DIY Foaming Hand Sanitizer Recipe & Foam Dispenser

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This post was updated on October 6th, 2020.
This post may contain affiliate links.

DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER RECIPE FEATURED

My favorite recipe for DIY Foaming Hand Sanitizer. It is fast, easy and inexpensive. It’s the best hand sanitizer/purifier around. It doesn’t leave your hands slimy. And you can customize it to be perfect. I also use it in place of the yucky smelling public restroom hand soap. 

Making my kids use DIY Foaming Hand Sanitizer doesn’t make me a germaphobe, does it? Seriously though, I’m not a germaphobe. I am the typical mom of 3 who lets her kids ingest too much dirt because “it’s good for their immune systems.” One the flip side I’m terrified of kid germs. Indoor play places and shopping carts give me nightmares.  Let me tell you a story…..

The “stomach flu of November 2017” changed me. I may never be the same. It’s the kind of thing nightmares are made of. 38 months pregnant……ok it felt like 38 but it was only like 7….I had been waddling already for what felt like a year…thanks to SPD.  Husband in Europe. Two kids puking literally every 20 minutes. Just when everyone gets well enough to get out and about after being stuck at home for a week, one pukes all over the cart full of items. I actually stooped so low after that I used disinfectant wipes…momentarily losing my grasp on reality and figuring cancer from chemical-filled disinfectant wipes was better than the stomach flu. I have now had the baby, hormones have equalized, my husband has returned home from overseas and I have realized the errors in my ways of disinfectant wipes. (insert agony faced emoji)  I have since learned that Young Living has amazing Thieves wipes and spray for that! I now carry that with me to clean off the carts. I would rather my kids eat dirt than put their hands or mouth on a shopping cart…especially after being the one to have the puking kid in the cart. Oops.  Yuck. Kid germs.

I’m still a bit traumatized though and every now and then I remember and I shudder at the possibility of this occurring again.

I still don’t like kid germs. I’m still a bit terrified of another stomach flu-like that. Places like schools and play places require me to be standing directly outside with my foaming bottle of hand sanitizer….ready to squirt any child who will allow me to sanitize their hands before said hands get close to faces.

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ARE TRADITIONAL HAND SANITIZERS BAD FOR YOU?

PIN THIS FOR LATER ON YOUR DIY OR ESSENTIAL OIL PINTEREST BOARDS

DOES DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER WITH THIEVES WORK?

The key appears to be adding alcohol. That is the heavy hitter when it comes to sanitizing hands.

WHEN TO USE DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER.

  • I always require hand sanitizer when we get in the car from playing out and about. It’s become a habit.
  • I also use it after the baby’s diaper while I’m still standing at the changing table.
  • I use foaming hand sanitizer when we’re at the zoo. or out and about and I don’t like the hand soap or the handwashing stations.
  • TIP. You can use it instead of hand soap out and about if the hand soap is that gross pink yucky stuff. I pull it out of my bag and squirt the kids hands with it and then we rinse just like it were the soap. It’s very similar the foaming hand soap that I use at home anyway.

DON’T WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN? THIS IS WHAT I BUY NOW!

I have written about how much I love the DYPER BRAND cloth diapers and disposable diapers. I switched to disposable diapers after 8 years of cloth diapering due to this amazing company. I am in love. I use these wipes to wipe hands off! They also can be used as  a replacement to your Clorox wipes that is safe and natural. Are you in love with this company yet like I am?!

replace Clorox wipes replacement safe

They also have a replacement to your Clorox wipes that is safe and natural. Are you in love with this company yet like I am?!

CDC GUIDELINES FOR HOW TO AND WHEN TO USE HAND SANITIZER

how to use hand sanitizer cdc recommendations hand purifier

PIN TO SAVE FOR LATER READING TO YOUR DIY OR ESSENTIAL OIL BOARD

How to make your own DIY homemade foaming hand sanitizer with alcohol recipe

WHERE TO KEEP DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER BOTTLES IN THE HOUSE AND CARS AND BAGS?

  • My van/car/SUV door.
  • Each car door or seat pocket for each kid. (Habit when they get in the car from school or playing.)
  • My purse. (My mommy purse pouch w/ my wallet etc for when I get out without the kids…I think I left without the kids once once in 2016. Hmmm maybe it was 2017. Just kidding.)
  • Baby’s changing table so after changing baby diaper I can clean hands right away.
  • Daughter’s school backpack. (My kids are spoiled now and they don’t like the hand sanitizers at school with all the alcohol and chemicals.)
  • In the kitchen for a quick hand sanitize if I have my hands full (like holding a baby).

