There’s a Hand Sanitizer Shortage, So Here’s How to Make Your Own

While stocking up for quarantine due to COVID-19, people have run to the store to load up on essentials which include a few weeks’ worths of food, water, medicine, and other household supplies.

We’ve now seen how crazy they can be. People have stockpiled lifetime supplies of toilet paper or bought every bottle of hand sanitizer at the pharmacy. When you combine the average shopper and the hoarder/panic-buyer, it’s become difficult to find hand sanitizer on shelves these days.

Still, it’s a good item to have at home during a quarantine. If you’re struggling to find hand sanitizer, here’s why these shortages are happening and the recipe to fix the problem.

Hand Sanitizer Shortages

The coronavirus has led to a serious shortage of hand sanitizer in stores and that means you probably won’t have any luck finding name brands like Purell. In fact, some people bought up massive amounts of hand sanitizer in an attempt to re-sell and make profits. Luckily, marketplaces like Amazon have cracked down on price gouging, but that just means more hand sanitizer off the shelves. You might be able to find some lesser-known hand sanitizer brands, but they’re not all created equal.

In fact, shortages have gotten so bad that some distilleries have begun producing their own hand sanitizer. For instance, Bacardi announced that the world’s largest rum distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico, is supplying enough ethanol for 1.7 million 10-ounce hand sanitizer bottles. Smaller brands, like Old Fourth Distillery in Atlanta, have also shifted production toward sanitizer.

Experts recommend that you use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol for the best prevention. Before you buy any products you’re not familiar with, make sure it hits this threshold or it won’t help against COVID-19. If you plan on making your own sanitizer, you should keep that 60 percent barrier in mind.

Making Your Own Hand Sanitizer

There are a lot of different recipes online for homemade sanitizer, but not all of them are very potent. Here’s our pick for the best way to make a batch at home.


  • Isopropyl alcohol (90 percent or higher)
  • Aloe vera gel


  • Funnel
  • Small bottles
  • Nitrile gloves
  • Essential oils (optional)

Making the hand sanitizer is actually pretty simple. Mix the isopropyl alcohol and aloe vera in a ratio of 3:1. You need the mixture to be at least 60 percent alcohol, to be safe we recommend going for 70-75 percent. After mixing these ingredients in a small bowl, you can add a few drops of essential oils for aroma.

Essential oils aren’t a necessary part of the sanitizer but can add a pleasant smell. You also might have heard that you can use hard liquor for hand sanitizer, but the alcohol concentration isn’t nearly high enough. Stick with isopropyl alcohol, as long as it’s above 90 percent.

After you’ve mixed your ingredients, use a funnel to fill a few small bottles. It’s really that simple!