Antibacterial soaps and hand sanitizers have boomed over the last decade, and ironically enough this has introduced a number of new health concerns. That being said, keeping good hand hygiene (washing your hands with good old soap and water) is essential to stay healthy. Because I don’t always have access to soap and water when I travel here in India, I have learned to make my own hand sanitizer from all-natural ingredients, that I would like to share with you. But first a little background.
The antibacterial scam
While we are being bombarded with commercials, stating that antibacterial products are more effective than regular soap and water, the reality is more complex. Many antibacterial agents added in commercial products are strong chemicals that do more damage to our health than it prevents. Additionally, tests have shown no evidence they do a better job at cleaning your hands. If you want to read more on this topic, you can start by reading The dangers of antibacterial soap (Dettol).
It’s also important to understand that not all bacteria is bad – actually, we need them to stay healthy! We even need to be exposed to ‘bad’ bacteria to help build up our immune system, which usually happens as we grow up. Though the same process continues every time we get exposed to a new environment. My point is this: don’t take commercial companies on their word. Understand the science, and make an informed decision. I’ve concluded that the best option is natural soap, water, and homemade hand sanitizer.
Rubbing alcohol – a strong antibacterial agent, often used for disinfecting and sterilizing. It can be left out of the recipe, for a milder hand sanitizer.
Aloe Vera gel – a nourishing gel, that is mild on the skin. It can help treat small rashes and skin irritations.
Essential oil – a selection of EO’s with antibacterial properties – choose between tea tree, cinnamon, Oregano, Thyme, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemongrass and Bergamot, Clove.
(Optional) Glycerin – a moisturizing liquid, known for its ability to ‘attract’ moisture from the air. Rubbing alcohol can be drying, and this is to counter that.
Note: the recipe is not adjusted to children. Do research child safe essential oils, to adjust accordingly.
- 1 tbs Rubbing Alcohol
- 5 tbsp Aloe Vera Gel
- 20 drops Essential Oils of choice
- 1/2 tsp Glycerin
Simply mix the ingredients in a bowl and stir for a few minutes. Keep it in an airtight container. I have re-used an old squeeze bottle, which fits conveniently in my hand bag.
This was all for now. Let me know if you have any questions or comments below. I’d be happy to hear your favorite recipe for homemade hand sanitizer if you have any!
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