WHY ARE ANTIBACTERIAL CHEMICAL PRODUCTS DANGEROUS?

I talked about it in my DIY FOAMING HAND SOAP RECIPE post. Kills good bacteria too. Full of chemicals. Can create antibiotic resistance.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ALCOHOL-FREE HAND SANITIZER?

  • We don’t prefer alcohol in our hand sanitizers because it’s drying. And it can burn if you have an open cut.
  • So when we don’t have a world-wide pandemic of coronavirus going on I choose a sanitizer that does not have alcohol in it.
  • When we need serous hand sanitizers, we add alcohol.
  • I made a DIY hand sanitizer recipe using alcohol and aloe but it molded. It was stinky and gross. This hand sanitizer has never gone bad and it’s just awesome. I need easy in my life.
  • My new recipe here (you can use it with or without alcohol but alcohol works better) does not have aloe. Instead it has Castile soap.

WHAT TO BUY TO MAKE DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER RECIPE USING ESSENTIAL OILS AND CASTILE SOAP [DISPENSER FOR HAND SANITIZER]

  • These foaming hand sanitizer containers.
    • Do I really need 12?
    • I prefer to make them all at once and store them in my laundry room already filled. Then I can grab a new one and not have to make one if I run out and I’m in a hurry.  I also keep them everywhere so I use at least half right away.
    • I find DIY is easier when you make it in batches…as long as it doesn’t go bad. I have personally never had this recipe go bad.  I don’t have a lot of extra time for getting all the ingredients out, thinking about it, mixing etc. It’s a chore so I do it all at once and don’t replenish for months!
    • I really like that they are clear!
  • Young Living Thieves Essential Oil
  • Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil (this one is just for nice smell. If you only have Thieves, use that). I stole this idea from the ingredients in Thieves Waterless Hand Purifier by Young Living.
  • Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint (or Baby Mild or any other scent you like) Castile Soap 
    • I like peppermint for this recipe b/c I’m adding peppermint essential oils anyway.
  • Distilled Water (or tap water)
  • Alcohol as desired.

homemade diy foaming hand sanitizer recipe

DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER RECIPE (ORIGINAL) 

THIS IS MY ORIGINAL RECIPE WITHOUT ALCOHOL

  1. Open all of the 50 ml containers.
  2. Put 1/2 teaspoon of Castile soap in each.
  3. Put 5 drops of Thieves Essential Oil & 5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil. (Or use another combination)
  4. Fill the container slowly with water. 
  5. Leave room for foaming dispenser top.

DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER RECIPE (WITH ALCOHOL FOR CDC GUIDELINES) 

THIS IS MY NEW RECIPE THAT I USE INCLUDING ALCOHOL. I LEAVE OUT THE OILS BECAUSE IT’S HARD TO COVER UP THE SMELL OF ALCOHOL. 

  1. Open all of the 50 ml containers.
  2. Put 1/2 to 1  teaspoon of Castile soap in each. 
  3. Put 5 drops of Thieves Essential Oil & 5 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil. (Or use another combination or skip altogether because you might not be able to smell it over the alcohol anyway! 
  4. Add 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) of alcohol. 
  5. Fill the rest of the way with water. 
  6. Leave room at the top for foaming dispenser top. 

**I DID SOME MATH.  I used the CDC regulations of 60% alcohol and made some calculations. For a 50 ml container, there needs to be 30 ml of alcohol if I’m calculating the way that the CDC recommends. 

UPDATE: IF YOUR RECIPE DOES NOT FOAM. 

**I EXPERIMENTED. I found that 1/2 to 1 teaspoons of Castile Soap + NO MORE THAN 2 Tablespoons of alcohol in the container + water for it to foam. Otherwise it will be too runny and not foamy. 

DON’T WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN? THIS IS WHAT I BUY NOW!

I have written about how much I love the DYPER BRAND cloth diapers and disposable diapers. I switched to disposable diapers after 8 years of cloth diapering due to this amazing company. I am in love. I use these wipes to wipe hands off! They also can be used as  a replacement to your Clorox wipes that is safe and natural. So I use these after I cut up raw meat on my kitchen counter. Then I use my Norwex. I also us these to clean up my baby potty when I’m in the middle of potty training. Read more here. Are you in love with this company yet like I am?!

replace Clorox wipes replacement safe

DOES THIS WORK ON BABIES AS BABY HAND SANITIZER?

