How to make sanitizing hand gel and wash

In light of recent world events, there has become a high demand for sanitizing hand gel and sanitizing hand wash products and formulas. While there can be some good information on the internet about hygiene and these types of products, there is unfortunately a lot of misinformation too. This blog is designed to give you facts about sanitizing hand gel and hand wash; provide you with links to reliable information, videos and formulas; give you the knowledge you need to make good hand sanitizing products even at home; and give you formulas and methods you can use, even if you’ve never made cosmetic products before.

Want to skip ahead and go straight to the sanitizing formulas and methods? You can access all of our free formulas for various sanitizing products here:

(This is a Dropbox link – if you have trouble opening it please download Dropbox first from your app store)

And watch our how to make sanitizers videos here:

Do you want to learn how to formulate sanitizing products in detail, including:

  • What the rules are in various countries: AU, Canada, China, EU and UK, ASEAN countries, India, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, South Korea and the USA
  • How to make sanitizing formulas
  • How to thicken sanitizing formulas
  • Which sanitizing agents you can use, and which are not suitable, along with limits
  • Which materials can get added, and which don’t get added, to sanitizing formulas
  • How to mix your formulas for best results
  • Which gums and polymers are effective to thicken high alcohol (ethanol and isopropyl alcohol) content
  • Which neutralising agents can be used
  • Where to go for suppliers of materials

Purchase our Sanitizing Workshops, which comes with full detailed text and 2 on-line lectures, for just $200AUD

NOTE: For immediate access once purchased, stay on paypal page for access details

Enter your email


Now let’s give you some facts and help you navigate through some of the myths out there when it comes to how to make sanitizers!


FAQ: What makes a sanitizing product ‘sanitizing’? And when is it hospital grade?

The ethanol in these formulas makes them sanitizing. Sanitizing means it removes dirt and micro-organisms, but a very few spores may remain. This is why you often see claims like ‘kills 99.9% germs’ (or similar) on the packaging. It can kill most, but not all micro-organisms present. Sterilisation kills all micro-organisms including spores. These products are called sanitizing because they are effective on 99.9% of micro-organisms when strong enough.

  • Sanitizing can be achieved with 60%w/w full strength ethanol or isopropyl alcohol in a formula – it is effective, but not as good as hospital grade products.
  • Hospital grade sanitizing is achieved with 70%w/w full strength ethanol or isopropyl alcohol – some hospital grade sanitizing products use more than 70%w/w but this is the minimum to achieve hospital grade sanitization

Less than 60%w/w and the efficacy of the product to sanitize effectively diminishes.

FAQ: Can essential oils and herbal extracts sanitize? Aren’t some essential oils like tea tree and eucalyptus anti-bacterial?

While some essential oils and herbal extracts have some anti-bacterial or anti-fungal activity, they are not considered ‘broad spectrum’ enough to be properly effective at sanitizing. Broad spectrum means effective against most bacteria, yeast and mould, and in the case of hand sanitizing products, most viruses as well. While some essential oils and herbal extracts can be effective against specific types of bacteria, yeast and mould, they have a very narrow range of action – so they are not broadly effective. So no, essential oils and herbal extracts can’t be used to provide effective sanitization. The sanitizing agents and concentrations we have used in our formulas will provide broad spectrum sanitizing activity.

FAQ: Can I use methylated spirits?

No – do NOT use methylated spirits or denatured ethanol in these formulas. Only use undenatured ethanol or isopropyl alcohol in these formulas. Denatured ethanol and methylated spirits contain chemicals that are not meant for topical application, and are not suitable to use in these formulas.

FAQ: Can I use vodka or strong spirits?

No – vodka and strong spirits, are at best, 40-50% alcohol. Even if you used these straight, they are not sufficiently strong enough to provide effective sanitizing.

FAQ: Why don’t your formulas contain preservatives?

When using 60% or more ethanol/isopropyl alcohol, these formulas are ‘selfpreserving’. This means they don’t need a preservative, as micro-organisms can’t grow in these formulas. These formulas kill micro-organisms – they don’t need additional preservative.

Some other VERY important information about sanitizing products:

  • Careful which essential oils you use (if you use any at all)
    • You don’t need essential oils in the products, they are only added to cover some of the alcohol smell. Remember, they are not adding to the sanitizing effect, they are simply there to make the product smell nicer.
    • DO NOT USE bergamot, bitter orange, grapefruit, lemon or lime in leave on products, especially multi-use leave on products like hand sanitizing products. These essential oils contain a phototoxic agent that can leave permanent stains on your skin when exposed to the sun.
  • These products are at least 60% ethanol/isopropyl alcohol = they are HIGHLY FLAMMABLE!
    • NEVER ship via air – only by road
    • Find out the Dangerous Good labelling requirements for your local region and make sure your product labels and shipping containers comply
    • Even organic ethanol is highly flammable, the same rules apply! So, check this carefully to make sure your products comply
    • Store and use the ingredients and finished products carefully
    • Use only spark-proof manufacturing equipment

Do you want individual advice? Still got questions? We’re happy to help, please purchase a Formulation Review/1 hour consulting with us here:,brandadvice-797/ and we’ll be in touch to help you with your individual and specific questions.


< Return