Hand hygiene is crucial to warding off infections and staying healthy.
Even when an illness does bog you down, washing your hands is key to preventing the infection from recurring in your own body, as well as minimizing spreading your germs to others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends washing your hands with running, clean water and soap for 20 seconds for best results.
If running water and soap are not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the next best thing, according to the CDC.
Commercial hand sanitizers have been all the rage lately. They are readily available at a wide variety of stores and often conveniently placed in bins at checkout lines so that you add them to your cart without a second thought.
However, there is more to these commercial products than meets the eye— and plenty of reasons to make your own homemade, nontoxic hand sanitizer.
The Toxicity of Commercial Hand Sanitizers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) raised alarming concerns about the safety of antibacterial soap and related products, such as hand sanitizers.
According to the FDA, all antibacterial-labeled cleaning products contain chemicals called triclosan and triclocarban that are highly harmful to your health.
Furthermore, the negative effects of prolonged use of antibacterial, commercial hand sanitizers are likely to outweigh their short-term advantages.
With regular use, the triclosan in hand sanitizers and other hand-cleansing products make skin bacteria and other microorganisms resistant to its effect, according to a 2006 study published in Microbial Drug Resistance.
Another concern is that persistent use of triclosan may make a person immune to the effects of medicinal antimicrobials, such as those used in medicines that treat the highly infectious and contagious bacteria like E. coli and salmonella, the study further notes.
These diseases do not only affect an individual and their household, but have the capacity of affecting entire communities. Thus, the use of triclosan poses a risk of becoming a public health concern.
Other chemicals in commercial hand sanitizers may also indirectly affect your health.
Many contain chemicals like isopropyl myristate and propylene glycol that enhance the skin’s absorbing-abilities to promote better delivery of the drugs used in
skin care products.
These chemicals make the skin susceptible to absorbing countless environmental contaminants.
We are all likely to be faced with situations where a hand sanitizer is our only shot at clean hands.
The key is using a sanitizer that is free of harmful chemicals but still potent enough to vanquish the germs.
Here’s how you can make your own chemical-free hand sanitizer.
DIY Nontoxic Homemade Hand Sanitizer Recipe
Rubbing alcohol keeps the recipe together, prevents it from degenerating and effectively kills germs.
Vitamin E oil is a moisturizing agent that counters the harshness of the rubbing alcohol. You can also use vegetable glycerin instead of vitamin E oil.
Aloe vera gel is a highly effective antibacterial agent and also helps moisturize your skin.
Tea tree, cinnamon, clove, rosemary and eucalyptus essential oils are all effective antibacterial agents. They also give the sanitizer a refreshing fragrance.
Tea tree oil was highly effective at quickly wiping out multiple medication-resistant bacteria, according to a 2000 study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
Cinnamon, clove and rosemary essential oils were among the 19 out of 21 oils found to be effective against potent bacteria in a 2006 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Eucalyptus essential oil was found to exhibit significant antibacterial activity against E. coli and S. aureus germs, according to a 2012 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine.
Things you’ll need:
- Mixing bowl
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Medium-size spray bottle
- Distilled water
- Rubbing alcohol
- Aloe vera gel
- Vitamin E oil
- Tea tree essential oil
- Cinnamon essential oil
- Clove essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil`
1. Add 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol in 1 cup of distilled water.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel.
3. Add ½ teaspoon of Vitamin E oil.
4. Add 10 drops of tea tree oil.
5. Add 10 drops of cinnamon oil.
6. Add 5 drops each of clove, rosemary and eucalyptus oil.
7. Stir the ingredients together.
8. Use a funnel to pour the mixture into the spray bottle.
9. Tighten the cap and shake the contents.
Voila! Your homemade, nontoxic hand sanitizer is ready for use. Spray some on your palm and rub it all over your hands.
Alternatively, you can put the sanitizer into a regular, nonspray bottle and use it as a gel.