YES YES YES! I used to use this on my babies after someone would come up and touch my baby’s hands! Then people would question why we smelled so nice! I always watch to make sure baby doesn’t rub his eyes but I never worry because it’s in such small concentration it does not concern me. You, mom, make your own decision based on your comfort level for your family.

I prefer the non-alcohol versions for babies so I don’t burn their hands. 

PIN THIS TO YOUR DIY NATURAL HOME BOARD

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN DIY FOAMING HAND SANITIZER WITH ALCOHOL

WHAT ABOUT THIEVES HAND SANITIZER?

I am thrifty so I prefer to make my own and save money. I also like that mine is alcohol-free, but I do love the  Thieves Hand Purifier from Young Living. It smells just as divine! I use both. I like the Thieves Hand Purifier for smaller spaces (small bags).  This DIY Foaming Hand Sanitizer Recipe takes just a few minutes to make. I make 12 all at once in a batch and put the extras in my laundry room all ready to go. I have looked up the ingredients and alcohol gets a 4 on EWG and Clove Oil gets a 5 on EWG. I’m good with that. Everything else is a 1 or 2.

I have also tried the Dr. Bronners Hand Sanitizer in Lavender from Amazon. It also has alcohol in it also. It’s a hand sanitizer spray. This one is okay also. But I still prefer my own.

MY OPINION ON DIY RECIPES

It has to be fast.
It has to be easy.
It has to actually WORK.
It has to be something I can NOT buy anywhere else OR it has to be something I can make a LOT cheaper than I can buy it.

I love my DIY Foaming hand soap recipe. It’s ridiculously cheap. And I just love it. Love it. It’s fast, easy and cheap to make and I love the end product.

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DIy foaming hand sanitizer recipe
My favorite recipe for DIY Foaming Hand Sanitizer. It is fast, easy and inexpensive. It's the best hand soap around. And you can customize it to be perfect.

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I am on a mission to remove toxins from as many homes as I can...starting with toxic fragrances and cleaners! I want to share my research with you and learn from you also! Let's do this together! I can't wait to meet you!

45 Comments

  1. Liz February 28, 2019 at 3:43 am - Reply

    Hi! Question about your foaming hand sanitizer. Have you ever had problems with it eating the plastic since you’re using thieves EO? I tried making my own disinfectant wipes before and it ruined the bottom of the plastic container. Thanks for your help!! Look forward to trying all your diy recipes!!

    • Tori May 23, 2019 at 3:01 am - Reply

      Hi Liz! I’m so sorry I’m just now seeing your comment!

      I actually reached out to Young Living to ask them also because I was curious why some of their items were in plastic and others weren’t. I read this post on the Young Living Blog and it made me curious for more answers so I reached out to them…. (This post

      I always try to use glass for EVERYTHING. And I tell you more about how I try to do that here in my plastic free kitchen post But with some things you just cannot.

      Young Living recommended never using undiluted essential oils in plastic containers so diluting definitely helps. Also they said it depends on the type of plastic, concentration of oils, amount of oils and amount of time the oils come in contact with the plastic parts. I don’t have an exact answer for you. Maybe you bring up a good point…..MAYBE I SHOULD ACTUALLY STORE MY SOLUTION IN A GLASS MASON JAR AND THEN FILL OUT THE CONTAINERS AS I’M READY TO USE THEM?

  2. Paula April 23, 2019 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    Does this need to be rinsed?

    • Tori May 23, 2019 at 2:53 am - Reply

      Hi Paula! I’m so sorry I’m just now seeing this! I’ll do better about keeping up with comments! No…it does not need to be rinsed. BUT you can. I do NOT rinse it when I’m using it as hand sanitizer. BUT if we are in a public restroom I’ll often pull it out of my purse and we all use it as hand soap and then rinse it off. I do love letting germs and dirt rinse down the drain when we can AND I DO NOT like the smell of most commercial, public restroom hand soaps. It’s made of the same ingredients as my foaming hand soap but in different proportions so the hand sanitizer doesn’t leave a film on your hands. My DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe…. https://everydaywholesome.com/how-to-make-diy-foaming-hand-soap-recipe/

  3. Priscilla Aabye June 9, 2019 at 9:12 pm - Reply

    Where do you get the foaming bottles?

