Correctly scrubbing your hands is one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs and viruses and to make sure you don’t get sick yourself. But if you don’t have access to soap and freshwater, or if you’re out and about and nowhere close to a sink, you should carry hand sanitizer to protect your health.

As you’re no doubt conscious, bottles of hand sanitizer (Purell, Wet Ones, and the like) sell out rapidly during public health crises. But don’t worry—making your hand sanitizer is amazingly easy. You just have to be alert you don’t mess it up.

Confirm that the tools you use for mixing are properly sanitized; otherwise you could dirty the whole thing. Also, the World Health Organization suggests letting your concoction sit for a least of 72 hours after you’re done.

That way the sanitizer has time to destroy any bacteria that might have been introduced during the mixing process.

(Note: To repeat, nothing beats washing your hands. Hand sanitizer—even the real, efficiently made stuff—should always be a last resort.)

We truly have two recipes for you, and links to find the ingredients. The first is one you can make with the material you likely already have in your cabinets and under the sink, so it’s effectual in emergencies.

The second recipe is more complex, but simple to make if you have the chance to do some shopping and planning ahead of time.

Another note: a lot of these items are rapidly going out of stock because of high demand. There’s a higher opportunity of finding them at your local drug store, but your first main concern is to stay indoors.

Potency Matters

You’re going to require some alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, your sanitizer mix must be as a minimum of 60 per cent alcohol to be effectual.

But it’s better to get way above that—aim for a least of 75 per cent. A bottle of 99 per cent isopropyl alcohol is the finest thing to use. Your ordinary vodka and whiskey are also wimpy and won’t cut it.

The Quick (Gel) Recipe

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Tea tree oil

Mix 3 pieces isopropyl alcohol to 1 part aloe vera gel. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to provide it a pleasant scent and to align your chakras.

The Better (Spray) Recipe

  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Glycerol or glycerin
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Distilled water
  • Spray bottle

The aloe mixture finds the job done, but aloe also leaves your skin annoyingly sticky. So, here’s a recipe that’s less tacky and more potent, based on the mix suggested by the WHO.

Mix 12 fluid scraps of alcohol with 2 teaspoons of glycerol. You can buy jugs of glycerol online, and it’s a vital ingredient because it keeps the alcohol from drying out your hands.

If you can’t get glycerol, proceed with the rest of the recipe anyway and just keep in mind to moisturize your hands after applying the sanitizer.

Mix in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide, then 3 fluid bits of distilled or boiled (then cooled) water. (If you’re working with a lower-attention solution of rubbing alcohol, use far less water; keep in mind, at least ¾ of your final mixture has to be alcohol.