While science has proven that hand washing with soap and water1 is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from illness, sometimes you don’t have easy access to a sink with soap and water. During those times, we recommend using a hand sanitizer to help you stay healthy. Hand sanitizers provide an extraordinary level of convenience, as they can easily be stored in small bottles so you can carry them in a handbag, keep them in the car, at the office, the gym…literally anywhere you are out and about.
While most people have probably only purchased manufactured hand sanitizers, it can be challenging, especially during tough immune seasons, to find these items in stock. Don’t panic if your current bottle of hand sanitizer is almost out, the formulation team at Gaia Herbs has developed a homemade DIY Herbal Hand Sanitizer recipe using our liquid extracts.
This hand sanitizer recipe meets the CDC recommendation for an alcohol strength of at least 60%. And best of all, this hand sanitizer recipe is simple to make, has a pleasant herbal fragrance, is easy on your hands, and most important is convenient to carry with you.
DIY Herbal Hand Sanitizer*
- 3.5 ounces 70% Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol
- 2 tsp 98% Aloe vera gel
- 1 ½ tsp Gaia Herbs Usnea Uva Ursi Supreme liquid extract**
- 1 ½ tsp Gaia Herbs Lemon Balm, Certified Organic liquid extract**
Essential Oil Blend
- 10 drops Clove or Holy Basil essential oil
- 8 drops Lavender essential oil
- 2 drop Eucalyptus essential oil
- 4 drops Rosemary essential oil
- Blend the base ingredients into a 4-ounce spray bottle, shaking well to fully disperse the Aloe vera gel into the alcohol.
- Carefully drop the essential oils into the bottle.
- Shake well and spray on hands as needed.
- Label your bottle, keep on hand, and use frequently to help you stay healthy.
Traditional Herbalism & Intentionally Selected Ingredients
Our Usnea Uva Ursi Supreme and Lemon Balm, Certified Organic liquid extract were specifically selected for this herbal hand sanitizer recipe due to the spectrum of compounds that these two products deliver. Usnea Uva Ursi Supreme is a formula that includes Echinacea, Usnea, Uva Ursi, and Coptis. These herbs are rich in a variety of compounds, including alkylamides from Echinacea, usnic acid from Usnea, gallic acid, ellagic acid, and arbutin from Uva Ursi, and berberine from Coptis. Lemon Balm contains rosmarinic acid and various terpenes. In addition to our liquid extracts, this sanitizer recipe utilizes isopropyl rubbing alcohol, a common household item most people have on hand, which disrupts the cell walls of microbes making it an inexpensive and easy-to-use antiseptic. Aloe vera gel is also included to leave your hands feeling soft and supple.
Finally, we have added essential oils, which add a pleasant fragrance including the sweet aromas of warming cloves with hints of floral lavender, piney rosemary, and eucalyptus. The essential oil blend we selected is based off the botanicals used in traditional Thieves Oil recipes. This story dates back centuries, and it is kept alive as one of the first bits of folklore learned when studying herbs. It is often told as originating during the Marseilles Plague of 1772, but the use of these herbs may date all the way back to the Bubonic Plague of the 1400s. The story that has been passed down for generations is that at a time of great income disparity and a widespread outbreak, a group of thieves broke into the homes of the sick, dying, and deceased. When they were finally caught, the townspeople wanted to know the secret to how the thieves had not become infected themselves when they were consistently exposed to disease. In exchange for leniency, the thieves revealed their protective herbal blend, which is today known as “Thieves Oil.”
*Safety Note: You should check with your health care professional before using any home remedy on you or your family. Essential oils are highly concentrated and should always be diluted before use, as they can be harmful if they are not used carefully. These oils take large amounts of plant material to produce, so out of respect for Nature and for your own safety, we encourage reverence and caution when using them, and we do not recommend using essential oils internally when using home remedies. Individuals may react differently to the strength of essential oils, and they have been known to cause irritation when applied to the skin, even in diluted amounts. Please keep all pure essential oils out of the reach of children. The essential oils in this blend may also be harmful to pets, as their systems do not process essential oils in the same way as humans, and therefore this herbal sanitizer should be kept out of direct contact with all animals.2
**Using different Gaia Herbs liquid extracts other than the ones listed will change the amount of alcohol in the finished product. Due to variations in the plant material that is used to make our liquid extracts, the finished product may vary in color, from either a pale yellowish hue to a darker yellow shade.
2Tisserand, Robert, et al. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. 2nd ed., Churchill Livingstone/Elsevier, 2014.