  4. Ashley July 8, 2019 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    Does this make your hands feel sticky? I hate having that feeling that something is on my hands, even after they’re clean!

    • Tori July 8, 2019 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      It’s the opposite!!! It’s amazing!! The Castile soap is so moisturizing with the coconut oil! My hands feel clean yet moisturized and they smell wonderful!

  5. Jessica July 25, 2019 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Can i use any essential oil?

    • Tori September 20, 2019 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      I personally prefer YL oils only. I think any oils are ok as long as they don’t burn. Watch out for hot oils maybe but I do like to add Thieves to help get rid of the yucky stuff. I usually copy other hand soap recipes…..lemon & orange. Peppermint (this one can be cool and could be burny I suppose…watch out with private parts if you make this as a body soap). You could use a combination you like in a diffuser. If you try some, will you let me know what you like best?

  6. Tam Harris March 7, 2020 at 5:47 am - Reply

    Unfortunately that won’t kill stomach virus (norovirus) germs. Only bleach or hydrogen peroxide.

    • Tori March 14, 2020 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      That is so true. I have also researched the Noro virus and that is the only time we use bleach in our house.

  7. Alana March 7, 2020 at 9:00 am - Reply

    Just a suggestion. You may want to buy containers that are a darker color instead of clear (like the blue or brown ones sold just for oil blends). Sunlight has a negative effect on many essential oils and they will lose potency and healing effects if exposed too long. Also, as others readers have said, certain plastic containers not made for this purpose may breakdown which could result in some of the chemicals being absorbed into your santizer.

    • Tori March 14, 2020 at 2:40 pm - Reply

      I did some research on this. And asked YOUNG LIVING directly. I completely agree that darker color is better. And glass is always better. If you find a container that is better than as I would love to know. There is research that has been done but no definitive answer on whether those containers are 100% safe with oils in them. I think they are considered generally safe because of the amount of oils in the dilution level. But please let me know if you find something better. I always like to err on the side of Darker and glass. Whenever I can.

  8. Amy March 12, 2020 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Actually the peppermint oil is used in place of alcohol. Peppermint oil has the same properties as denatured alcohol but without the chemical junk! So it is actually put into YL’s hand sanitizer for a reason! 🙂

  9. Miriam Taschner March 13, 2020 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Can you just use a regular spray bottle? Or only foaming bottles?

    • Tori March 14, 2020 at 2:39 pm - Reply

      If you try another kind of bottle, will you let me know? I would love to know if I squeeze bottle or a spray bottle works. Or if you have to dilute it or change the consistency at all.

  10. Avneet March 14, 2020 at 3:20 am - Reply

    Do I have to use a foaming bottle?

    • Tori March 14, 2020 at 2:38 pm - Reply

      You could probably use a squeeze bottle. But it might be kind of runny. And yet I think a spray bottle it might be kind of thick. If you try another kind of bottle, will you let me know?

  11. Sandy Fandrich March 16, 2020 at 2:29 am - Reply

    Is there a substitute for Castillo soap? I don’t have any.

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:19 am - Reply

      Did you try another soap that you have?! I’m sure any soap will work if you are unable to find Castile! I think Castile is back in stores now thank goodness!

  12. Robin Zimmerman March 16, 2020 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    in your recipe, you say how many drops of essential oil to use, and how much soap, but how big is the bottles and what is the water ratio?

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:18 am - Reply

      The foaming bottles are linked above in the article. They are 50ml bottles that I used. My recipe is for this bottles. I’ll update my recipe to have that info!

  13. Juju March 27, 2020 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Do I have to use Castile soap? Can I use any soap?

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:18 am - Reply

      Yes! you can use what you have!

  14. Juju Bean March 28, 2020 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Do I have to use Castile soap?

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:17 am - Reply

      No! You can use any soap that would foam I’m sure. I just prefer the safest soap I can. BUT in the middle of a global pandemic, you use what you can find!! Alcohol is the most important part of this recipe!

  15. Kellie March 30, 2020 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    I never thought to make my own foaming hand sanitizer!!! I have researched the diy gel sanitizer but this is just so much more fun to put on, haha. I have a question about the alcohol. I was a bit confused by your 3/4-1/4 statement. Do you mix the alcohol with water first and then add or just use straight alcohol to top off the bottle once it is already filled with the alcohol free version? Thanks in advance for your help! Now just to be able to get my hands on some of those pump bottles!! 😉

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:17 am - Reply

      So sorry! I updated the instructions above to be more clear! Add Soap and essential oils and then add alcohol (and water if you want). BUT make sure your ratio is 60% alcohol to be effective. I was trying to be clear and yet was unclear! I’m so glad you’re having fun w/ the foaming! I love it too! Did you find some bottles?!

