Making Foaming Hand Sanitizer

How can I make my own foaming hand sanitizer? I use a Germ X brand I love, but the main ingredient is benzalkonium Chloride,.13 %. There are other ingredients, which may be the foaming properties, cetrimonium chloride, diglycerol, disodium cocoamphodiacetate, fragrance, glycerin, hydrochloric acid, and then some other things that are unpronounceable.


I have tried using a very small amount of dishwashing liquid and castile soap with at least 60% alcohol. No foam. I have added coconut oil, water, and even glycerin to other batches, still no foam. Finally, I added a few squirts more of dishwashing liquid, voila! It foamed beautifully, but what I made was not sanitizer, but soap. It had to be rinsed.

I should note I am simply refilling this Germ X foaming container. I've made foaming hand soaps for years, but alas, these have to be rinsed. I want a no-rinse option to use as sanitizer. Any ideas? I am guessing this product needs a surfactant that doesn't need to be rinsed like soap. I hate to keep paying for a new bottle of Germ X. This foaming stuff is great, it doesn't burn my hands, packs in bags without leaking and is great for my daycare outings. Any suggestions are much appreciated.


By Missy

January 7, 20100 found this helpful

The alcohol in hand sanitizer evaporates, that's why no rinsing is needed. Try using alcohol in your mixtures and see what happens. Try adding a bit of glycerin as well.

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January 8, 20100 found this helpful

Yes, as I stated, I used at least 60% alcohol and also glycerin. They don't foam and am wondering what the "secret" ingredient is to make it foam--am not a chemist, but I'm guessing it's a surfactant of sorts. Thanks for input.

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January 9, 20100 found this helpful

Any recipe I have found calls for alcohol also, they state you can substitute vodka, perhaps it would not be so hard on your hands. Sounds like fun using it anyway. Just had to let you know if you hadn't already! They all do call for a surfactcant as the drying agent so it doesn't have to be washed off for what I can find.

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January 15, 20100 found this helpful

You are using way too much alcohol. All you use is a couple of capfuls of alcohol and just 2 small squirts of dishwashing liquid and the rest with water. Good luck.

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January 18, 20100 found this helpful

Yes--this works! Thank you! I did however use about a tablespoon or so of rubbing alcohol and just a squirt of soap with the rest filtered water.

I got a foam that quickly disappeared. It left a little white residue (soap?) on my hands which quickly disappeared when evaporated and my hands don't feel sticky.

I did go ahead and add a few drops of glycerin, olive oil and peppermint extract to the bottle. I shook it, and it still foams just fine. Thank you! No more buying expensive refills!

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Homemade hand sanitizer pump bottle.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
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