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200 Proof
Food Grade Ethanol

by Culinary Solvent

All Things Hand Sanitizer

alcohol for cleaning hands dispensing from dispenser - Culinary Solvent

Why Make Hand Sanitizer at Home 

Making hand sanitizer at home can be a great alternative to purchasing off the shelf: you know exactly what’s in it.  Given that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recalled certain hand sanitizers due to containing ingredients, making hand sanitizer from scratch can feel like the safer alternative to potentially being exposed to toxic ingredients.  However, homemade hand sanitizer can not only be ineffective but dangerous, possibly causing burns or injuries to the skin, when made improperly and/or with low quality ingredients.  Therefore, choosing quality ingredients is important when making hand sanitizer that is not only effective but safe.  

How to Use Hand Sanitizer

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides specific guidelines on when and how to use hand sanitizer.  In general, hand sanitizer should be applied all over the hands and rubbed in until dry.  Wiping excess hand sanitizer off can make it ineffective.  In particular, when using ethanol-based hand sanitizer, it usually takes about 30 seconds for the hand sanitizer to effectively eradicate germs from your hand’s surface.

A Note on Hand Sanitizer Use

Hand sanitizer should be never used as a complete substitute for handwashing.  Handwashing is the most effective way to clean your hands, no matter the circumstances.  That being said, if soap and water is not available, hand sanitizer can be a way to effectively eliminate germs from your hand’s surface, which can help reduce the potential of catching or spreading illness.  But remember: hand sanitizer is only intended to kill or neutralize germs and, therefore, does not remove them entirely from your hands.  Dirt or chemical residue can still be on your hands, even after using hand sanitizer, which is why it is better to wash your hands when available.  The best way to use hand sanitizer is whenever you are trying to prevent the spread of disease, such as after visiting or being around sick people.  Killing the germs on your hands immediately rather than waiting until you are able to access soap and water (and possibly touching numerous other surfaces or your eyes, nose, or mouth) can help reduce the spread of illness, for yourself and for others.

Choosing Your Ingredients 

Ethyl alcohol (ethanol), such as Culinary Solvent and Everclear, and isopropyl alcohol (colloquially known as "rubbing alcohol") are both used to make hand sanitizer.  The CDC recommends hand sanitizers of at least 60% alcohol by volume (ABV) for proper hand sanitation as any hand sanitizer below this ABV is considered ineffective for killing germs.  In other words, at least 60% of the total volume of your hand sanitizer should be pure alcohol.

Given that any hand sanitizer with an ABV lower than 60% (i.e., more than 40% of the total volume of the hand sanitizer is water or other ingredients), it is important to look at the ABV of your alcohol before deciding to use it to make hand sanitizer.  Both ethanol and isopropyl alcohol are cut with water and are rarely, if ever, sold at 100% ABV or 200 proof.  Isopropyl alcohol can often be found at 198 proof (99% ABV) and 182 proof (91% ABV), while ethanol is commonly sold at 190 proof (95% ABV) or 151 proof (75.5% ABV).  When using ethanol to make your hand sanitizer, any ethanol with an ABV lower than 70% (i.e., is more than 30% water) is not effective in killing most germs and viruses, so it is best to only use ethanol that is 151 proof or higher.

Due to the unique distilling process, Culinary Solvent is available at 200 proof (100% ABV).

Before You Begin

Because hand sanitizers below 60% ABV are considered ineffective for killing germs, it is important to measure your ethanol or alcohol carefully and know the ABV of your ethanol/alcohol before adding it to your hand sanitizer mixture.  Adding ethanol with an ABV below 70% can result in a lower ABV in your overall hand sanitizing solution, rendering it ineffective in killing germs.  Also, choosing the right ingredients is important in making sure your hand sanitizer is safe for the skin.  Using food grade ethanol, like Culinary Solvent, is a good way of ensuring that your final product is additive free and does not contain any toxic chemicals that might be absorbed into the skin or possibly ingested if it comes in contact with your eyes, nose, or mouth.  Using any alcohol off the shelf without thoroughly examining its ingredients and ABV can result in an ineffective and possibly dangerous final product.

In fact, the CDC discovered serious adverse health effects caused by using hand sanitizers containing the toxic additive methanol.  Methanol is a harmful chemical often found in denatured alcohol, as it is used to dehydrate ethanol to achieve higher ABVs (i.e., ABVs above 95%).  This combination of factors is another important reason to not only check the ABV of your alcohol but also, potentially, the ingredients that helped it get there.  Do not use denatured alcohol to make hand sanitizing products, as toxic additives (denaturants) can be absorbed through the skin and possibly ingested via the eyes, mouth, or nose.

