against bacteria that can cause infections in the urinary and digestive systems. In particular, the oil can help ward off food poisoning and typhoid fever, which are caused by strains of harmful bacteria. 

Furthermore, lemongrass essential oil is effective against various strains of fungi. It can help deal with fungi-related issues like athlete’s foot and ringworm.

If you’re experiencing muscle pain and physical and mental exhaustion, lemongrass can also be an effective pick-me-up. It can help soothe pains and aches, and its aroma can be invigorating and energizing.

In general, lemongrass is great for topical use. However, it also has considerable concentrations of the compounds geranial and neral. These compounds can cause skin sensitivity when applied topically, so make sure to use lemongrass essential oil carefully.

lemongrass essential oil

Using Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil can be found in a lot of products, including natural insect-repellents, balms, soaps, topical creams, massage oil blends, aromatherapy blends, and more. This is because of lemongrass essential oil’s versatility and efficacy. It can thus be a good ingredient to use in homemade hand sanitizer or hand soap.

If you’d like to blend lemongrass essential oil with other essential oils, you can choose among the following:

  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedarwood
  • Patchouli
  • Ylang ylang
  • Lemon
  • Tea tree
  • Spearmint
  • Rosemary
  • Lime
  • Bergamot

Learn more about lemongrass essential oil benefits.

Rosemary Essential Oil

rosemary essential oilRosemary essential oil can help improve both mental and physical health.

Rosemary essential oil is known to be a refreshing and stimulating oil, but it also has cleansing properties that can make it effective in sanitizing your hands. Additionally, because of its chemical composition, it can also be effective as a decongestant or expectorant. If you’re currently experiencing symptoms such as cough or congestion, rosemary essential oil can help you clear up your airways.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Rosemary essential oil, or any other essential oil, is not an adequate substitute for medication. It can merely help you manage symptoms.

The Science of Rosemary Essential Oil

Among the many beneficial phytochemicals found in rosemary essential oil, camphor is perhaps one of the most important. For one thing, rosemary essential oil owes its distinctive aroma to camphor. Additionally, camphor can help promote better circulation, soothe aching muscles and joints, and even loosen up phlegm to ease cough and chest colds.

Other than these benefits, rosemary oil is also known to be able to help improve memory and cognition. It’s a go-to for those who want to diffuse an essential oil while studying for a test, preparing for a presentation, or working.

When used topically, rosemary essential oil can help improve skin and even get rid of dandruff. It has a wide variety of applications, from aromatherapy to skincare to sanitation.

rosemary essential oil

Using Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary essential oil is often found in aromatherapy blends, massage oil blends, balms, soaps, skin creams, and more. It’s a versatile oil that can help improve your mental and physical health. Thus, it’s definitely a good oil to have around, especially during trying times.

It’s also easy to blend with other oils. The following essential oils are compatible with rosemary essential oil:

  • Lemon
  • Grapefruit
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cedarwood
  • Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot
  • Spearmint
  • Mandarin
  • Patchouli
  • Tea tree
  • Grapefruit

Learn more about rosemary essential oil benefits.

best essential oils


While essential oils have been proven to be effective in many ways, it’s important to remember that they cannot and should not replace proper hygiene habits and medication meant to kill viral diseases, such as COVID-19. 

Additionally, even though there are essential oils that have been found to be effective against other viruses that cause respiratory illnesses, it does not mean that these same essential oils will be effective against the novel coronavirus.

There are currently no studies on which essential oils are effective against the novel coronavirus specifically. However, the essential oils discussed in the list above can help you manage symptoms and ease any aches or pains related to respiratory conditions.

Essential Oil Precautions

  • In general, essential oils are safe to use. However, it’s important to make sure that you take the proper precautionary measures when using essential oils. Here are some things to remember:
  • Essential oils should not be ingested orally in any amount.
  • Always dilute essential oils in carrier oils or other suitable substances before applying topically. Pure essential oils can irritate your skin. Additionally, they are more effective when properly diluted, since they’ll be able to stay longer on your skin.
  • Citrus essential oils (lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, bergamot, et al.) can cause phototoxicity and skin sensitivity to sunlight. Make sure to avoid going out into direct sunlight 12-24 hours after the topical application of citrus essential oils, even when diluted.
  • If you are pregnant, consult your physician to make sure that the oils you use are safe and won’t affect your pregnancy.
  • Do not diffuse essential oils around children under the age of 7, because the oils might affect their developing lungs.
  • If you have pets, research on which essential oils are harmful to them and which ones are not. For example, tea tree essential oil is toxic to dogs and should not be diffused when there is a dog present. 


diy hand sanitizer

Essential oils have proven to be effective against a variety of harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses that cause different illnesses and health conditions. Some essential oils have been found to be effective against viruses that cause the common cold and the flu.

However, this does not mean that the same essential oils are effective against the novel coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. Soap and isopropyl alcohol with a concentration of at least 60% have been found to be effective in protecting against the virus and its effects.

Thus, in making hand sanitizer gel or spray, you have to make sure that the final alcohol concentration of your mixture is 60% to 95%. Even the best essential oils in the market will likely be ineffective against the virus without alcohol in the mix.

The essential oils in the Aroma Foundry Natural Hand Sanitizer 6-Pack are all known to be able to ward off harmful bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Mixed with the right concentration of alcohol, these essential oils can help protect you against a wide variety of germs and microbes. Individually, they can also help manage the symptoms of respiratory and other kinds of illnesses.

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Author Profile

Fagjun Santos is an avid reader who eventually decided to try her hand at writing her own stuff. After spending her teen years writing what can be considered to be Vogon poetry, she now writes things that aren't a pain to read. Her favorite Aroma Foundry scent is peppermint, with lavender coming in a close second.

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  1. Background
  2. The Best Hand Sanitizer Recipes
    1. Alcohol Concentration in Hand Sanitizers
    2. Rainy Day Gel Hand Sanitizer
    3. Cooling Hand Sanitizer Spray
    4. Liquid Hand Soap
  3. The Best Essential Oils for DIY Hand Sanitizer
    1. Tea Tree
    2. Eucalyptus
    3. Lemon
    4. Fir
    5. Lemongrass
    6. Rosemary
  4. Precautions
    1. Essential Oil Precautions
  5. Summary
  6. References