[394] DIY On How to Make A Gel Hand Sanitizer (carbomer gel) at Home!
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In a time where hand sanitizer is not readily available and there are many resources out there which show you how to make a hand sanitizer incorrectly, I hope this video will help clear a few things up. One of the biggest mistakes I see is people starting with alcohol which is too weak to start and further diluting it. Every time a liquid is being added to the solution, the alcohol is being diluted. The bare minimum alcohol / volume concentration is 60% but the CDC recommends 70%. This recipe makes about 85% strength alcohol and once you make it into a gel it may be slightly lower (I am not 100% sure how to calculate it exactly but it is going to be well above 70%).
Having a gel hand sanitizer is advantageous because it is less likely to drip off your hands and ruin your surfaces (such as a varnish), it is easier to spread, and feels more like the hand sanitizer we are all used to. If you have any questions, feel free to ask and I will try to answer them.
To get started here are some of the supplies you will need:
⭢95% alcohol (at least 450 ml). I used Graves 190 Proof grain alcohol.
⭢ Distilled Water (best to get at the store)
⭢ 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (try to buy at the store):
⭢ Anhydrous vegetable glycerin:
⭢ Essential oil (optional):
⭢ Carbomer 980:
⭢ Triethanolamine (sold by
Here is some equipment which makes your job easier:
⭢ 500-gram scale:
⭢ Magnetic Bar Stirrer:
⭢ 600 ml glass beaker:
⭢1 ml syringe:
⭢ Dropper (an alternative to the 1 ml syringe):
⭢ 30 ml measuring cup:
⭢ Plastic wrap:
⭢ Manual mixing device (I used a clean spoon)
⭢ Dispenser bottles:
Here is the recipe I used to make the 500 ml batch of liquid hand sanitizer:
You can see this portion of the video at 01:47
⭢ Obtain a 600 ml beaker
⭢ Add 445 ml of 190 Proof (95%) alcohol into the beaker
⭢ Add 20 ml of distilled water (to dilute the alcohol)
⭢ Add 20 ml of 3% hydrogen peroxide (does not work to clean hands but rather to clean the solution and the beaker)
⭢ Add 15 ml of anhydrous vegetable glycerin (acts as a humectant to prevent hands from drying out)
⭢ Add a few drops of essential oil if desired for fragrance
⭢ Once these are all mixed, add them to a clean dispenser bottle and you are done. The World Health Organization recommends you let it sit for 72 hours before use so the hand sanitizer can self-clean the solution and the bottle.
Here is how to make the gel: This starts at 06:12
(This is my approach and I had a hard time finding any great tutorials on the whole process. My approach works for me and if you see anything that should be corrected please let me know)
⭢ Use your scale, zero out a container and weigh your solution. For me, 500ml weighed 400 grams.
⭢ Use your scale again, zero out a container to weigh your Carbomer 980. It is recommended you use 0.5% Carbomer (from what I was able to read) I used 4 grams which is 1%. When I used less the gel did not come out to the thickness I desired.
⭢ In order for the Carbomber 980 to work, your solution needs to have a pH lower than 6.0. You can check this with Litmus paper.
⭢ If you have a magnetic stirrer and beaker, add your solution to the 600 ml beaker and set the stirrer so it stirs strongly. Slowly tap your Carbomer into your solution over about 15 minutes to avoid any clumps. You may also consider using a sieve.
⭢ Once all of your powder is mixed, cover your beaker with plastic wrap, and let it mix for about 15 minutes or until all the carbomer is dissolved and well mixed into your solution.
⭢ Now we need to “hydrate” the carbomer. In order to do this the pH needs to be increased to greater than 6.0. I believe the range is about 6.0 to 7.5 (correct me if I am wrong). To do this, we add Triethanolamine. I add 0.15 ml or you could add about 1 drop with a dropper.
⭢ As soon as you add the Triethanolamine the carbomer will “hydrate” and you will instantly have a gel. You may need to do a little manual mixing to ensure everything is mixed.
⭢ Now you can add your gel hand sanitizer to your dispenser bottle, and you are done!
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