On Mayca’s recent trip to Lisbon last week, she carried with her two weapons, one in each pocket, to protect her from the dreaded COVID-19 (Coronavirus). These two weapons were an IPA spray and a hand sanitizer gel. While traveling, she would spray everything before touching it, wash her hands after, and then apply hand sanitizer gel.

Yes, she admits that she could see her skin peeling off around the nails. Be aware this gel and spray will seriously dry your skin out. However, if you’re searching for a natural way to make these sanitizing products on your own then look no further. In this post, we’ll give you the best tips for how to make hand sanitizer at home.

To make a hand sanitizer gel

You’ll need to use IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol 70%) as a base ingredient for your hand sanitizer. In Ireland, IPA is also called rubbing alcohol or surgical spirit. Do not dilute it with anything else , if you do make sure to calculate the formula correctly so your final product contains at least 60% of IPA to be effective. Once you’ve added IPA to your container of choice, add glycerin, and a synthetic polymer (a natural gum does not work as it reacts with alcohol) water soluble thickener such carbomer . This will create a leave-on product which stays on your skin in order to kill bacterias and viruses (if they can be killed) more effectively.

To make an IPA Spray

If you don’t want to make gel, you can also make an IPA spray, but know that it will evaporate from your skin alongside its benefits. IPA is what cosmetic formulators use to sanitize all the equipment and tools before making their products. You can add essential oils to your IPA spray, but make sure they totally dissolve otherwise you’ll need to shake the spray bottle before each application. Essential oils that would work well in an IPA spray are: tea tree oil, lemongrass, or clove. These essential oils have some of the strongest anti-bacterial properties.

Check the safety use requirements of the essential oils you choose. Bear in mind that essentials oils on their own won’t craft a sufficiently protective product unless used in super high concentrations. Of course, using them in high concentrations requires proper knowledge and qualifications. So, please take care and ensure that you have all the information you need before using these oils.

A note on IPA

Alcohol 96% (Ethanol) and other concentrations are banned in Ireland and the UK, although in Spain, Portugal and perhaps other countries you maybe be able to buy them in supermarkets and pharmacies. This is why I recommend using IPA. For a hand sanitizer to be effective it needs to be at least 70% ethanol. As we can’t get this in Ireland, you can use Isopropyl Alcohol 70%. IPA works well ideal for creating a product that cleanses, but isn’t as harsh as other concentrations.

I have found this article that it might be helpful to understand the maths about making your own hand sanitiser

Extra tips

At WapoBeauty, we are all about helping people learn from their mistakes. One common mistake is making a sanitizing spray with Vodka which it is only 40% alcohol (ethanol). This is not sufficient as a sanitizer and won’t dilute essential oils. Not only does this make the product ineffective, but it can also give the false impression that you’re protected from bacteria and viruses when you aren’t. Below you’ll find a photo of a formulation with this mistake so that you can learn how to spot it easily.

Another common mistake is making hand sanitizer gel with an aloe vera gel base. This is not a good idea because aloe vera is not a protecting ingredient at all. It is a conditioning ingredient added to hand sanitizer to give soothing benefits. Nonetheless, it is not a disinfectant product.

For anyone who is not interested in the super drying effect of these sanitizing products, there’s an alternative. You can make your own cold process soap wash your hands effectively. This summer there will be a Traditional Soapmaking Workshop for anyone who’s interested in hands-on soap making learning.


While coronavirus can be frightening, many health organizations around the globe point to good hygiene as an important preventative tool. If you have any questions or concerns about how to make hand sanitizer, feel free to leave a comment below or email WapoBeauty. Should you want to make soap at home, then check out WapoBeauty’s eBook on How to Make Cold Process Soap. To learn how to make skincare products without preservatives and zero packaging, sign up for WapoBeauty’s Natural Skincare Workshop in Dublin this Saturday! Join the ranks of past students who found this class valuable and rewarding


Ashuni Pérez is an American writer based in Valencia, Spain. She has a passion for natural beauty and the environment. Ashuni loves to cycle and drink smoothies in the sun. Follow her on Instagram at @ashuuuuni