The COVID-19 pandemic has caused shortages of a variety of products and items that many people may have taken for granted.

Some of those products include antibacterial soaps and alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, washing hands with soap and water is the most effective way to reduce the amount of all types of germs that may be found on the hands and is the first line of defense against the coronavirus. But in the event that handwashing is not an option, hand sanitizers with an alcohol content of at least 60 percent are a good alternative.

“Many studies have found that sanitizers with an alcohol concentration between 60 - 95 percent are more effective at killing germs than those with a lower alcohol concentration or non-alcohol-based hand sanitizers,” according to “Hand sanitizers without 60 - 95 percent alcohol 1) may not work equally well for many types of germs; and 2) merely reduce the growth of germs rather than kill them outright.”

But what happens if there just isn’t any on the shelves? While the Trolley House Distillery is busy producing bottles for our local first responders and medical providers working on the front lines, you may not have to sit around and wait for shelves to be restocked.

It turns out, hand sanitizer is pretty easy to make and only takes a few ingredients that you may already have on-hand.

Frustrated with not being able to find it in stores, Bonnie Buncher of Emporia recently made a batch of her own hand sanitizer using aloe vera, isopropyl alcohol and essential oils.

Buncher said she always has hand sanitizer in her purse and on her desk at work, so she had a pretty good supply of it. Still, more frequent use was causing the supply to dwindle.

“I figured if we couldn’t find it anywhere and couldn’t buy any, I didn’t want to run out,” Buncher said. “I looked online for a simple recipe and this one only had three ingredients. I found the aloe vera online and ordered it. We already had the isopropyl alcohol and the essential oils at the house.”

Although it took a couple of weeks for the aloe vera to arrive — even online resellers are having issues keeping some items in stock — Buncher said it only took her a few minutes to mix everything together.

The sanitizer isn’t quite as thick as what you would normally purchase at the store, but it has done the job so far.

“Next time I’ll order a different ‘gel,’ because the one I got wasn’t really a gel,” she said. “The things I wanted to order were out of stock and I wanted to get something right away. When this is over and I can buy everything myself, aloe vera doesn’t have a shelf life if it’s kept in a cool, dark place. Aloe’s just good to have on hand.”

Here’s the recipe Buncher used:

• Isopropyl alcohol

• Aloe Vera gel

• Lavender essential oil — (but you can use any scent you would like)

Simply mix 3 parts isopropyl alcohol to 1 part aloe vera gel. Add a few drops of the essential oil to give it a pleasant scent and fill up your own portable container. You can find cheap plastic bottles at any grocery store or pharmacy.

If you’re going to try making your own hand sanitizer, let us know how it goes. Have a different recipe? Share that with us, too.

(3) comments

For the good of your readers, please print a correction.

The recipe, "Simply mix 3 parts isopropyl alcohol to 1 part aloe vera gel" is very, very wrong.

"Have a different recipe? Share that with us, too."

Why yes, the WHO (World Health Organization) published the correct formula; scaled down for home use, it's:

1 teaspoon of glycerin (or aloe vera gel)

1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide

1 cup of 99% isopropyl alcohol,

add water to make 1 and 1/3 cups total.

If anyone gets sick because of your failure to correct your error, that's on you.


I've never seen 99% isopropyl on the shelf at any store... it's always 70% or 91%. Hydrogen peroxide does nothing that isopropyl doesn't when it comes to killing coronavirus....1 teaspoon of glycerine into 1 cup of alcohol is going to be extremely runny, not to mention warnings that 99% alcohol might evaporate before it can even be effective. 3 parts alcohol to 1 part gel is a good DIY solution.


And where, pray tell, does one find Isopropyl alcohol in Emporia???

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