Recipe: Essential Oil Hand Cleanser for Kids

by Andrea Butje on August 1, 2016

A lot of children are heading back to school at this time of year. It’s the perfect season to make an essential oil hand cleanser for kids!

This essential oil hand cleanser uses skin-nourishing ingredients, including aloe vera gel, so it’s gentler than alcohol-based hand sanitizers you can find in stores. 

I know a lot of parents and caretakers who are big fans of this hand cleanser. They like that it’s natural, and that kids can keep it with them and use it on their own without having to ask a grown-up. It’s so empowering for kids and it helps keep their hands clean—a great combination!

This recipe is just right for kids who are at least five years old. You can make it in a 2 oz (60 ml) PET plastic bottle, which is small enough to fit in a child’s backpack or bag without taking up too much space. The PET plastic is very strong and won’t break with rough use. (PET plastic is known as a non-reactive plastic that doesn’t leach. In cases where glass isn’t ideal, PET plastic is a good choice.)

My Hands Are Clean!

  • Just under 2 oz (60 ml) Aloe vera gel (Aloe barbadensis)
  • 2 ml Solubol dispersant
  • 4 drops Tea Tree essential oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • 4 drops Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 2 drops Cedarwood essential oil (Juniperus virginiana)

To make it, combine all the ingredients together in the PET plastic bottle. Screw on the lid and shake it gently.

To use it, just spray some essential oil hand cleanser into your palm, and rub your hands together. It feels so good when your skin is dry! I like to use my aloe-based hand cleansers as moisturizers too. (I love that so many Aromatherapy products we can make have multiple uses!)

For kids younger than five, or if you don’t want to use essential oils, you can make a hand cleanser with pure hydrosols.

My Little Hands Are Clean Too!

  • 1 oz (30 ml) Peppermint hydrosol (Mentha x piperita)
  • 1 oz (30 ml) Lavender hydrosol (Lavandula angustifolia)

This one doesn’t double as a hand moisturizer . . . but it can double as a surface cleaner in a pinch! It’s great to have “on hand” (haha!) when you’re eating at a restaurant and want to wipe down the table top.

There are different approaches to using essential oils with little children. The Aromahead Approach for kids under five is extra cautious. For topical use we prefer to use hydrosols, butters and carrier oils.  

Babies’ and young children’s skin can be so sensitive that essential oils can easily become overwhelming for them. Hydrosols, butters, and carrier oils can often give a child the nudge they need toward rebalancing their health

I recommend making these blends fresh every few weeks.


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Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda Palmer September 1, 2016 at 1:34 am


I know how I personally feel about essential oils, and anti-microbial properties. However, I have ben countered lately with MANY opinions regarding the use of preservatives in anything containing water, including Aloe. What is your say on this?

Also–I have aloe liquid, not gel. I believe, if I am correct, aloe actually comes in liquid form, things are added to create a gel? In this case, what do you suggest to use? I find it very difficult to find aloe gel without any other additives in it. The liquid, I can find no problem.


Andrea Butje September 7, 2016 at 3:01 pm

Hi Brenda!
Personally, I prefer not to add any preservatives to the products I make and simply make them fresh every few weeks or so.
I prefer the Aloe Vera gel available from Aromatics International – it’s 99.75% pure with only:


Kim August 13, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Andrea, does this kill viruses, bacteria and those other “creepies” as well as the alcohol-based hand sanitizers?


Andrea Butje August 15, 2016 at 10:59 am

Hi Kim!
All the oils contribute to the cleansing effect of the blend.

There’s tons of research on the antimicrobial properties of essential oils. You can find a lot of it on PubMed:


Nadine August 2, 2016 at 7:05 am

Andrea, can this be used in a pump or a squeeze 2 oz. bottle? I do not have a 2 0z spray bottle in plastic. Thanks!


Andrea Butje August 3, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Yep for sure!


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