When soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol based hand sanitizer with more than 60% alcohol.(1) But what do you do if you can’t find sanitizer at the store? You can always make your own alcohol-based sanitizer spray.
Adding lavender essential oil to this homemade sanitizer spray gives it a lovely scent. And since it is made with Everclear, there is no overpowering medicinal smell.
DIY Alcohol Sanitizer Spray with Everclear
If you are making hand sanitizer with Everclear, it is important to first check the proof, or alcohol content.
The Everclear sold where I live is 151 proof, or 75.5% alcohol. However, depending on where you live, four different proofs of Everclear are available: 120, 151, 189, and 190 proof.
Percent alcohol matters, so it is important to know how much alcohol is in the Everclear you are using.
How to dilute Everclear for a DIY Sanitizer Spray
It is important to measure carefully when making your own homemade sanitizer. Maintaining an alcohol percentage above 60% is critical for effectiveness.
When it comes to making your own alcohol-based sanitizer spray, keep the following chemistry equation in mind:
C1*V1 = C2*V2
In words, this equation means the concentration of alcohol in solution one (C1) times the volume of solution one (V1) equals the concentration of alcohol in solution two (C2) times the volume of solution two (V2).
How to make a 66% Alcohol Sanitizer with 151 Proof Everclear
- C1 = Everclear concentration (75.5% alcohol, 151 proof)
- V1 = Everclear volume (10.5 teaspoons)
- C2 = Final solution concentration (66% alcohol)
- V2 = Final solution volume (12 teaspoons = 2 oz)
75.5% * 10.5 teaspoons = 66% * 12 teaspoons
Simply said, you can make 2 oz of a 66% alcohol sanitizer spray with 10.5 teaspoons of 151 proof Everclear.
Sanitizer Spray with 151 Proof Everclear
- Everclear alcohol, 151 proof
- Water, distilled or boiled and cooled
- Lavender Essential Oil
- Small Funnel
- Measuring Spoons
- 2 oz Spray Bottle
For 2 oz of 66% Alcohol Sanitizer
- Using a funnel, pour 3.5 tablespoons of 151 proof Everclear to a clean 2oz spray bottle
- Add 1.25 teaspoons distilled water to 2oz spray bottle
- Add 30 drops lavender essential oil (approximately 0.25 teaspoon) to Everclear and water solution
- Place lid on spray bottle and shake to combine
For 1 cup (16 oz) of 66% Alcohol Sanitizer
- Using a funnel, pour 3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons of 151 proof Everclear to a clean bottle
- Add 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons distilled water to bottle
- Add 120 drops lavender essential oil (approximately 1 teaspoon) to Everclear and water solution
- Place lid on bottle and shake to combine. Store in an air-tight container to maintain alcohol concentration
The above ratios are for 151 Proof Everclear. Please do not prepare this alcohol-based sanitizer spray with 120 Proof Everclear or another spirit such as vodka (typically 80 proof). An alcohol content about 60% is required for sanitizer efficacy.
How to use Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer
- Spray sanitizer on hands to completely wet them, about ten spritz with a small 2 ounce spray bottle
- Vigorously rub hands together for about 25 seconds until sanitizer completely evaporates
- Do not use sanitizer spray on visibly dirty hands as it will not be as effective.
These instructions are based on recommendations from the Mayo Clinic for alcohol-based gel type sanitizers, like Purell. (2).
Tips and Tricks for Homemade Sanitizer Sprays
- For this recipe, only use 151 proof Everclear
- Store spray in an airtight container to prevent alcohol evaporation
- Do not use vodka for hand sanitizers! Normal vodka is only 80 proof or 40% alcohol. Even if you were to use it without any dilution, vodka does not meet the CDC’s requirements for an effective alcohol-based sanitizer
- Sanitizer sprays can also be made with rubbing alcohol (using a different recipe). However, when I wrote this article, rubbing alcohol was sold out at my local stores
- Store sanitizer spray away from open flames as high alcohol content sanitizers can be flammable
This recipe for a homemade alcohol-based hand sanitizer is presumed to be effective based on having an alcohol concentration above 60%, as recommended by the CDC. However, I have not had the mixture tested in a lab for efficacy.
Additionally, where available, washing with soap and water for more than 20 seconds is the preferred method of handwashing.