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Do-It-Yourself Hydrogen Peroxide Hand Sanitizer Guide

How to prepare hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer?

hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer

Keeping your hands clean is a tough challenge, especially considering that you may need access to soap & water in many situations. Hand sanitizers are a blessing in such cases. While you can always buy hand sanitizer, there’s always a sense of pride when you can forge your weapon of destruction (of the pathogens). The article will guide you in achieving the prowess of DIY hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer. 

What is Hydrogen Peroxide? Can Hydrogen Peroxide be used as a hand sanitizer? 

Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical compound with a molecular formula of H2O2. It is a pale blue liquid in its purest form. It has no similarities with the properties of water except having a similar chemical formula (though hydrogen peroxide has extra oxygen). It is a well-known antiseptic, oxidizing agent, and bleaching agent. When applied to wounds, it helps in reducing the chances of any infection. 

hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer

Hydrogen peroxide is a vital ingredient in hand sanitizers owing to its high potency to kill a wide range of pathogens in a short duration. According to the recipe recommended by WHO, the hydrogen peroxide used is a 3% diluted (in water) hydrogen peroxide solution. The WHO recipe is as follows -

How to prepare hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer?

The WHO recipe suggests hand sanitizer made of four ingredients that are alcohol (only ethanol or isopropyl alcohol), glycerol, hydrogen peroxide, and distilled water. Let’s go through the ingredients in detail.

  • Alcohol -

  • WHO strictly states the use of either denatured ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol plays a primary role in killing pathogens. For more information on the role of alcohol in hand sanitizers, check our article on alcohol-based hand rubs.

  • Glycerol -

  • Did you know that there are side effects of repeated use of hand sanitizer? It can cause skin dryness & dermatitis. To prevent these conditions an emollient (or moisturizer) is added to the hand sanitizer. The best one is Glycerol (1.45% v/v). 

  • Hydrogen Peroxide -

  • WHO suggests the addition of Hydrogen peroxide (0.125% v/v) due to its antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Hydrogen peroxide takes approximately one or two minutes to destroy bacteria & viruses, while it may take even five minutes to kill a few types of fungi.

    Do you know what antiseptic properties are? Check out the blog on antiseptics.

  • Distilled water

  • Water allows the proper mixture of the other three ingredients and provides a viscous composition to the hand sanitizer. Moreover, it ensures that the other ingredients are diluted well to avoid any side effects due to higher concentrations. Alternatively, one can use boiled water instead of distilled water.

    How to DIY Hydrogen Peroxide Sanitizer?

    hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer

    Depending upon the alcohol concentration of the sanitizer, the compositions & volume of the ingredients vary. As per the CDC, the sanitizer should have at least 60% alcohol. Also, check out our highly suggested 75% alcohol recipe. So, let’s see how you can prepare one.

    Start by measuring the volume of rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide & glycerol using measuring cylinders. Add rubbing alcohol & hydrogen peroxide to a mixing vessel and stir gently. Ensure that the mixing vessel is clean and does not contain dust or dirt. Add glycerol slowly to the mixture and stir gently while adding. Now, add water to the solution and stir while adding. After you mix it for some time, collect the sanitizer. Refer to the quantities of the ingredients that are as follows (for 100 mL hand sanitizer) -

  • Hand Sanitizer (60% alcohol) -

  • Rubbing alcohol - 60.6 mL of 99% purity

    Hydrogen peroxide - 4.17 mL of 3% purity (diluted in water)

    Glycerol - 0.75 mL of 98% purity

    Water - 34.48 mL of water

  • Hand Sanitizer (75% alcohol) -

  • Rubbing alcohol - 75.76 mL of 99% purity

    Hydrogen peroxide - 4.17 mL of 3% purity (diluted in water)

    Glycerol - 0.75 mL of 98% purity

    Water - 19.32 mL of water

    Note - 

    1. If stored properly at a cool & dry place away from sunlight, the shelf life of the DIY hand sanitizer can go up to 30 days. 
    2. The rubbing alcohols are available in various concentrations (70% to 99%). Depending upon the concentration the volume of rubbing alcohol may increase. If you are using 70% rubbing alcohol, then for preparation of 100 mL of 60% alcoholic hand sanitizer, you need to add 87.71 mL of 70% rubbing alcohol & 7.37 mL of water.

    How does Hydrogen Peroxide sanitizer work?

    hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer

    The combination of hydrogen peroxide & rubbing alcohol works like a double trouble team against the pathogens. Both these components are one of the greatest disinfectants & antiseptics that are skin-friendly. They kill a wide range of pathogens, which ensures they protect from various diseases. Are you curious to know how alcohol destroys pathogens? Check out the blog on how alcohol kills germs!

    Hydrogen peroxide kills pathogens in a rather unique way. It produces free hydroxyl (OH) radicals that destroy the lipid membranes of the pathogens. These hydroxyl radicals may also destroy the genetic material (DNA or RNA) of the pathogens. Moreover, the radicals may also annihilate other vital cells of these pathogens. The pathogens die due to the damage from hydroxyl groups. 

    Note - Few pathogens are capable of producing an enzyme called catalase. This enzyme can easily break down hydrogen peroxide into oxygen & water. To destroy these pathogens, one requires a higher concentration of hydrogen peroxide. In most cases, these pathogens fall prey to the disinfectant properties of rubbing alcohol.

    Check out our article on applying hand sanitizer on the face.

    Note - Always use 3% hydrogen peroxide solution as the higher concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can cause skin damage and in the worst cases may cause dermatitis. 


    Washing hands may not be possible every time. So, hand sanitizers can be used in such cases. What is better than DIY hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer? These hand sanitizers come with two disinfectants & antiseptics. So, they are more effective than any other hand sanitizer. The article provides a detailed guide for the preparation of DIY hydrogen peroxide hand sanitizer. Why wait? DIY.