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Homemade Hand Sanitizer {with essential oils}

Easy Homemade Hand Sanitizer with Essential Oils

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Honestly, I’ve never been a big fan of hand sanitizer.  We rarely use it.  For starters, it dries out my hands.  And I was less than thrilled to learn about the ingredients in most mainstream versions.

But let’s face it, some situations simply call for some sort of hand treatment in the absence of soap and water.  Port-a-potties, for example.  Playgrounds, nasty gas station bathrooms, diaper changes on the go, and other travel situations.

So, it’s good to have an easy and safe alternative to mainstream hand sanitizers.  Plus, this sanitizer doubles as a handy way to support the immune system!  While it’s great for sanitizing hands, you can also apply it topically to the soles of the feet, the spine, back of the neck, etc, for daily immune support.

Easy Homemade Hand Sanitizer with Essential Oils | Roots & Boots
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Homemade Hand Sanitizer {with essential oils}

This recipe is so easy, it almost seems silly to call it a recipe…
It’s simply a carrier oil (Fractionated Coconut Oil) + essential oils in a small sprayer.

Ingredients & Materials


  1. Fill the sprayer most of the way with FCO.
  2. Add essential oils.
  3. Be sure to leave enough room at the top for inserting the spray top!

Recommended Essential Oils 

How many drops?

  • For a mini sprayer like the ones pictured here, start with 3-5 drops.
  • Aim for 10 drops in a recycled essential oil bottle (15 mL).

More natural immune support:

 Happy Sanitizing!



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Kathleen | Roots & Boots

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>


  1. Sherry on 08/05/2013 at 12:41 pm

    Thanks Kathleen! I’m going to make some this week and try it out! Aroma tools also has these which I think will work since I don’t have enough empty bottles.

    • Kathleen on 08/05/2013 at 12:57 pm

      Yep, those would work, too, Sherry. Have fun, and let me know how it goes. 🙂

  2. Sherry on 08/10/2013 at 4:20 pm

    Okay…just in case someone wants to make this with the 15ml size. I put 8 drops and that was too strong for my family. I should’ve used about 5 drops to start. But I do like that my hands feel soft.

    • Kathleen on 08/10/2013 at 7:02 pm

      Thanks, Sherry. It can be hard to estimate the amount of essential oil to use. 🙂 I always try to start with less oil and then adjust accordingly. Hope you find a ratio that works for you…

  3. Deanna on 09/21/2013 at 11:54 am

    I teach Kindergarten and want to use a better hand cleaner on them. Would the On Guard recipe burn if they touched their eyes?

    • Kathleen on 02/07/2014 at 8:56 pm

      Deanna–Sorry for my delayed response! Somehow I missed your comment. I use this sanitizer on my boys and they’ve been fine. I would advise the kids not to stick their fingers directly in their eyes immediately after using the sanitizer, but otherwise they should be fine. 🙂 Hope that helps!

  4. Tara on 06/03/2014 at 12:31 am

    It’s very important to note that essential oils should not be used in plastic. Always use glass. I made some of this in a glass roller bottle to keep in my purse 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe

  5. Jennifer Hasenstab on 08/27/2014 at 4:05 pm

    Hello. Was wondering if it is safe to use the plastic ones with the oils? Have heard not to use plastic with oils? Just checking. Thank you.

    • Kathleen on 09/01/2014 at 1:21 am

      Jennifer–In general it’s best to use glass containers for essential oils. But many of us do use sturdy plastic containers, like the mini-sprayers mentioned here, in some cases.

  6. Kathleen Jaynes on 09/24/2014 at 1:53 pm

    Doesn’t this make your hands feel oily? How long does it take to soak in? Could you make this with water as long as you shake it first? Thanks!

    • Kathleen on 09/27/2014 at 1:23 pm

      Kathleen–I find the FCO absorbs pretty quickly. We use just a very small amount in our hands, and then rub them together. Your hands will be oily right at first, but not for very long. It’s similar to applying lotion to your hands. Very moisturizing! You could make it with water, but I imagine that would tend to dry out the skin instead of softening it. Hope that helps! 🙂

  7. Rebecca on 10/12/2014 at 5:15 am

    Hello. Is this recipe as effective at killing bacteria and viruses as traditional hand sanitizers? Thanks!

