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How to make your own hand sanitizer for less than the cost of a cup of coffee

There were over 3,487 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of March 16, according to the CDC.

To prevent COVID-19 from spreading, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends diligently washing your hands with soap and water to kill germs and harmful bacteria whenever possible.

Hand sanitizers are a good alternative where a sink isn't available — as long as the formula has an alcohol content of at least 60%, the CDC says.

Those recommendations have led to hand sanitizer shortages in stores and online. And as the supply goes down, prices surge and so the market goes.

A 12-ounce Purell bottle, which retails for around $4.50, was selling for $50 a bottle on Amazon as of Thursday. (Amazon has pledged to crack down on price gouging and has suspended many sellers from overcharging - that gives me a lot of hope for the future of ethical selling.)

If the cleaning aisles of your local stores are bare and you don’t want to spend unnecessary coin, you can make hand sanitizer at home that meets CDC guidelines.

According to Melissa Maker, host of the CleanMySpace YouTube channel and founder of Clean My Space, a housekeeping service based in Canada, the key ingredients are just rubbing alcohol and pure aloe vera gel.

Her sanitizer takes about a minute to make and costs just $1.10. You can add in a moisturizer like almond oil to prevent your skin from drying out, and a few drops of an essential oil, like eucalyptus, to make the smell of rubbing alcohol a little less harsh, says Maker.

Here’s her recipe:


  • ¼ cup pure aloe vera gel ($0.50)
  • ½ cup rubbing alcohol ($0.24)
  • 1 tablespoon nourishing oil like vitamin E, jojoba, or sweet almond ($0.20)
  • 15 drops of essential oils like lavender, tea tree, vanilla, thyme, rosemary, lemon or peppermint ($0.15)


Mix the solution together in a clean squeeze bottle and adjust the amount of rubbing alcohol to achieve your desired consistency. Shake well and use as needed.