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DIY Hand Sanitizer

Julie from Slow Food Barbados shares how you can make your own DIY hand sanitizer safely and easily with three ingredients, one of which may be in your own garden!

Technically, you can make this Hand Sanitizer Recipe with two ingredients, but we like to suggest adding essential oils so if you have them it’s a good opportunity to use them. In these challenging times, perhaps you can consider sharing and exchanging whichever ingredients you have with your friends, families and neighbours.


650 ml of undiluted rubbing alcohol.

  • 350 ml of aloe vera gel extracted from aloe vera leaves, aka aloe Barbadensis. As the name suggests, the aloe vera plant is plentiful in Barbados.

  • Your favourite essential oils such as tea tree oil, lavender, clove, or a scent you enjoy. You’ll need 50-60 drops.

For equipment you’ll need:

  • A blender

  • A sharp knife

  • A large measuring cup

  • A nut milk bag or cheese cloth to strain the aloe gel.

How much aloe do you add?

The Centre for Disease Control recommends that hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol. The amount of aloe you can add is dependent on the strength of your alcohol. If you have undiluted alcohol you can add up to 40% aloe vera gel. If you have 70% alcohol you can only add 10% aloe.


  1. The next step is to harvest aloe leaves from the plant, grip the base of leaves with your fingers and gently pull away from the plant. You can also use a pair of scissors or sharp knife.

  2. Stand the aloe leaf cut-end down in a cup for about 15 minutes to let the yellow sap, known as the latex, drip out. The latex is a laxative and needs to be removed before storage.

  3. Clean the dirt from the surface of the leaf by gently scrubbing them with a wet toothbrush or nailbrush. Rinse the leaves under cold running water.


  • Cut and and remove the base of the leaf. Remove the spines from the sides of the leaf using a sharp kitchen knife. Remove the skin from both sides of the leaves using a kitchen vegetable skinner, or cut the leaf in half vertically and scoop out the gel using a small spoon.

  • Place the gel pieces in a blender and blend on medium. The gel will foam up almost immediately, this is normal, but to get the correct measurement you’ll have to wait a few minutes for the foam to clear.

  • Mix your ingredients together. In this recipe we are using a large cup measure that fits 1000ml and we are making a few bottles to share with others so that makes our math easy.

  • Pulse ingredients in blender and pour into spray bottles.

  • Add a drop of vitamin E oil and a drop of grapefruit seed oil to the gel to prevent discolouration.

  • Store extra aloe vera gel out of direct sunlight in an airtight plastic container. You can also use sterilized glass containers or reusable shampoo bottles (As shown in this image!) Please note: The image of the hand sanitizer bottles is taken from Something Samarah, with permission.

  • Close the container and store it in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Voila! There you have it, an easy DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipe using 3 simple ingredients! If you end up using this recipe, please make sure to tag us in your photos or let us know using #SlowFoodBB, we love to hear from you!

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