  8. Emily on 10/15/2014 at 1:17 am

    Would it be possible to make a hand sanitizer spray using just fractioned coconut oil and tea tree oil? Thank you!

    • Kathleen on 10/15/2014 at 1:32 am

      Emily–I don’t see why not. Tea tree oil is a great disinfectant, too. 🙂

  9. Annette on 11/14/2014 at 3:59 pm

    Word of caution: When I was a newbie, I put Lavender EO into one of these small plastic sprayers….no FCO, just EO. After spraying my pillow, I laid it on my nightstand, and the oil dissolved part of the container, and the melted container took the finish off my nightstand, (the spot was small, but the furniture is expensive), SO, I’m thinking if the FCO was added to these first, there would be no interaction with the EO? I’ve certainly found out not to use the plastic with EO by itself.
    I was later told that the EO’s are very powerful and go after any impurities, so I’m guessing that was it.

    • Kathleen on 11/14/2014 at 5:17 pm

      Oh my! That’s a bummer, Annette. In general, it’s best to use glass containers for any EO purposes. But as you know, sometimes that’s just not practical. I’ve never used plastic to store straight up essential oils with no oil or water. The mini sprayers I use for the hand sanitizer are super thick, food grade plastic, and I’ve had no problems at all with them, when used as described in the post above. I’ve probably used them for about two years by now. We also use sturdy plastic spray bottles for our DIY bug spray, and sturdy plastic soap dispensers for foaming hand soap. Other than that, everything else I make with EO’s goes into glass bottles or jars of some sort. 🙂

  10. Andrea Groff on 07/08/2015 at 1:15 am

    Have you ever put something like Lavender or Peppermint in for a scent? Or does On-Guard have its own scent?

    • Kathleen on 07/08/2015 at 11:45 pm

      Andrea–On Guard has its own scent. Reminds me of Christmas–namely Cinnamon & Clove. 🙂

  11. Nikki on 01/20/2016 at 12:22 pm

    Is FCO different from regular CO? This looks very interesting but I thought CO oil would always return to its solid state.

    • Kathleen on 01/20/2016 at 1:06 pm

      Fractionated Coconut Oil starts out as regular coconut oil, but has been “fractionated” to remove the solid part. This allows FCO to remain in a liquid state at all times, which makes it ideal as a carrier for essential oils.

  12. Heather Link on 09/08/2016 at 1:43 am

    Is there a good substitute for the fco? Both my kids are very allergic to coconut.

    • Kathleen on 09/12/2016 at 12:53 am

      Heather–Any vegetable oil will work, but keep in mind that some of them stain. Maybe jojoba? It absorbs quickly. Or just use water and make it a hand spray.

  13. Michelle on 08/15/2017 at 4:13 am

    for the ShareOils mister mini sprays would you use 4 or 5 drops of On Guard??

    • Kathleen on 08/15/2017 at 11:57 am

      These days I’m using about 3-4 drops EO. Just depends on your preference! Start with fewer drops and see how you like it. You can always add more later…

      • Michelle on 08/15/2017 at 12:11 pm

        would you add lemon or wild orange to enhance the smell?

        • Kathleen on 08/21/2017 at 7:25 pm

          Sure, you could definitely add your favorite citrus oil. Or just use the citrus oil instead of On Guard.

  14. Mary Wolf on 08/09/2018 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing but wouldn’t you need alcohol, too?

  15. Jessica on 12/28/2019 at 9:38 pm

    How many drops if only using on guard? Also wanting to reuse my on guard hand sanitizer bottle; would that be ok too

    • Kathleen on 01/02/2020 at 3:08 am

      It depends on the size of your container. I recommend starting with 3 drops. You can always add more later! I haven’t tried recycling the OG hand mist bottles (this recipe was created before the premade hand spray was available). My only concern is that the FCO would clog the sprayer, but the premade TerraShield spray has FCO, so maybe it would be fine. Let us know if you try it!

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