The Recipe

All of the recipes below, when followed exactly, will yield a 66% ABV hand sanitizer solution.  We recommend using aloe gel for all these recipes.  While you can use a variety of moisturizing gels and creams (or even just water) to make hand sanitizer, be aware of any water that may already be in your gel or cream, as this can offset the ABV of the mixture.

Remember: only use non-denatured (food grade) alcohol for your recipes, such as Culinary Solvent or Everclear. 

Not sure which is right for you?  See our comprehensive analysis on the similarities and, more importantly, differences between Culinary Solvent and Everclear

Ingredient Measurements and Equipment

The recipes below will use fluid ounces (fl. oz.) and/or tablespoons (tbsp) to measure ingredients. 

You will need a glass bowl with a well-fitting lid and/or clean whisk for mixing.  If your bowl has a lid, you can store your hand sanitizer in this or another plastic or glass container with a well-fitting lidGlass and certain plastics are chemically compatible with ethanol.  Metal containers are not recommended for storage.

Ratio and Yield Chart

Alcohol Type

Alcohol Measurement

Aloe Gel Measurement


182 proof (91% ABV) isopropyl alcohol

8 fl. oz.

3 fl. oz. or 6 tbsp

11 fl. oz.

198 proof (99% ABV) isopropyl alcohol

8 fl. oz.

4 fl. oz. or 8 tbsp

12 fl. oz.

151 proof (75.5% ABV) ethanol

10 fl. oz.

1.5 fl. oz. or 3 tbsp

12 fl. oz.

190 proof (95% ABV) ethanol

8 fl. oz.

3.5 fl. oz. or 7 tbsp

12 fl. oz.

200 proof (100% ABV) ethanol

8 fl. oz.

4 fl. oz. or 8 tbsp

12 fl. oz.


  1. Carefully measure your ingredients (both alcohol and aloe gel) to ensure the proper ABV is achieved.
  2. In a glass bowl, combine your selected alcohol with the corresponding amount of aloe gel.
  3. Mix well with a whisk or shake your mixture until combined thoroughly. If you shake to mix, allow time for the air bubbles to dissipate out of the foam created when shaking.

Store your hand sanitizer in a plastic or glass bottle or container with a tight-fitting lid.  You can use your hand sanitizer immediately.

Larger Batches of Hand Sanitizer

To make larger batches of hand sanitizer, you will need to calculate the ABV based on larger amounts.  In the recipe above for 200 proof (100% ABV) ethanol, you can easily calculate that the ABV for the final mixture is 66.6%: multiply 8 (8 fl. oz. of 200 proof ethanol) by 100 (representing 100% of the final mixture) and divide by 12 (12 fl. oz. of hand sanitizer) to get about 66.6667% ABV.

(8 x 100) / 12 = 66.667

Because you are starting with 100% ABV alcohol, you are simply adding aloe gel to 100% ethanol.  One of the benefits of using 200 proof ethanol in your hand sanitizing mixture is that you don't need to factor in water that was already added to the ethanol to know the ABV of your final product. 

For larger batches of hand sanitizer, it can be easiest to use 200 proof ethanol as calculating the ratio is simpler.  200 proof food grade Culinary Solvent is available in pints, quarts, single gallons, five-gallon jugs, and fifty-five-gallon drums.

Quick Reference for Larger Batches Yeilding 66% ABV Hand Sanitizer

200 Proof Ethanol

Aloe Gel


16 fl. oz. or about 1 pint*

8 fl. oz. or 16 tbsp

24 fl. oz. or about 1.5 pints

32 fl. oz. or about 1 quart*

16 fl. oz. or 32 tbsp

48 fl. oz. or about 1.5 quarts

128 fl. oz. or about 1 gallon*

64 fl. oz. or 128 tbsp

192 fl. oz. or about 1.5 gallons

*Read more about density, the weight of ethanol, and our bottle filling process here.

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At this time no permit is required to buy or ship 200 proof alcohol to California addresses (January 2024)

Yes. Culinary Solvent is pure food grade ethanol, contains zero additives, and is safe for human consumption in tinctures, flavor extracts including vanilla, edible decorations, and organic food coloring applications.

Yes, ethanol is a type of alcohol, specifically referred to as "ethyl alcohol." It is the alcohol most commonly associated with beverage uses and is often what is meant by "alcohol" in everyday conversation.