  16. Rhonda April 12, 2020 at 7:20 am - Reply

    Hi, is there anything I can use in place of Castille Soap?

    • Tori April 12, 2020 at 1:54 pm - Reply

      Are you unable to find it due to the pandemic? You could use any soap you have! And then as soon as you can find Castile soap Again you can make a new batch!

  17. Barb April 13, 2020 at 4:47 am - Reply

    This didn’t work at all for me. I followed the recipe exactly (using the alcohol-water mix) and it does not foam. I even tried different foaming dispensers. I added more Castile soap and it still will not foam. What could I have done wrong?

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:04 am - Reply

      How strange! You are the 3rd person who has said this! And I didn’t have any trouble! Did you ever get it to work? Did you try adding some water? It needs at least 60% alcohol to abide by the guidelines for the CDC!

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:15 am - Reply

      I did some research on this! I assumed it was the alcohol! But it’s the soap! Apparently different containers require different amounts of soap to foam! So, try more soap! But again, make sure you ratio is 60% alcohol to kill germs!!!

  18. Kendra April 13, 2020 at 5:11 pm - Reply

    Hi,
    Do you have a “bulk” recipe for this? I don’t have access to the travel size bottles, so I’d like to make it in a mason jar and use in various sized foaming dispensers. The amount of soap, EO, alcohol, water would be different for various size containers.
    I don’t want to lose the sanitizing effects by altering the ingredient measurements.
    Thanks!

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:02 am - Reply

      I don’t! I would just have to do the math. Just make sure you have 60% alcohol for the recipe to abide by the CDC guidelines!

  19. Marisa April 16, 2020 at 11:50 am - Reply

    I followed the recipe and mine does not foam coming out of the. Bottle 🙁 have you ever had this problem? I used the same bottles.

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:02 am - Reply

      I have never had that problem! I went back and double checked and mine are foaming. someone else just commented the same thing though a few days after you! I wonder if you could take some of the alcohol out and add some water? Just make sure it’s 60% alcohol! Let me know if it works so I can update everyone and add to the post!

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:15 am - Reply

      I did some research on this! I assumed it was the alcohol! But it’s the soap! Apparently different containers require different amounts of soap to foam! So, try more soap! But again, make sure you ratio is 60% alcohol to kill germs!!!

  20. Julie Toatelegese April 25, 2020 at 10:34 pm - Reply

    Have you ever tried adding aloe Vera gel to the foaming hand sanitizer?

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:01 am - Reply

      I have not! If you do, will you let me know how it goes? I am not sure if it would foam as well? I’m curious though for sure. I had a hand sanitizer recipe w/ aloe vera gel mold on me once….it was sooo gross! Yuck! So I have been scared away from it a bit!

  21. kelly April 28, 2020 at 12:02 am - Reply

    oddly, i can’t get it to foam for me? I make castile foaming soap all the time but the alcohol is not foaming at all? I wonder what I’m doing?

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:00 am - Reply

      That is so strange! Mine is foaming! I used to use water and not alcohol and now I add alcohol due to the coronavirus. Can you try dumping some out and adding some water and see if that works? Just a bit? I don’t know that it would help? Let me know though so I can update everyone? Just make sure to keep it 60% alcohol to abide by the CDC standards!

    • Tori April 28, 2020 at 3:15 am - Reply

      I did some research on this! I assumed it was the alcohol! But it’s the soap! Apparently different containers require different amounts of soap to foam! So, try more soap! But again, make sure you ratio is 60% alcohol to kill germs!!!

  22. Kellie May 23, 2020 at 11:04 pm - Reply

    I received my bottles today and played around with a few different mixture measurements/ratios, but still all containing the 60% alcohol, and all of them still won’t foam, but it does fine with just the soap and water mixture (no alcohol added, only soap, so it’s not the bottles). This leads me to wonder if the higher alcohol content has something to do with the foaming. I still prefer this sanitizer to the gel and my hands feel incredibly soft already, haha. I only started with four bottles ( I got the 12 pack) so we will keep playing with different soap content and let you know if we find a good foaming ratio. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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